Sometimes we quote the question text or sentences from question to address while answering. For example see recent answer. I had also quoted question text in some answerers like this.

Here the main problem is: Since both the scriptural quotes and question quotes have been marked down as block-quote, they seems like mixed up. In other words both quotes looks similar in nature, however there is a huge difference, scriptural quotes are whereas question quote is just the questioner's text!

So, How can we differentiate them?

As a work around, I sometimes mention it explicitly in bold text e.g. that I had done in this answer. We may also think for using Italics or " or combination with block-quotes. iammilind has recently used code blocks to differentiate them in his recent answers like this but I think using code blocks would not be a good idea.

So, I'm looking for the markdown/formatting support in oder to distinguish scriptural quotes and question quotes or How can we differentiate with the formatting tools available with us?

  • 1
    Good Qn. I would agree with @TriyugiNarayanMani. I have used "" with italics, but somehow the effect of the scriptures in the answer gets mixed up. Bold is too loud. Hence, better to use as following -- For a short Qn we can use code blocks. For a long Qn, we can break into multiple lines and use code blocks. At least they don't harm. In other case, we can ask specific feature for our site. There are certain special formatting made available to math.SE for example.
    – iammilind
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 13:58
  • 1
    I don't like code blocks. They look very bad. They are not intended for quoting. Block quotes are intended. They can be used when we are quoting something let it be a scripture or another person. So, using them for block quotes doesn't make any difference to me. They can be differentiated just by adding a sentence before the quote in the answer. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


When we will look into editing help section, we can find what options are available for this kind of distinguished formatting. These are:

  1. Italics and Bold
  2. Headers
  3. Horizontal Rules
  4. Simple blockquotes
  5. Advanced blockquotes: Nesting
  6. Preformatted Text

I think, Italics and Bold, and Headers can be used on emphasizing any text. They are not bound to quotes.

Simple blockquotes are used for quoting any external referenced texts or paragraphs.

Now, we have only Horizontal Rules, Advanced blockquotes: Nesting and Preformatted Text are available. Advanced blockquotes can be typical for some users (please don't take it in wrong way). So, we have only Horizontal Rules and Preformatted Text.

Regarding Preformatted Text, they are used as code block on many sites. But it has no use on our website, so we can use it differentiate between two type of quotes.

Or as suggested by iammilind, we can ask specific feature for our site.

There is a related post on main meta.


As suggested by Pandya that code blocks are not good for using quotes, we can use <h1></h1> tag for questions quote as used in this post answer.

  • The feature is declined and it's likely that our site will also be declined. . This feature is not a necessity for our site. Oded answered the question you linked and he said that would require some changes to the markdown. So, we can use normal block quotes. What is the problem in using block quotes? They can be differentiated just by adding a sentence before the quote in the answer. Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 17:28
  • 2
    @Sinister Thanks for feedback. There is no problem in using block quotes. Oded said that There are other way of distinguishing blocks of text (from using > to using code blocks and <pre>). You can also use horizontal rules - --- on a line by itself to break the post into sections. This was my view to distinguish both quotes. Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 18:17

Code blocks are intended (made up) for codes and only used for the purpose of code or the text we need to keep the formatting. They should not be used for quoting the text.

Because they're unsuitable to read, can't be formatted and breaks the accessibility (Code markup has a semantic meaning for machines and screen readers, and it comes with specific attributes like not resizing to fit the viewport on mobile devices.)

You may visit related posts[1] that suggest not to use code blocks (or preformatted text) for other purpose.

So, we have some work-arounds:

  1. Using header/bold or italics for question quotes e.g this answer.
  2. Writing explicitly that this is question or scripture before the quote. e.g. similar to this answer.
  3. Nesting the block quotes i,e using multiple >. For example,

    How did Vedas come into existance?

    Vedas are Apaurusheya, according to Srimad Bhagavatam 12.6.40-41:

    One perceives this [eternal, itself imperceptibly manifesting] sound, outside the physical sense of hearing and power of vision. The complete of the Vedic sound one employs is an elaboration of this omkâra that from the soul manifests itself in the ether. It constitutes the direct expression of the self-generating Absolute Truth and Supersoul, it constitutes the eternal seed of the Vedas and constitutes the secret of all mantras

    We may alternatively use nested quotes for question text and simple for scriptural texts.

In brief, We can use Bold, Italics, Horizontal rule or Nested quotes, or combination of them according to suitability for quoting the text but we shouldn't use code blocks for quoting purpose.

[1] Code formatting should never be used for non-code markup.
Using code ticks for technical term highlighting considered harmful.
Guidelines / limits on code formatting in non-programming Stack Exchange communities.

  • 1
    Nested quotes seems somewhat a viable technique. But the differentiation is still not as good as code blocks.
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 1:19

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