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Thread: Interspersing Quotes - continuation from another thread

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Interspersing Quotes - continuation from another thread

    To avoid having an off-topic set of posts on another thread, I am creating this post for discussion of quote interspersion.

    On another thread, John Flaherty said:

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    A brief history of the interspersed quote thing, as I recall it.

    This is a technique that Jeff Dieffenbach introduced (no attack there, Jeff, just trying to present what I recollect. If I'm wrong, feeel free to correct me). For the longest time, he was the only one that used it, until people started to use it in response to his posts.

    Ironically, when Dave Bernstein came on the forums for the first time, he publicly asked Jeff to stop doing that....

    I could be wrong, but that's how I remember it, and if someone cared enough, they could go back and piece it all together.
    I believe you are wrong, because this is one of Dave's very first posts on the Discussion Forum:, and I couldn't find anywhere that he criticized Jeff for using this "technique".

    I know that among others I've used it, Dave has used it, Jeff Baron and Alan Reiss have used it. I suspect some who haven't used it, simply haven't explored how to do it.

    My question is: are other people really bothered by it? I find it to be useful if it clarifies what you are responding to. It might be better to try to intersperse in bigger chunks, but there's always a trade-off (e.g., on the other extreme, sometimes people just quote the whole post they are responding to, and it results in an overly long and hard to read post. I dislike that).

    I wonder if what you really object to is that people can respond selectively to what's in a post, though really they can do that anyway, even if they include the whole quote.

    As for Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, it's just too beautiful to take one sentence at a time. :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Wayland MA


    I don't know that I introduced "interspersing" nor that it took a long time for others to do so as well, but it's certainly a technique that I apply. I also recall someone (perhaps Dave B.) taking exception to my doing so, but as Dave B. has indicated elsewhere, the objection may have been to taking quotes from another thread.

    My take is that interspersing can be an effective way to address specific points. When done too much, I agree with John, it can get choppy. And I agree with Kim, interspersing works better when the blocks of text are bigger. I prefer whole points or paragraphs when possible, but there are times when the original post lumps many different ideas together in a single paragraph or even sentence.

    As for my use of interspersing, I used the search tools to find my most recent posts. Of these, 2/3 haven't done any quoting at all, 1/6 used only a single quote, and 1/6 used interspersing. My use of interspersing certainly doesn't appear to be any more than a number of other posters. And, as Kim suggests, it may simply be that some people who might use interspersing haven't taken the time to figure out how. That said, going forward, I'll do my best to address significant points while leaving as much of the original context intact, and if I'm only addressing some significant points, making a general thumbs up, neutral, or thumbs down statement on the points that I don't address.

    I certainly found nothing at all objectionable about Dave's response to Don--I found it to be thoughtful and respectful.

    As for the Gettysburg Address, there's a classic PowerPoint version online here.


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