Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Editing/Convert typographic replacement characters like straight apostrophes and quotation marks

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Random proposal◄ Editing  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

Convert typographic replacement characters like straight apostrophes and quotation marks

  • Problem: While many Wikipedias written in the Latin script have adopted the use of local quotation marks (usually distinct one for opening and closing) and typographic (curly) apostrophes instead of straight " and ' as well as proper em or en dashes instead of the hyphen-minus -, this has traditionally not happened on the English Wikipedia out of fear that it would be too complicated for contributors and that mixing styles would look unpleasant or unprofessional.
  • Who would benefit: Readers.
  • Proposed solution: Substitute ASCII replacement characters while editing.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets: phabricator:T40724
  • Proposer: Crissov (talk) 11:04, 20 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • The EN Wiki MOS has this footnote

Curly quotation marks and apostrophes are deprecated on the English Wikipedia because:

  • Consistency keeps searches predictable. Though most browsers do not distinguish between curly and straight marks, Internet Explorer still does (as of 2016), so that a search for Alzheimer's disease will fail to find Alzheimer’s disease and vice versa.
  • Straight quotation marks and apostrophes are easier to type reliably on most platforms.

Gbear605 (talk) 23:03, 20 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Which IMHO is a terrible thing. But except enwiki, indeed many projects would profit a lot from the feature.–XanonymusX (talk) 20:05, 22 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Making ' and equivalent in titles would be needed. --Pols12 (talk) 02:42, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't feel strongly either way, BUT I am concerned about all the possible ways it will get messed up during the editing process. One example I can think of is when people mean to type ’08, but word processors end up autocorrecting to ‘08 by virtue of it being seen as an opening quotation.   — TARDIS Builder (talk)   |     00:32, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I know itʼs in the proposal, but it must be emphasized that this is language-specific, and cannot be imposed everywhere. Seb az86556 (talk) 22:05, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not even language-specific, it's country-specific in the same language. Different country, different customs. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 22:40, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Support Support Alechri (talk) 18:35, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I actually have that issue on my wiki. I have a category with a curly apostrophe. They should definitely be converted and make that a toggle option. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 19:20, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support 5225C (talkcontributions) 00:05, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Lion-hearted85 (talk) 03:07, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Ciao • Bestoernesto 04:01, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Flipchip73 (talk) 04:28, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support No such user (talk) 08:53, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Abductive (talk) 08:55, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support It's also missing in the German Wikipedia. Jjkorff (talk) 13:36, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Other websites (e.g., Medium) have implemented automatic conversion to typographic punctuation. This is a good feature and the fact that it would break functionality in IE shouldn't be relevant in 2021 in my opinion, since IE support officially ended. Hb2007 (talk) 14:18, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Every editor I've ever used that tries to auto-convert simple consistent punctuation for purely stylistic reasons does a terrible job at it and accumulates inconsistencies that increase manual cleanup work. Consistency should not be compromised for style. DKEdwards (talk) 19:31, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per DKEdwards Libcub (talk) 18:50, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support However, there must be an option to disable this. Dominic Z. (talk) 19:57, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Context- and language- sensitive changes should not be done like this. —  HELLKNOWZ   ▎TALK   ▎enWiki 22:23, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support StringRay (talk) 16:25, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose That we only have plain ' and " available is in my opinion a major advantage in the enWP -- it prevents great deal of unnecessary tinckering and errors. DGG (talk) 01:08, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Gnom (talk) 15:47, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Way too easy to break things, and various projects have different standards anyway. We already have search-replace tools for use in wikicode, e.g. I'm using one on en.wikipedia (probably from a gadget, though I couldn't tell you which one right off-hand) that works quite well, including regex. (I use it to convert curly quotes to straight ones, normalize citation parameter names, etc.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  06:09, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Vincent Ramos (talk) 19:30, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:08, 19 December 2020 (UTC) definitely nothing for the whole Wikiverse, as this is done on a country by county base, in deWP we have different styles for articles, depending whether ist about Austria, Switzerland or Germany, how in earth should this be treated with the big brush for all and everything? If some project wants this for itself, they should ask their programming members about it.Reply[reply]