Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2008-12/curly quotes in WT:ELE

Using curly quotes in WT:ELEEdit

  • Voting on: Curly quote signs: “ and ” and ‘ and ’ are being used on a lot of entries now. I am not the only one consistently replacing them where necessary. WT:ELE, however, claims that for any change a vote is needed, so here goes: please let me convert them for that page also.
  • Note that I am not asking anybody who doesn’t want to, to use these symbols himself. Enforcing that would be a vote with much bigger repercussions. However, anybody who does want to use them can, even when his keyboard doesn’t allow him to, by using MediaWiki:Edittools.
  • Let me stress that again, since there is a lot of confusion: this is not a policy change, just a typographical change to a policy document, but unfortunately that document says to ask for a vote for each change.
  • Technical note: the default windows codepage has ‘ and ’, I don’t think anybody should have problems seeing those.
  • Vote ends: 23:59 3 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Vote started: 0:00 5 January 2009 (UTC)


  1.   Support Lmaltier 15:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC) only for languages requiring them (Lojban is an exception, I think it should not use them), and with appropriate redirects (with keyboard quotes -> with curly quotes). This does not break anything, this is the only correct character in words such as presqu’île (the keyboard character is used only because it is much easier, but never in books), this is important when printing (much nicer result), and this would allow interwiki links with fr.wiktionary entries using curly quotes. Lmaltier 15:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC) On fr.wiktionary, it's used even in page titlss, and nobody has ever complained (and this character is also absent from AZERTY keyboards). Contributors who don't care simply don't use it. Lmaltier 21:29, 4 January 2009 (UTC) To clarify my opinion: I'm concerned with one thing: it should be allowed to use normal apostrophes when apostrophes are needed. ' has been invented by typewriter manufacturers, it's not a normal apostrophe. It's exactly the same issue as œuf: the entry is œuf, with a redirect from oeuf, despite the fact that almost everybody using computers would write oeuf. It's not a font issue, it's a character issue. Lmaltier 08:08, 5 January 2009 (UTC) I misunderstood the purpose of the vote, by I confirm muy vote nonetheless. Lmaltier 16:16, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
    Note that this vote is only about allowing Hamaryns to replace straight quotes with curly quotes in WT:ELE itself. It's not about modifying WT:ELE to require/encourage/allow the use of curly quotes in entries. —RuakhTALK 21:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    The presence of curly quotes in our primary policy document would imply their acceptance. --EncycloPetey 22:03, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    Maybe, but did you read the comments I was replying to? I don't think that's what Lmaltier and Stephen had in mind. Rather, they seem to have misunderstood the vote as modifying ELE to explicitly require/encourage/allow the use of curly quotes in entries. (I totally understand their confusion: if I weren't aware of the backstory, I too would have assumed that the vote was about something worth voting on.) —RuakhTALK 16:34, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  2.   Support —Stephen 20:19, 4 January 2009 (UTC) Not in page titles, but useful in the entry text, just like Latin and Old English macrons.
    Note that this vote is only about allowing Hamaryns to replace straight quotes with curly quotes in WT:ELE itself. It's not about modifying WT:ELE to require/encourage/allow the use of curly quotes in entries. —RuakhTALK 21:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  3.   Support. I'm not a fan of curly quotes, but I support the idea that editors should be able to make minor edits to policy documents without bringing them to a vote. Honestly, our policy pages aren't as important as our actual content, so if we have to vote on whether we like curly-quotes or not, then we should be voting about {{term}}, {{onym}}, etc. —RuakhTALK 22:01, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  4.   SupportRod (A. Smith) 08:46, 5 January 2009 (UTC) Curly quotes are typographically superior. ELE should be fixed as recommended. —Rod (A. Smith) 08:46, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  5.   Support H. (talk) 14:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC) Ruakh, thanks for pointing out the triviality of this. Once again, problems with entering the quotes are irrelevant to the vote, since I will do it, it does not ask anyone else to do so.
