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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012

    I’ve enabled “Smart Quotes” for the Markdown+Itex formatter. You can customise it in your account settings (under ’iTeX settings’). It makes a few “nice” typographical changes that hopefully will have no major impact other than make things look nicer. The default setting does the following:

    • Change "word" to “word”
    • Change `word' to ‘word’
    • Change ``word'' to “word”
    • Change -- to – (en-dash)
    • Change --- to — (em-dash)
    • Change ... to …

    It ought not to look inside code blocks, so "word" should still look right, and mathematics, so `xy`x -- y' should still look right.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorjim_stasheff
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
    Thanks. It has long annoyed me when people use " to open quotes because the keyboard does not have a key for ``
    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012

    No problem! But note that it only works if you choose the Markdown+Itex formatter.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012


    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012

    Also, it’s customisable (by the author, at least - it should be!); go to your user account to switch on or off bits that annoy you.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012

    Oh, no - it isn’t! It’s for the reader to decide how it should be implemented. I’m not sure which makes more sense. Perhaps it is that the reader should be able to turn it on or off since one of the issues with it is that if you are cutting-and-pasting then these symbols can get mangled.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012


    Curiously, when I went to “change iTeX mode”, at first it didn’t display any checkboxes selected at all, despite its claim that the default setting was something-or-other (and the fact that it was displaying the smart quotes and dashes for me here before I went to look at the settings page). But then after I selected some checkboxes and saved them, they show up as selected when I reload the page.

    What about changing 'this' to render as ‘this’ rather than ’this’? I think a lot of us write single-quoted words without using backquotes — you even did it yourself in #1 for ’iTeX settings’. (In response to Jim, I believe the characters ' and " on a keyboard are intended to be neutral, rather than ’smart’ in either direction, even though some processors — *cough* TeX *cough* — render them as ’ and ”.)

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012

    Re: 5 and 6, it looks to me as though it’s customizable, in a sense, by both the author and the reader, in the sense that for smart thingummies to display, it has to be the case that both (1) the author selected “Markdown+Itex” and (2) the reader has “render smart quotes” turned on. The author can also “turn it off” even using Markdown+Itex by writing backslashes, \' to make ', \" to make ", \-- to make --, and \-\-- to make ---.

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012

    7a is because there’s a system-wide default that’s in force if you haven’t selected anything. I guess it’s confusing for that to not match the checkboxes. I’ll fix that.

    7b makes sense, but will involve digging into the code.

    With regard to customisation, what makes most sense? I could put it on all input filters, but really I only keep the non-Markdown+itex ones for legacy reasons. There’s some sense in the Text one, but not much in the others.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012

    if you are cutting-and-pasting then these symbols can get mangled

    If you are cutting and pasting into another comment on the Forum (or into the Lab), then you should always cut and paste the Source.

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeSep 17th 2012

    I'm afraid to do anything to my iTeX options, because I'm afraid that it will mess up my math rendering. I have the default option now, but I don't know what that is; I only know that it's not what the options page says!

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeSep 19th 2012

    really I only keep the non-Markdown+itex ones for legacy reasons

    Could you turn off the ability for people to choose how to format their posts, even if you keep the others around internally to display old posts with?