Newbie problems - quoting?

I’m having some problems with basics here. For instance, I’m looking for something to click on to quote a poster, so that it’s clear which person I’m replying to. But I see nothing. Is there an option to quote?

For that matter, why am I getting pop-ups on the right, imaging that my “topic is similar” to things that are nothing like mine?

Just highlight the text and click the “Quote” button that shows up next to it.

It is a built-in feature of Discourse that tries to find things that might be similar. It tends to work best on sites with lots of posts where people do post similar things, and can avoid accidentally duplicate threads. But it’s not AI, just matching some words. Don’t take offense.


Great answers @Michael_K_Johnson!

Yes, the “helpful box” may be a bit awkward, but what can you do. Occasionally it’s a helpful reminder, though. (If there’s already a post on a specific subject, it may be nice to link it in the new post.) Otherwise, please ignore it.

Generally, the editor supports Markdown formatting (like surrounding asterisks for italic and two surrounding asterisks as in **bold** for bold) and even a bit of basic HTML. Just have an eye on what happens, when you use any of the formatting buttons. E.g., if you want to paste (or type) code, either indent each line by 4 blanks, or put triple back-ticks before and after the first and last line (on a separate line each). Single back-ticks are useful for any inline code expressions. Or simply select the code in the editing window and press the “</>” button. A “>” at the start of the line marks quoted text (e.g., if we want to quote text from another page), which is also what the " button does, etc.

Quoting another post is a bit special, though, since the editor has to “know” what post to use as a reference. If you want to start a reply by quoting another user, select the part in question and click the “Quote” button in the pup-up that will appear. This will open a new reply to this post and insert the highlighted text as a quote. You can also quote another user in a post/comment, you’re already editing, by the same procedure, which will insert the highlighted text at the current insertion point. (That way, you can refer to multiple posts by several users in the same comment.)

Another quirk of the post editor is that it really wants to insert a page’s title for any URL. If this is not what you want, and you want to make sure that a certain URL is displayed, select the URL and use the link button to paste the URL into the “optional title” field, as well.
On the other hand, if you want to point out a site, putting the URL on a line of its own will result in a nice box, including a preview (if there is any). Putting a YouTube link on a line of its own will embed the video in question.

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Oh, also… Just in case you didn’t notice this, you should have a message from Discobot when you signed up that offers you a tutorial for how to use Discourse. Click the W at the upper right hand corner and look for a message called “Greetings!” from “discobot” — it tells you how to respond to learn more about how to use Discourse, the software this site is built on. There is also an advanced tutorial available which you will be offered or will have been offered when you’ve done enough here for the system to automatically increase your “trust level”. That message will be from discobot and be titled “Now that you’ve been promoted, it’s time to learn about some advanced features!”


Well, thanks, Michael_K_Johnson, but nothing is popping up to click on to quote. Where should it be? Has anyone considered that usually it’s more intuitive?

This is what it’s supposed to look like. Now click the “Quote” pop-up appearing over the highlighted section.

Well, it’s how Discourse (the software this forum relies on) works. There isn’t much to do about this…

(Quoting is always a bit special and difficult, since the forum software has to determine a back-reference to the original text, comment and the user who posted this. Who is quoting whom? Arguably, doing it by highlighting and then activating a context-sensitive option is a way to achieve this. Another way would be to just always quote the entire comment using a button. Admittedly, the latter may be more obvious, but it also provides less of a choice. Personally, I think, Discourse has made a good choice, since it’s always obvious what section of text is addressed in particular, which may be relevant for longer comments and helps with conversations.)

If you happen to be on mobile, it might be less obvious how to highlight a part of someone’s post. Probably a long-press.

But note also that every post in the thread has a Reply button below it: that will link back to the specific post you’re replying to. As opposed to the big blue Reply button at the bottom of the thread, which doesn’t link back (unless you use the quote mechanism.)

Like everything else, this is a standard function of Discourse. The idea is to help reduce redundant posts, or to help you to link to related posts. If in your case the “similar” topics are not relevant, just ignore them. You can press ‘Escape’ to get rid of that pop-up. (I don’t know what happens on mobile.)

As a matter of policy, we’re using Discourse in as close to the default configuration as we can. It should reduce maintenance effort, and make some hypothetical far-future migration to another platform easier.

Well, this was helpful to show me WHERE the “quote” should pop up. But it doesn’t. As far as I can tell, it works if you’re highlighting a small section. But if you want to include the poster’s name - which is the whole point, to clarify to whom you’re replying - it doesn’t work.

I have to say, I’ve been on a lot of forums, but I’ve never found other ones so difficult, no matter how un-techy I am. I can’t even figure out what possible purpose it serves to have a small window on the left where I’m typing PLUS a window on the right with the exact same thing.

Exactly - that’s what it’s for, and that’s what I did right now. You see that the name of the person who wrote the text appears above the text.

The window on the left is where you compose, and the one on the right is where your post is rendered. On a phpBB forum, you would instead have a Preview button to see the rendered post.

If you prefer not to see the rendered post, there’s a << button which collapses it. At that point, there’s a >> button to expand it.

This forum uses the software called Discourse. You can discuss the forum software, with other users, with experts and with the people designing it and implementing it at a central place:

There’s also a sandbox if you want to play:

The poster’s name is inserted automatically, you don’t have to highlight that., as is anything else that’s connected to the original post. (The software actually includes much more than just the highlighted selection. You may see a tiny downward pointing caret at the right side of the bar above a quote, this expands the entire original comment with the selected text highlighted. Clicking it again will collapse it. The up arrow right of this takes you to the post in question.)

Moreover, you may either start a new comment just by quoting a previous comment, in which case you’ll be presented with a new editing window already prefilled with the code for quote. On the other hand, if you were already editing a comment, you can always scroll to any part of the document, select some text and press the “Quote” pop-up button, which will insert the code for the quote just were you were editing (at the current insertion point.) You may also include multiple quotes in a single comment using this latter method.