    H, It's not easy starting votes, so I give you a lot of credit for trying. I disagree with your last statement. This vote is essential a vote to use curly quotes for all policy/guideline pages for Wiktionary, not just the ELE. I believe Atelaes and Conrad implied this statement when they talked about consistency. If this vote passes, then the community should use curly quotes in the CFI, NPOV, and other relevant pages. If everyone is expected to use curly quotes, then the problems with entering the curly quotes are relevant to this vote. I will say your intention to handle all the workload yourself is noble, but this is a community project. --AZard 21:49, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
    No. Allowing an editor to fix the quotes in ELE will not require other editors to enter them. Not anywhere. This is just a request for permission to make a cosmetic improvement to our primary document, not an attempt to change anyone's behavior. If you can't type curly quotes or don't want to type them, don't, but they are correct, so if you can type them and want to, you should be allowed to do that without being reverted. —Rod (A. Smith) 22:10, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
    And we can remove them without being reverted? --EncycloPetey 22:11, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
    Yup, this vote has no bearing on the entries at all. Conrad.Irwin 22:13, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
    Rod, your logic is correct only if we don't care about consistency. What's the point of having curly quotes in the ELE, but not the CFI, NPOV, and all the other policy pages? I care about consistency, and see this vote as a vote to change all these pages. Not just this one time now, but going forward too. --AZard 22:37, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
    Of course I (and I am sure Rod also) care about consistency. That is why I see this as a step in the right direction, and eventually someone will come around and adapt the other policy pages to use proper (yes, I consider them “proper”) quotes. I do so whenever I happen to edit a policy page, for example. Certainly I do not plan to edit each and every Wiktionary: page and adapt them. H. (talk) 18:55, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
  6.   Fervent Support - not only do I consider the curly quotes an embellishment and even a habitual sign, but also I must admit that prior to me becoming familiar with computer stuff I had never seen a plumb quote in the manifold book editions which I had been perusing (German, French, Russian, a modicum of English ones too). Furthermore, I would indorse a move from ' to ‘ / ’ just like the current trend in the etymology sections from ''[[]]'' to {{term|}}. I consider adopting the curly quotes in my comments as well. ' is a simplification which may stand for both ‘ and ’, whereas they present a greater diversity of signs. Ne varietatem timeamus. Bogorm 19:00, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
  7.   Support  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:19, 18 January 2009 (UTC) — I can’t really see a valid argument against using the typographically correct quotations marks (, , , and ) in our policy page(s), so seeing as this applies only to WT:ELE, then I support the change. BTW, it is worth noting that using , , , and can sometimes cause text to be displayed properly where using " and ' would cause an incorrect display; e.g.:
    ''he went to '''Postrophes 'r' Us'' to do some browsin''' — anon. = he went to Postrophes 'r' Us to do some browsin — anon.
    ''he went to ''’Postrophes ’r’ Us'' to do some browsin’'' — anon. = he went to ’Postrophes ’r’ Us to do some browsin’ — anon.
     (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:19, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
    Doremítzwr, I believe that problem can be alleviated if you put a space between the apostrophe being used normally and the ones that are italicising or bolding the text. 50 Xylophone Players talk 01:28, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    Yes, that seems to work (he went to 'Postrophes 'r' Us to do some browsin' — anon.), though it makes the code a little ugly (''he went to '' 'Postrophes 'r' Us'' to do some browsin' '' — anon.)…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:58, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    At the risk of quibbling, I think that might be an argument against the curly quotes, since on machines that display them as straight quotes, it might make the wiki-markup confusing when a series of three apostrophes is actually wiki-italics + curly single-quote. (I'm not sure if that's an issue. My work computer displays them identically in sans-serif, but differently in monospace, so it's not a problem for editing. My home computer displays them differently in both. I don't know if other users have different experiences.) —RuakhTALK 19:15, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    I use numerous different computers, some of which display ' and in the rendered text identically, whilst others render them differently. (Actually, that only happens for normal-sized body text; the two types of apostrophë are always rendered differently in the larger-sized header text.) However, the two types of apostrophë in the edit-screen text (i.e., the “raw code”) are always visibly different. Is there anyone here whose edit-screen text does not visibly distinguish ' from ?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:25, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
    Mine doesn't, on this computer, with this browser, with these settings, whatever they may be. More precisely, I think it does, but the difference, if any, is so slight that I would certainly miss it under normal circumstances.—msh210 19:26, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
