I first asked for this feature on Meta.Christianity.SE. @Flimzy pointed out that this would probably benefit many others, too.

I'd like to see a visually distinct alternate blockquote style. This would be very useful for distinguishing quotes from the Bible and other sources in †.SE. But I'm quite sure there'd be use for it elsewhere, too. I might quote a blog post in one style and API reference in another, or use the feature for easier comparing of two different source texts, intertwined.

Possible syntaxes

  1. Use >> instead of > for quoting (or some other additional character: >#, >:, >~, etc.)

    >> Alternate quote

  2. Have a "hint" not unlike the syntax highlighting language hints used on SO. Something like

    <!-- bible -->
    > **John 1:1a (ESV)** In the beginning was the Word

...and this would apply a CSS class that changes the background color of the blockquote.

Visual example

a sample of possible style

  • 3
    +1 #eee vs #fff is a bit difficult for us endowed with the four eyes. – Michael Jasper Sep 26 '11 at 17:05
  • 1
    @MichaelJasper - Contrast definitely needs some work across the site. We need to send Jin an old, burnt-out 17" LCD to verify the design with for those of us working from school or on old hardware. – Kevin Vermeer Oct 6 '11 at 20:47

Personally I'd suggest style #2 to be used, because #1 already has a meaning in Markdown: it's used to indicated nested quotes.

This markup:

> Foo said:
>> Something or another

produces this output:

Foo said:

Something or another

It doesn't really render in a nicely readable way, but it does exist (and the visual display is just a question of the correct CSS being aplied, since there are two nested <blockquote> elements).

  • I was leaning to method #2 if only as then if it's not implemented on a site it's fail safe. – ChrisF Sep 26 '11 at 12:12
  • I see. For #1, there could be some other syntax like ># or something. There's already >! so something like that should be doable. – StackExchange saddens dancek Sep 26 '11 at 12:16
  • 1
    @dancek: I think that would be viable alternative. – Joachim Sauer Sep 26 '11 at 12:34
  • Why not just use this meaning, and give it a readably different appearance? – Kevin Vermeer Oct 25 '11 at 20:38
  • @KevinVermeer why not make that an answer? It sounds like a good idea, as long as it handles current use of nesting (example) reasonably. (Nesting doesn't look as bad elsewhere as it looks on MSO.) – StackExchange saddens dancek Oct 26 '11 at 6:10
  • @dancek - I'll make it an answer eventually...Given that this was asked on the 26th, I think I have a little time to make a mockup! – Kevin Vermeer Oct 26 '11 at 11:19

I suggest making it recursive e.g. > is one type, >> is another, >>> a third, >>>> a fourth, etc. Might anticipate future requests?


I suggest skipping right up to >>>> on account of css specificity would allow overridable rules for that particular setup. But that assumes that you want this:

>>>> Title of post
> Post body goes here
> more post body
> blank line came before
> the additional post body

However, I don't know that they would want to support such a thing, perse. Just a thought. Use CSS specificity to our advantage here.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .