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Re: Quotation marks

From: Per Starbäck
Subject: Re: Quotation marks
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2007 00:35:32 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.93 (gnu/linux)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

>> "Per Starbäck" <address@hidden> writes:
>> > I suggest sometimes [in particular in Info] using a display table
>> where [`'] are replaced by

> we've been having similar discussions several times already, and
> they always ended with the same result: the current status quo.
> Markus Kuhn's crusade against `..' is well known, and so are
> Richard's objections to it. Why waste any more time on this?

I may have missed some of those earlier discussions, but then I think
they are easy to miss, because I've tried to look for them now,
and I've found no crusade and no objections from Richard.

The primary discussion I found was one in 2003. Then display table was
set to use U+2018, U+2019 for `' in international/mule-cmds.el, but
three months later Kenichi Handa cancelled that.

In emacs-dev discussion Handa-san wrote

> I think `' should not be displayed by U+2018 and U+2019.
> Unicode defines them not as balanced quotes.  Using them as
> balanced quotes is abuse of characters as far as we follow
> Unicode.
> Considering the long standing convention, I don't suggest to
> stop this abuse.  But, at least, we should not disturb
> people who use those characters correctly in the sense of
> Unicode by displaying them with characters of different
> semantics.

I totally agree with that. When I write a character in a buffer I want
to see that character. (Also "left single quotation mark" and "right
single quotation mark" are often too similar to each other.)

But Info-mode isn't about showing what I write. It's purpose is
presenting Info files in a nice manner for humans. Just like that
might mean not showing "*note foo::" as "*note foo::" or underlining
"========" as "========" that might mean not showing "`" as "`".

In the September 2003 discussion James Clark was the first to suggest
doing a mapping only in buffers displaying documentation. Jason
Rumney answered

> I initially thought this too, then it occured to me that there are a
> lot of lisp examples in the documentation, so the mapping could
> cause confusion.

which is a good counterargument I hadn't thought of.

As far as I can see there was no consensus pro or against such a
selective mapping, and there certainly was no veto from Richard,
who instead asked what was dubious with the original change when it
was questioned. So I don't agree that this issue was a clear waste of
time where everything already has been beaten to death, but I won't
pursue it any further.

(I will probably install a mapping for Info-mode for my users anyway.
Info-mode in Emacs 22 does such a good job of presenting Info files
for humans, so I think it might be possible to actually get my users
to use it, which has been really hard with Emacs 21.)
Per Starback
 "Life is but a gamble!  Let flipism chart your ramble!"

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