A Microsoft Windows innovation© and deviation from standard character sets. Smartquotes inserts nonstandard quote characters that fail to render on non windows platforms (e.g. Unix, Linux). The result is nonstandard Microsoft specific HTML that renders like this:

I picked up the dog?s food bowl. It?s strange how delicious the dog?s food looked. But it?s the dog?s food, not mine, so I left it alone.

There is a PERL script to fix this; it's called demoronizer. From the man page:
A little detective work revealed that, as is usually the case when you encounter something shoddy in the vicinity of a computer, Microsoft incompetence and gratuitous incompatibility were to blame. Western language HTML documents are written in the ISO 8859-1 Latin-1 character set, with a specified set of escapes for special characters. Blithely ignoring this prescription, as usual, Microsoft use their own "extension" to Latin-1, in which a variety of characters which do not appear in Latin-1 are inserted in the range 0x82 through 0x95--this having the merit of being incompatible with both Latin-1 and Unicode, which reserve this region for additional control characters.
Of course, Microsoft would say the fix is for all the holdouts to switch to windows. Resistance is futile.

This reminder is intended for newer users of the E2 database.

As you are probably aware, if you write your writeups in a word processor such as Microsoft Word you should remove all smart quotes and other non-ASCII characters before pasting your work into the appropriate text box on E2. The easiest way to achieve this of course is to copy and paste it into a plain text editor first.

Rather less obviously, but perhaps even more importantly, it is also necessary to do this before pasting a node title into the 'Search' box on E2 when you are considering posting a writeup and want to check if it has already been noded. If you inadvertently include a smart quote in the search field, your search will not turn up an existing node with that same title and you will end up duplicating an existing node.

If you would like to change the settings in Word so that you can avoid this problem, follow these steps:

Go to

  • Tools
  • AutoCorrect
  • AutoFormat
    • Uncheck the box, Replace "straight quotes" with "smart quotes."

Many thanks to dannye for patiently pointing this out to me, and for providing additional information regarding settings in Word.

Often, people have curly quotes in text copied from Microsoft Word, for a long time this was known as the JessicaPierce Bug (see the Everything jessicapierce bug revisited) and cropped up several times. On machines that can't display the literal curly quote, it would display a question mark in the node title or softlink. "But I don?t want to" is how this would appear to browsers that don't have the curly quote quite right.

But wait! There is a solution - kind-of. The character entities that show up as curly quotation marks:

‘ -- ‘ -- left single quotation mark
’ -- ’ -- right single quotation mark

“ -- “ -- left double quotation mark
” -- ” -- right double quotation mark
(from HTML symbol reference)

I'll tell you something though - in many browsers, these show up as `' "". Yep, thats right your normal, every day 7 bit ASCII quote marks. There isn't anything special about them at all, other than you have to type out 6 characters to get 1.

To make things worse, some browsers only render the numeric form and let the symbolic form be displayed as is!

What does this mean to you? Well, if your browser displays things correctly, very little. However, there are quite a number of us who run Netscape 4.7 on Linux, and to us this becomes a nightmare.

It isn‘t that bad? Is it? You can still read it all, can‘t you? After all, Netscape tells us all “Upgrade Now” and all will be fine. What? Your machine is too feeble and you can‘t run Netscape 6?

Yes, it is that bad. Are curly quotes that important to you that not only will you make it difficult for you to maintain, but either unreadable or unnoticed for a fair chunk of the reading populace?

Please stick with normal quote marks. Thank you.

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