dumb quotes (thing)
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|Arguably, it is the so-called "smart quotes" which are in fact dumb quotes on E2 and elsewhere on the Web. Because these quotes are not part of many users' character sets, they are often rendered as question marks or other filler characters. This makes the page containing said quotes look bad; thus, using these quotes may be safely regarded as a dumb idea.
Unless you are certain of the character set in which you are writing -- and in which your readers are viewing your text -- you are best off sticking with the ordinary typewriter-style quotes. In context, these "dumb quotes" can in fact be a smart idea.
Once we are all safely using Unicode and expecting same, of course, there will be little excuse for straight quotes outside of programming languages -- and possibly not even there, if Larry Wall has his way. In such a future, typographical aesthetics may exert thesmselves freely, and "dumb quotes" will indeed be dumb.