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I just noticed this on Stack Overflow.

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 Stack Exchange sites, but this is a horrible idea for Stack Overflow - 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
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 14:36
  • 1
    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.
    – a cat
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 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. Commented Oct 11, 2011 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. Commented Oct 11, 2011 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 StaffMod
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 14:54
  • Interesting behavior: Click "edit" and then "cancel" and the smart quotes for this very question become dumb quotes. Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 4:02
  • Why would a markdown filter feature to automatically replace straight quotes with directional ones in text ever be developed to alter code blocks?
    – binki
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 14:13
  • @binki there are lots of questions on StackOverflow where the code is entered as straight text then edited to be a code block later. Commented May 19, 2017 at 14:24
  • @MarkRansom And nothing is lost in that case because markdown is a filter, not a one time transformation. It’s no different from code samples being unreadable before being marked as code block if they include <tag></tag>.
    – binki
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 14:27

2 Answers 2

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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 Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 15:04
  • @Marc: To be fair, LibreOffice automatically "corrects" them as well. Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 3:38
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    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. Commented Oct 12, 2011 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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