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I just noticed this on StackOverflow.

I can't find any mention of it in the Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange.

I don't know how this will work out on the other StackExchange sites, but this is a horrible idea for StackOverflow - quotes have semantics! This will completely kill the ability to copy and paste code. See this question for example:

std::cout<<boost::lexical_cast<int>(“8”)<<std::endl;

Update: it appears that this is not a feature in the body text but it is for question titles, which led to some confusion on my part. Does anybody know how long titles have been like this?

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From what I've noticed they have a tendency to make the change AND THEN tell us what they did –  DForck42 Oct 11 '11 at 14:36
    
They've been doing it to titles for some time now, but other than that, I doubt it. The fact that it would break code is extremely obvious. –  lunboks Oct 11 '11 at 14:37
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This is user error: Stack Overflow didn't maltreat the users' input by swapping out quotes, intentionally, I'm sure. So, I'm unsure what the question is really about, as I don't think you think that's what happened. –  Grant Thomas Oct 11 '11 at 14:41
    
@Mr.Disappointment, if that turns out to be the case I'll delete this question. I started looking around and saw the smart quotes in all the titles here on Meta, and I panicked. –  Mark Ransom Oct 11 '11 at 14:43
    
@lunboks The version in titles is only aesthetic, and only in certain cases does the aesthetic change show up. The actual title source still uses normal quotation marks. –  Grace Note Oct 11 '11 at 14:54
    
Interesting behavior: Click "edit" and then "cancel" and the smart quotes for this very question become dumb quotes. –  Rick Sladkey Oct 14 '11 at 4:02
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2 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I revised the post in question to use normal quotes, and successfully did so. While viewing the source, I noticed that there were smart quotes in the actual post body. So I'm pretty sure the author just put them in there manually, for whatever reason.

I've rolled back my edit, but you can see it in place as revision 2 of the history.

Also taking a question asked 15 minutes ago, since unmodified, it possesses normal quotes. I'm inclined to believe that this is just the original author of your example question electing, for whatever reason, to use smart quotes.

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It has to be said; smart-quotes are the easiest way to detect Word users :p –  Marc Gravell Oct 11 '11 at 15:04
    
@Marc: To be fair, LibreOffice automatically "corrects" them as well. –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Oct 12 '11 at 3:38
    
Typographically speaking "smart quotes" are the correct thing to do. However, the rules vary a lot between languages and are complex enough that the "smart" correction can get it wrong pretty easily. –  Joachim Sauer Oct 12 '11 at 6:36
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Update: it appears that this is not a feature in the body text but it is for question titles, which led to some confusion on my part. Does anybody know how long titles have been like this?

Since the early beta at least. I really can't remember a time when the conversion wasn't in place.

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