The usual application of quoting on most of the sites is to quote someone's sayings. It can be conversation, articles, webpage, newspaper or books etc. Now if we talk about sites about religions, every religions have some sacred/holy texts (called scripture e.g. bible for Christianity) on which we can say whole the religion may be based on. In other words we can say those texts are believed to be highest authority for concepts and practice of particular religion.

So, while answering questions on religion sites, experts do cite texts (usually in the poetry form called verse) from scriptures to backup their answers. This citations are considered to be authoritative/reliable sources. Thus, scriptural quote has profound significance in answering on religion sites.

As we know that background for block quoted text has recently changed. The quoted text now looks as follows: (quoting a verse from Kena Upanishad for example purpose)

ātmānaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi śarīraṁ rathameva tu ।
uddhiṁ tu sārathiṁ viddhi manaḥ pragrahameva ca ॥

1-III-3. Know the Self to be the master of the chariot, and the body to be the chariot. Know the intellect to be the charioteer, and the mind to be the reins.

This doesn't sound like quoting scriptural text. The scriptural quotes should look like we are citing from scriptures. For example:

enter image description here

Here the background used is an image of blank page of old book page which matches with how ancient manuscripts look. ( see the sample for example). I think this type of background would be more suitable on religion sites.

So, how about having (or can we have) old-book-page type background for quoting scriptures on Christianity.SE, Judaism.SE, Hinduism.SE, Islam.SE and Buddhism.SE?

If this type of background looks somewhat ugly then one may design the cooler one. What I want to emphasize is "It should look like reading an ancient sacred scripture"

Though this is about changing background for quoted text, if possible, it would be useful if we have separate quote format for normal quote <blockquote> (which we already have) and scriptural quote (introducing something like <scripturalquote>)

Note: Anyway, If we can't have such a background image discussed above we can revert to the previous yellowish background for religion sites. I think the previous one would work better that the newer one.

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    For what it's worth, I personally find that very unpleasant to look at, hard to read, and it will also make the page heavier for little reason. Also, I know you are a mod on Hinduism, but have you talked to the rest of the religion sites to see if they agree? Have you talked to your own community to see if anyone else wants this? – terdon Mar 20 '20 at 11:38
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    @terdon well, the presented example background may be unpleasant but I think cooler one can be implemented. Oh! Yes, I have discussed in chat but not officially on Meta. May be I should first post this on child Meta... – Pandya Mar 20 '20 at 11:44
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    Well, you seem to be asking for something that will affect 5 communities. Surely you should first make sure that all 5 actually want it, right? – terdon Mar 20 '20 at 11:48
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    @terdon I am communicating it with mods of other religion sites in a chat room will update accordingly – Pandya Mar 20 '20 at 11:56
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    To be blunt, it looks very...90s geocities – Journeyman Geek Mar 20 '20 at 12:18
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    @Pandya I think you are wanting a background similar to this one: i.stack.imgur.com/KiEJY.png ? – TheLittleNaruto Mar 20 '20 at 12:31
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    @TheLittleNaruto check the revised picture – Pandya Mar 20 '20 at 13:59
  • @Pandya Much better! I am not getting why so many downvotes. Out here, may be most of the people are not understanding the idea . :-) – TheLittleNaruto Mar 20 '20 at 14:03
  • @terdon Yes we had a discussion on it on HSE: hinduism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1856/647 – TheLittleNaruto Mar 20 '20 at 14:11
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    @TheLittleNaruto that isn't a discussion about having an image as background, it is just asking if there was a change, nothing about adding a background. And it has only one vote, so hardly something that could mean any sort of consensus anyway. – terdon Mar 20 '20 at 14:13
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    @terdon that is a discussion about quote being ugly and the same has been extended and elaborated here. This idea is good which at least makes sense for Hinduism.SE irrespective of whether it is graduated or making any revenue. – Mr_Green Mar 21 '20 at 19:22

I don't think this would really be all that helpful on Christianity.SE.

  1. Nostalgia isn't a virtue. Our scriptures aren't only found in parchment scrolls or faded yellow books, but clean white pages and increasingly on phones and other screens.

  2. Christian denominations disagree over what texts are actually inspired by God or not.

  3. Likewise Christian denominations disagree over what is authoritative. For example, for many questions about Catholicism, Canon Law or the Catechism is more authoritative than a personal interpretation of scripture.

  4. Different types of questions are looking for authority in different places. Protestants would say that the scriptures are the highest authority, and yet at the same time if you want to know what Presbyterians believe and teach you'll be looking to quote from the Westminster Confession of Faith, not necessarily the Bible.

  5. Patterned backgrounds are likely to make it harder to read non-Latin scripts, such as Hebrew and Greek, especially for people who are not fluent in those languages and used to seeing them in sub-optimal settings like a resident of Greece or Israel might be.

  6. A patterned background may also make it harder for our members to decide themselves how to emphasise what they want to be emphasised. We already have many formatting options available to us. You can use those to emphasise full quotes from your scriptures if you like, but in the same way other people may want to emphasise certain words or sentences from within a longer quote, and patterned backgrounds are likely to be distractions from that.

  • How about reverting back to the previous background? – Pandya Mar 21 '20 at 7:57
  • I don't really have much opinion about that. Not sure it would help. – curiousdannii Mar 21 '20 at 8:02

It's a decent idea, but I don't think it will be implemented. Neither Markdown nor HTML distinguishes between different types of block quotes, so there is no way to separate quoting another post (or, say, Wikipedia) and a scripture.

The only viable option I see is a site specific post formatting plugin, but I'm not sure they do those anymore - I haven't seen new ones in while. Given the focus on Stack Overflow and parts of the network that make money, that makes sense. Such a feature would even allow for shortcuts like [bible:NIV, John 3:16] to produce

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

(but then with an appropriate background)

  • Thanks for informing about site specific plugins which might be useful. Let me read it ans will see how can it be applied in this case. – Pandya Mar 20 '20 at 11:37

Yes I (too) would like blockquotes to have a background colour, as they did before, so that a quote reads like a different voice than the post's author's.

I don't much mind what colour really: yellow, grey, lavender, rose, blue, anything pale -- even antique/parchment if you must except that as Glorfindel mentioned, not all quotes are canonical.


I think this would add some color to Christianity and Biblical Hermeneuitics for sure. But most of us are more familiar reading the Bible off of super cheap onion skin paper than ancient scrolls.

I think this makes a lot of sense for Hindu Scripture and the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible. But the New Testament not so much, and I think the Book of Latter Days Saints was written on Gold Plates. So as long as there were lots of options to choose from.

I know the site hates fun, in general, but if changing the background actually assists conveying meaning - it's a good feature.

  • On Buddhism.SE people quote from the canon (e.g. suttas) -- but also or mostly quote translations thereof, which are only approximate; and quote modern authors, and commentary, and dictionary definitions. I know the site hates fun Making fun of the scriptures isn't quite where most people are at. if changing the background actually assists conveying meaning - it's a good feature Changing the background is a good feature, but changing every quote to parchment would be going too far (e.g. as explained in curiousdannii's answer). – ChrisW Mar 23 '20 at 7:55
  • Oh yeah, I totally agree. I think you'd want to make a new tag for the background. Maybe not even use the markdown for it, just <blockquote type="parchment">. I was thinking this would be more appropriate in conjunction with this request christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20/… – Peter Turner Mar 23 '20 at 12:37

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