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bug#20385: [PATCH] Support curved quotes in doc strings

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: bug#20385: [PATCH] Support curved quotes in doc strings
Date: Fri, 15 May 2015 16:52:23 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/31.6.0

Dmitry Gutov wrote:

What if the locale mandates the use of some other kind of quotes? Then copying
and pasting won't work anyway.

Yes it will. It'll work fine. If a documentation string is in (say) Hungarian, a user will be able to paste quoted Hungarian text into it, and the text will carry its Hungarian quotation marks along. It'll be just like documentation in English and with English quotes.

I've never had a need to copy a diagnostic message with the
intention to paste it into the source code.

Shrug. I've done it. And vice versa. And there are other examples. The point is that it's simpler and nicer if cutting and pasting Just Works.

Actually, it's a decent argument against using *any particular locale's*
quoting, in order not to confuse casual contributors, who'd have to know that
*these* fancy quotes will be localized, but *those* - won't.

No, there's normally no need to localize those curved quotes, not if the text is English and uses English quoting. The only time one would need to localize is for obsolete displays lacking curved quotes, which casual contributors are unlikely to be using nowadays anyway.

Maybe you could paste quotes, but not any other kind of formatting.

First, that's not true: many other kinds of formatting (though obviously not all) can also be cut and pasted from info into .texi files. Second, even if it were true it'd be OK. One improvement at a time. Quotes are such a common kind of formatting that simplifying their cutting and pasting is worth doing even if we can't simplify all forms of formatting.

And you can notice that if we delimited docstrings with curly quotes instead of
the straight quotation marks, tildify-space wouldn't have been able to use them
exactly this way inside the docstring.

That's not a significant problem, as it applies to any convention that uses only paired quotes. For example, the current documentation for skeleton-pair-insert-maybe says "These are (), [], {}, <> and `' ...", and the reader needs to infer that those instances of ` and ' are not quotes, but are characters. This sort of thing happens every now and then in documentation, and it's no big deal.

I know of no serious markup language that utilizes unicode, even now.

Texinfo does. Unicode curved quotes are part of the markup. They affect spacing among other things.

I don't see it as clunky

That's the main point of disagreement here. Although Emacs old-timers are used to quoting `like this', to newbies it's a weird and offputting relic from ancient history.

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