    Hmm. Could you send me a screen shot of the edit-screen text of an apostrophë-rich portion of this discussion to me via e-mail please?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:44, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
    It's temporarily at http://dax.wustl.edu/~msh210/screenshot.png.—msh210 21:53, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
    That’s weird. It looks exactly like my display’s distinction between the apostrophë: ' and the IPA primary-stress marker: ˈ — how does yours display the latter?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:13, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
    I'm not at that computer at the moment, but the distinction on another computer is temporarily at http://dax.wustl.edu/~msh210/screenshot2.png. If I have a chance I'll capture the difference between them on the same computer I was using before.—msh210 19:37, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
    Wow, there’s virtually no difference between the ASCII apostrophë and the IPA primary-stress marker using that display. The apostrophë looks a tiny bit “thinner”; is that consistently the case?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:56, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
  8.   Strong support. Still the typographical standard. Straight quotes emphasize an unrefined resource that will never be useful outside of the internet world. DAVilla 06:55, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
  9.   Support Ƿidsiþ 15:51, 14 February 2009 (UTC)


  1.   Oppose Conrad.Irwin 15:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC) Conrad.Irwin 16:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)[re-signed within vote dates] These characters break the search feature and I'd hate to see them on a policy document even more than I hate them on entries (which is a LOT). cf. [1] [2] Conrad.Irwin 15:03, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    You did not do the research, or read incarefully. A lot of your arguments do not apply. Also, the vote starts tomorrow; it is the first time I do this, I did not know how to make it start immediately, feel free to change if that is allowed. I do not mean to insult, but please reread. (You can of course leave or restate your opposition tomorrow, since subjective feelings of hate will probably not change on such short notice.) H. (talk) 17:58, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    I'll leave it in - which of my arguments "do not apply?" - they cause a noticable degradation with the search, using them anywhere except the edit box - i.e. in titles or searches requires significant effort [generally I open an edit page, and copy a curly quote from there then paste it where it is needed], and even using the edittools option I can type an apostrophe roughly 10 times faster than I can click on a curly quote - made more irritating by the fact that I do not need to use my mouse at all for Wiktionary reading/editing otherwise. As Atelaes says, consistency is important, and as I have stated many times these quotes are less usable than the normal ones. The only reason that they are used in books is that most word-processing software does this automatically (with the notable exception of TeX I suppose which requires you to use `backticks'). On an off-wiktionary note, these quotes regularly cause problems in blog posts containing source code because lots of blog software will automatically convert normal quotes into the curly versions, which - unsurprisingly breaks the code. I see no advantage in these characters at all, and find them aesthetically less pleasing than the standard ones. My arguments are probably biased, weak and feeble, but even if they are shown to be incorrect, I am unlikely to change my mind about these. Conrad.Irwin 16:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
    I admit I was a bit hasty there, but I think your example proves the WikiMedia search functionality is very good: it gives you results you weren’t looking for, at least, if you look at it in a purely character-based manner. That it should treat ' and ’ as exactly equivalent in searches if a RFE which should be filed at WikiMedia, and I would support it. I am reluctant to answer each of your arguments, since indeed you did not do the research, e.g. curly quotes exist longer than word processing programs. And you could change your keyboard layout to us-int, which enables you to type them directly. And so on.
    Can we agree that by replying, you confirmed your vote (you know, don’t want to stumble about formalities later on, this is a question about voting policy)? H. (talk) 14:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  2.   Oppose -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 19:10, 4 January 2009 (UTC) We need to be consistent, and people consistently use non-curleys. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 19:10, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    Not in books... Lmaltier 21:25, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    No, but in Wiktionary. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 08:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
    That is simply not true. I have noticed that I am not the only one replacing them everywhere. H. (talk) 14:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  3.   Oppose EncycloPetey 19:34, 4 January 2009 (UTC)EncycloPetey 19:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC) These characters cause problems for many users, and I've been among them on some university computers I've used.
