Aethasian’s Guide to the Quote Function
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the quote function is the tool commonly used here on the forums to quote other people’s posts and reply to them. Over the past few years that I’ve been on the forums, I have seen a lot of good uses of the function, as well as a lot of unbeneficial/impractical uses. In this post I thought I’d highlight some common ways one might abuse the function, as well as ways one can improve on how they use it.
WHEN TO NOT USE QUOTES
Let’s look at an example...
Have any of you seen the new Rhinoman movie? I'm trying to decide if I should watch it or not. I've heard some really good things about it, but my brother says the movie is garbage.
I've seen it!
I think you should.
There were a couple scenes that I wasn't a fan of, but overall I think it was a lot of fun to watch.
Now, I get it. Y’all are quoting like this to try to make your replies clear, to specify which parts of their post you’re talking about. However, we humans are way smarter than that. We don’t need specifications, we can just go by context! Don’t believe me? Read this example:
I've seen it! There were a couple scenes that I wasn't a fan of, but overall I think it was a lot of fun to watch. I think you should watch it too.
You see? It’s the exact same reply with no quotes, and it’s just as understandable as the first one AND it’s much shorter. You do not need to break up somebody’s comment into sections and quote each of them. That actually makes your reply less clear, and more confusing and more bothersome for others to read. People will understand you just as well, if not better, if you just put your whole message together. So you may as well not choke it out with quotes everywhere.
Here’s another scenario:
The scene in Rhinoman with Ron the Rat was cool but it just cannot compare to the goat flipping scene. Although I think the comic book did that scene a lot better than the movie did. I’ve been a fan of the Rhinoman comic books since I was five; they’re really fun to read. But I like the character design in the movie better than the comic books; I just think it has more flavor.
Really? Because I like the art in the comics better. I dunno, I just like the classic feel to it…
There are not many things more aggravating than a post full of quotes with short choppy replies, with an actually-smart quote & reply mixed in. If you don’t have anything to say that’s like over five letters long and a complete sentence, then skip it. Just quote the part to which you have a legitimate answer. If you have something to say about one part of somebody’s posts, there is absolutely no need to say things about the rest of the post. The person who made the post won’t look at your reply and feel bad because you only read that one part. They’ll be glad, because they know you’re paying attention to -- and you’re interested in -- what they have to say.
Plus, by not making choppy replies, we avoid situations like this where we spiral down a rabbit hole of spammy back-and-forths:
etc., etc., etc……….
OTHER TIMES YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T USE A QUOTE:
When you’re replying to someone immediately, or when there are little or no other posts between yours and the other person’s posts.
WHEN TO USE QUOTES
Now that I’ve given out some pointers about how to not overuse the quote function, I will explain how to use it to the best of its abilities.
I watched Rhinoman today! It was AWESOME!! I don’t know what my brother was talking about! My favorite part was when Jimmy the Jaguar flipped the goat upside down and Emmy screamed until her hair fell off. That was classic! Also, can someone remind me the name of the talking pencil? For some reason I can’t seem to recall it…
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Yes, the goat flipping scene makes me and my dad laugh our heads off every single time!
His name is Mr. Pencil! He’s my goldfish’s favorite character.
You see how Ralph didn’t quote anything except Hank’s question at the end? Because Hank’s primary focus in his post was talking about how much he loved Rhinoman, Ralph didn’t need to quote it at all. You don’t need to quote each sentence to pick up the post’s context.
At the end of Hank’s posts, the focus shifts from how much he loved the movie, to the fact that he can’t remember the pencil’s name. The question is ever so slightly set apart from the rest of the post, therefore Ralph sets it apart from the rest of his reply by quoting it. It’s not mandatory to use the quote function like this, it’s just a matter of personal preference and/or it depends on the clarity.
Hey Ralph, wanna do a Rhinoman marathon sometime?
~~3 days later~~
Hey sorry I didn’t respond, I’ve been out of town for a few days. I’m down for a marathon! How does next Saturday sound?
If Ralph had replied to Hank within the day, then I probably would have said that quoting Hank was unnecessary, but because of the time gap, and especially if other people have used this topic before Ralph got back to him, quoting is acceptable and generally beneficial because of the lack of context.
OTHER TIMES YOU CAN USE A QUOTE:
When replying to more than one person at once (just don’t make it spammy)
When asking for clarification on a specific part(s) of someone’s post, especially if said post is long (e.g., this post. If you’ve made it this far I applaud you. )
The quote tool is among the most versatile and useful on the forums, but especially with this tool, too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. I (and the other mods) think that learning how to use quotes wisely and how to not overdo it can be a step towards an easier, tidier and funner forum. But it only works if as many people as possible are willing to act on what they learn as best as they can.
These concepts aren’t official rules; you aren’t required to copy everything I’ve laid out. The purpose of this post is to bring to light the psychology/nuances when it comes to making the most out of the quote function, so that hopefully, together, we can use that information to refine this forum for the better.
Let me know if you have any questions! I, or the mods, will try our best to clarify anything that doesn’t make sense.