True typography geeks like myself loathe the use of “faux quotes”. At the same time, I’m often too lazy to actually insert “typographically correct quotes”, not to mention trying to enforce this on others.
May I propose that Discourse enables autocorrect for this. Possibly other typographic features could be included (dashes, ellipses …).
Obviously this would have to be disabled in code, whether inline or block. And not all communities are going to want it, so it should be opt-in. But I am trying to encourage quality writing on my site, so I would really appreciate this little bit of polish.
I’m not sure whether an automatic “prettifier” is necessarily a net gain, especially because apostrophe is used for both single quote and apostophe – if it’s programmed to turn ‘this’ into ‘this’, it’s also likely to turn things such as '97 (year numbers) into ‘97 (with opening single quote), which at least to me looks even more jarring than the straight apostrophe. Similarly with other word-initial apostrophes such as ‘tis.
Quora’s autoprettifier seems to have a list of words that take special treatment, which of course will only work well for English-language text.
Yes, this problem is, it seems, inescapable; it’s not possible to fully automate quote correction. But the cases where autocorrect gets it wrong are rare, and you can just fix them manually, so I think it’s worth it.
On the system I use, it takes three keystrokes to fix such a case with autocorrect, and four to insert a correct quote mark directly, so it’s still a win!
Languages other than English is a more complex problem, I’m no expert there.
This is a good thing. Then you’re motivated to fix it, instead of imagining that’s how it’s meant to be.