Is edit #3 on this post a valid edit?

It doesn't seem to make much sense to me; the OP wasn't actually quoting that paragraph from anywhere. The editor left the comment "Highlighting", but that doesn't seem correct.

I did not attempt to revert the edit because 1. I don't know if you guys have some customary use of quote blocks that I don't know about, and 2. The editor has enough rep that I presume he did the right thing. So, due to low confidence, I left it alone.

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    $\begingroup$ Many people use blockquote to visually distinguish some parts of the post, see here. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2014 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ Edit by the same user here looks more strange. They've added the > in the title, too. In any case, I have pinged the editor on the main and gave a link to this thread in a comment. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2014 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak There's another where the entire post was "highlighted", which seems equally odd since lack of contrast makes the "highlight" lose its significance. (My intention isn't to single this user out, they just happen to have an easily accessible list of such examples.) $\endgroup$
    – Jason C
    Mar 24, 2014 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @JasonC I think the edit you mention in your comment is far more questionable than the one in the original post. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Mar 24, 2014 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ It seems a bit nitpicky to edit something like this into someone else's post. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2014 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Let me just say this (in case the user who edited those posts read this, and also to encourage other editors.) We all appreciate effort to improve quality of the posts on this site by editing them, adding formatting, correcting typos etc. Not all users would make the same changes or consider the same things worth editing. But that's ok: we are all different, we are all individuals. $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2014 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


This was briefly discussed before: http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/10500/ Yes, the HTML tag is <blockquote>, so using it for visual separation of question from surrounding material is somewhat improper. But this usage quite common, in fact it predates Math.SE itself: the model question on MathOverflow (written at the early days of the site) uses > to isolate the actual question.

By the way, SE itself promotes the use of <blockquote> for something other than quotes: namely, spoilers are realized as <blockquote class="spoiler">.

Personally, I think that mimicking a $\LaTeX$ environment in MarkDown is easy enough.

Question. Is every finitely generated foo isomorphic to bar?

After all, we don't usually see highlighted blocks of text in mathematical writing, apart from some low-level undergraduate textbooks.

It may be more semantic to use HTML headers, but the choice SE gives us is between

Way too big

Still too big

Smaller than regular bold

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    $\begingroup$ @JasonC That said, consider that SE developers themselves decided to use blockquote for spoilers, which are usually not quotes. (I just added this to the answer). $\endgroup$
    – user127096
    Mar 24, 2014 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ On the topic of your username: It's fine, but it does mean I double-check your account every time I forget about you and see your username, to make sure it's not a spam account. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2014 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexBecker Sorry about the trouble, but I hope that the 3K+ reputation shown next to said username should alleviate the concern. $\endgroup$
    – user127096
    Mar 24, 2014 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ @cheapeffectivedietpills It's no problem :) $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2014 at 21:09

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