When someone posts a question containing a Japanese sentence that they have a specific problem with, my first instinct is to edit the question to put the text in a quote block (assuming the OP hasn't already done so). Such a block

looks like this.

Now I remember the good old days when the quote block was a box with a yellow background and didn't have that ugly vertical bar. I hated the new style so much that I wrote a script that automatically converts back to the old style. So nowadays, when I make an edit, I don't actually see what everyone else sees.

I'm now seeing some posts that use the 'four spaces' style of quoting (which I think is intended for code),

which looks like this,  

and I'm thinking to myself that this looks much more pleasingly like the old style (but less yellow). If I didn't have my script I'd definitely be favouring this style.

So the question is, should we try to keep everything in one style? Which one? Does anyone really care?

I guess we should stick with the '>' way of quoting since that's how most posts are written (even though I hate how it looks nowadays). But is it worthwhile converting new posts written with the 'four spaces' style quoting to the '>' style?

3 Answers 3


Generally the > quoting style is better, and old content should be edited to use it, as general housekeeping - that's just generally how Stack Exchange works.

The space-indented text is not really "quoted", but "code formatted". The feature exists mainly so that sites like Stack Overflow can talk about programming and work with text that needs to use a monospace ("typewriter") font to look correct. It can sometimes be useful in answers in order to present a careful, hyper-literal reading of text, and line up English glosses with Japanese text - but it doesn't work much better then eyeballing the spacing with the regular font.


Semantically, appending a line with > will enclose it with the <blockquote> HTML tag, while indenting a line with 4-space (or alternatively, enclosing it between triple ticks) will enclose it with the <code> tag.

In terms of styles, it is considerably subjective. One may prefer the background highlighting, others may like the indentation. Thus, it's hard to decide based on the style only. However, users are free to customize them with userstyle.

But for accessibility purposes, this might affect screen readers. The marked text may be appended with "quote" or "code" as an additional context to describe the content. Using it wrongly may (slightly) confuse the users.


I would say use the tools for their intended use. If it's a quote, use >. If it's code, use the spaces or the three ``` blocks.

FWIW, if you don't like the way the quote block looks, you can use a tool like TamperMonkey to change the CSS.

enter image description here

If you're interested, here's my TamperMonkey script:

// ==UserScript==
// @name     Japanese StackExchange (and meta) Blockquote
// @version  1
// @grant    none
// @include https://japanese.stackexchange.com/*
// @include https://japanese.meta.stackexchange.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

function addGlobalStyle(css) {
    var head, style;
    head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
    if (!head) { return; }
    style = document.createElement('style');
    style.type = 'text/css';
    style.innerHTML = css;

addGlobalStyle('blockquote { background-color: #F0F1F4 !important; background-image: url("https://cdn.sstatic.net/Sites/japanese/img/site-background-image.svg?v=3e09a9473831") !important; border-left-width: 4px; border-left-color: #155397; border-left-style: solid; }');
addGlobalStyle('blockquote::before { width: 0px !important; }');

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