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Thread: How to elide over/replace (language) in quoted text?

  1. #1
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    How to elide over/replace (language) in quoted text?

    A basic principle in quoting a source is to not alter anything (except where you can't avoid it, in formatting say).

    It's OK to indicate you've skipped some text (but only if you have provided a link, or similar, to the source!). A common way to do this is to use
    [...]

    What if the original contains language (i.e. words) which are unacceptable in this forum? Perhaps this?
    [unacceptable language]

    Now what if the source itself has its own censorship? For example, "**", or "b******t". Should we excise that too, and replace it?

  2. #2
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    Rule 3 says that asterisks (or other character substitutions) are themselves forbidden, when used to conceal "language". So I'd guess you need to replace the asterisked text with a square-bracketed comment, too. (Then again, I saw you get away with it recently, so perhaps the rules are interpreted differently when you're quoting someone else's text.)

    ETA: Oh, I see you didn't get away with it for long. So I'll revert to my initial thought on the topic, whatever that's worth.

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #3
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    Thanks Grant.

    The language rule is easy to inadvertently break. I am prone to making typos, and although I always try to check carefully, I may not catch them all. A recent example: redshift, without the "f".

    Then there's the well-known example of Evgeny Lif[language]z; less well-known are more obscure scientists with [language] in their names. Vladimir Fock is OK ... unless you make a typo.

    I'm not too worried that the language rule leads to censorship of quoted text, even if the author is a famous (or not so famous) scientist, as long as there's a link (or similar) to the source (so you can check what was actually written if you want to); what I'd like is clarity and consistency on what to do.

    Oh, I see you didn't get away with it for long.
    Indeed. And got "points" for it too

  4. #4
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    Rule 3 already seems pretty clear on the topic of asterisked or otherwise partially obscured language - it's a no-no.

    The nanny software certainly sometimes asterisks stuff it shouldn't, as with your examples of people's names, and everyone makes typos from time to time, but I'd be surprised (and disappointed) if a mod issued an infraction for asterisks generated under those circumstances - but no doubt someone will tell us in a minute.

    (It would, in fact, be nice if there was a way of undoing such erroneous obscurations - people with names affected in this way must be heartily sick of it.)

    Grant Hutchison

  5. #5
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    On This Forum, Be Very Very Conservative

    John's Rule: "When in doubt, leave it out."

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    I would say ellipses (...) if you just want to indicate that some text was omitted, and it doesn't;t really matter what it was.

    If you feel it is necessary to indicate the nature of the omission then the use of a comment in square brackets is pretty well established, whether that is "[expletive deleted]", "[inappropriate personal comments omitted]" or "[long winded and irrelevant digressions about the author's experiences as a young man in Japan left out for the sake of brevity, although one should really take the time to read them]".

    And, yes, to comply with the forum rules, I would say that even bowdlerised text (such as "***" or "@$%!") should be replaced with something like "[unsuitable language]"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I would say ellipses (...) if you just want to indicate that some text was omitted, and it doesn't;t really matter what it was.

    If you feel it is necessary to indicate the nature of the omission then the use of a comment in square brackets is pretty well established, whether that is "[expletive deleted]", "[inappropriate personal comments omitted]" or "[long winded and irrelevant digressions about the author's experiences as a young man in Japan left out for the sake of brevity, although one should really take the time to read them]".

    And, yes, to comply with the forum rules, I would say that even bowdlerised text (such as "***" or "@$%!") should be replaced with something like "[unsuitable language]"
    Thanks.

    I try to avoid the use of ordinary brackets in quoted text, too many times they could be mistaken for what's in the original (yes, fidelity to the original is a biggie for me).

    I'm trending towards [original violates our Rule 3 (unacceptable language)], to make it quite explicit what's going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Tate View Post
    Thanks.

    I try to avoid the use of ordinary brackets in quoted text, too many times they could be mistaken for what's in the original (yes, fidelity to the original is a biggie for me).
    I think that is why square brackets are used for this sort of interpolation, they are relatively rare in normal text otherwise.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Tate View Post
    Indeed. And got "points" for it too
    You received a warning, of the type "friendly reminder", with zero points, with a request to be more careful on this. (If the message you receive does not make it clear that it is a warning, please report it and we will review it.)

    You cannot convince me that quoting this particular line of the article with the shouted profanity was completely accidental, as in "it was in a wall of text and I never noticed". It was not an honest mistake in a name, it was not an abbreviation for Bachelor of Science, it was not a case of asterisks being generated by the system totally unexpectedly, they were in the article already.

    As for any actual accidental occurrences of this problem, we try to deal with it fairly. Please report it when you feel we have not done so.
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  10. #10
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    Issac Asimov's Foundation series used square brackets with the words "redacted" or "censored". I think it was done for humor, because you had no idea what was being taken out. It could be whole paragraphs or just one word, but since it was never actually written, there was no way of knowing.

    I think it would be kind of awesome if a science forum to adopt that standard, but your mileage may vary.
    Solfe

  11. #11
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    You can test a post by clicking Go Advanced. There you will have the option of previewing your text before posting it. If the net nanny is going to bleep a word it will do so there.

  12. #12
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    Square brackets are the standard, accepted way of showing deviations from quoted text - even for mundane reasons such as adding context-clarifying text, eg.: "...everywhere [he] went pigeons would follow..."

    There should be no reason why even a stickler for quoting should not use it. In fact - since it's the standard - a stickler should abide by it, rather than compounding the issue by making a customized method.

    So yeah, [unacceptable language] should suffice.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Square brackets are the standard, accepted way of showing deviations from quoted text - even for mundane reasons such as adding context-clarifying text, eg.: "...everywhere [he] went pigeons would follow..."

    There should be no reason why even a stickler for quoting should not use it. In fact - since it's the standard - a stickler should abide by it, rather than compounding the issue by making a customized method.

    So yeah, [unacceptable language] should suffice.
    I did not know that. Thanks!
    Solfe

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