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bug#23425: master branch: `message' wrongly corrupts ' to curly quote.

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: bug#23425: master branch: `message' wrongly corrupts ' to curly quote.
Date: Wed, 4 May 2016 16:48:49 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

Hello, Eli.

On Wed, May 04, 2016 at 06:32:40PM +0300, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Date: Tue, 3 May 2016 20:03:30 +0000
> > Cc: address@hidden, address@hidden
> > From: Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden>

> > > > And why is it something that users shouldn't routinely do?

> > > Because the theory behind this change is that everyone will want that,
> > > certainly after they get used to it a little.

[ .... ]

> > > If that theory is wrong, we will have to change much more than just
> > > document that variable or teach users to use it more.

> > That theory _is_ wrong, certainly amongst Emacs developers.  Even in this
> > bug thread, two other people have expressed negative sentiments about
> > this matter.

> So we have 3 people against that.  Is it really enough?

That's three people in this thread.  Over the months, more people have
expressed unhappinness about curly quotes, in the various ways they have
been imposed on us.  Yes, I think that is enough.  The comments from the
other two people have been less than fully respectful, and at least one
of them is not known for making snide remarks.  What does that tell you?

Put frankly, the curly quote stuff was installed into Emacs without there
being any consensus in favour of it, and was deliberately done in such a
way that it could not be disabled (see below).

> > > > Surely it should be a configuration variable.  Some people, like me,
> > > > don't like being lied to by a computer program.

> > > You are not being lied to.  Just think of ` and ' as yet another
> > > format specifier character, not unlike %.

> > They're not - they're literal characters.

> So is %.

You can escape a % by writing %%.  That will consistently be output as %.
There is no comparable form of escape for the quote characters.

> > >   emacs -Q
> > >   M-: (setq text-quoting-style 'grave) RET
> > >   M-: (message "`this'") RET => `this'

> > > What am I missing?

> > That in that scenario, (message "`this'") ; with curly quotes
> > gets converted to "`this'" ; with ASCII quotes.  This is not wanted.

> Not sure why.  But anyway, the change such as what you suggest is too
> pervasive to install on the emacs-25 branch, unless we want to delay
> the release.  Too bad these issues didn't come up in time.

I brought this matter up in June 2015, immediately after mandatory
mangling of quotes was introduced.  I installed a patch
(52c3946c872c8bd96508f74cdda5cbb90c664306, on 2015-06-18) to make this
mangling optional.  The very next day, you-know-who effectively reverted
this change, under the guise of expanding the choice available, making
the mangling mandatory again.  I should have fought the issue at the
time, but didn't.

If it is too late to go into 25.1, can we put a fix into 25.2?  And yet
again, I suggest `text-quoting-style' should become a configurable
option, giving users the ability to chose how THEY want messages to be

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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