    Please elaborate, EncycloPetey, if you would. I'm curious about whether there are problems reading the characters or problems entering them? —Rod (A. Smith) 21:32, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    Both. --EncycloPetey 22:00, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
    Would you mind bringing up the viewing/reading problem on WT:GP? Entering is, once again, not relevant to this vote. H. (talk) 14:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  4.   Strong oppose I honestly don't care if they're typographically superior or anything, but for EASE OF EDITING we should not use curly quotes. They're a pain to enter, a pain to load on some computers, the little XO I edit from occasionally being one of them, and a pain in general. The only thing that reliably makes curly quote marks is a word processor, where it's done by substitution. By no means should we have them here --Neskaya kanetsv 22:10, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
    Entering is, once again, not relevant to this vote. H. (talk) 14:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  5.   I oppose curly quotation marks in ELE and elsewhere. I oppose mandating their use, as they're hard to type, as others have noted, but, more relevantly, I also oppose their use in pages, whether entries or meta, as they add nothing and are broken on some systems.—msh210 22:50, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
    Let me add that if H. had simply substituted the curly quotation marks for the straight (or did he? and was reverted? well, whatever), I would have no objection. I mean, I would mind it, as I strongly prefer 7-bit quotation marks, but I certainly would not have reverted or complained. That ELE needs a vote for any change does not, or at least should not, include, to my mind, that, or fixing typos like anotehr. But since this is being voted on, I oppose.—msh210 18:31, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  6.   Oppose Curly quotes are beautiful, but not practical for many. Yes, this is a vote on the ELE, but realistically, the other policy pages should follow, and then the entries. --AZard 21:41, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
    Chinese characters also are not practical for many to enter, but we obviously don't exclude them in favor of romanizations. Just let people who can enter special characters enter them. People who cannot enter them (or for whom entering special characters is difficult) can just continue doing what they do today. —Rod (A. Smith) 23:23, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
    Curly quotes have an alternative - straight quotes. With each instance, we must pick one or the other. Is romanization really an alternative to Chinese characters? I have always thought that romanization is a separate piece of information on Chinese characters but, not treated as an alternative. I took a quick look at Chinese Wiktionary. It looks like the standard is consistently Chinese characters and not romanization. BTW, Do you care about consistency? Do you find it okay to have straight quotes on some pages, but curly quotes on other pages? --AZard 16:57, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
    Yes, I care about consistency of a final product, but as you undoubtably know, wiki methodology encourages small, accumulating improvements toward a consistent end state rather that demanding global consistency from any individual edit. That is, it's good to allow some editors to be narrowly focused and not worry about pesky details, while other editors actually enjoy improving typography. —Rod (A. Smith) 20:31, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
  7.   Oppose Connel MacKenzie 19:56, 16 January 2009 (UTC) This proposal is violently in opposition with the goal of providing a usable dictionary; particularly, this was crafted so as to prevent and confound secondary data manipulation. If anything, the typographic quotes should be excised from Wiktionary. --Connel MacKenzie 19:59, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  8.   Oppose By the way AZard I find your argument based on Chinese characters to be a bit ridiculous; they are standard because they are the original writing system of the language (why should they write with the Latin alphabet if they don't want to) whereas quotes are always tied to only one language in any given instance. 50 Xylophone Players talk 19:45, 17 January 2009 (UTC)


  1.   Strong abstain. My God, this is stupid. I mean, I hate "smart" quotes; they are a horrible, untypable anachronism. But whether or not they happen to be used in ELE is trivial, and not something we should be having a vote about. At most, it's something we should be having a good old-fashioned revert war about. The need to reform our hideously broken approach to policy has seldom been more apparent. -- Visviva 10:33, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
    But plumb quotes are part of this hideously broken approach, the best inception would be to replace them with the ornate, traditional, mainstream ones. Anyway, the time elapsed and the outcome is murky... Bogorm 10:38, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
    Eh, I don't think the quotes matter much one way or the other. What is broken, IMO, is the fact that we have to go through this huge bureaucratic kerfuffle for the sake of a simple typographic change (a change which I happen to think is misguided, but wouldn't care nearly enough to revert). -- Visviva 10:42, 17 February 2009 (UTC)


  • No consensus, (8-8-0) at the end of voting period, (9-8-1) counting the late votes. A profound discussion on the underlying questions may be needed. -- Gauss 17:06, 22 February 2009 (UTC)