The ability to quote and cite from a non-Discourse site

I love the quoting feature in Discourse. Today, I was writing a post and wanted to link to Wikipedia and quote a specific text within the page. Normally, I’d do that through screenshotting and then having to add the link to it separately. However, I got the idea today that I would love to have something like the Discourse quoting feature but able to quote from any site on the web.

So in this Wikipedia scenario, I would go to the Wikipedia page, highlight the text I want to quote (or maybe even drag a box to create a screenshot) and then it could automatically add the quote (or screenshot) to the Discourse composer and cite the source with a link. Then when visiting the link from the quote, it could ideally even show the text highlighted, as Github does when visiting certain links that had highlighted code.

I imagine maybe this might be hard to create within Discourse or even as a browser extension, yet I think it could really add interactivity to the web and drive so much more discussion in Discourse. I can imagine myself quoting blog posts, writing rebuttals, including dictionary definitions, and more.

Anyways, just wanted to put that out there for people to ponder in case anyone is interested in making it happen. And I’m excited to further develop this idea with others below.


Great idea! You have my full support! :+1:

It would probably only work through a web browser extension, yes.

You’re not alone in your thinking, that’s for sure.


Sweet, I’ll take a look more at that other topic :slight_smile:

Also, do you know if there’s even a way to add a quote to the composer using the Discourse API? I looked but didn’t seem to find anything, but I imagine it has to be there somewhere.

Sorry, I have no clue.

1 Like

That’s OK, I’ll dig and see if I find anything, while I wait to see if others know :slight_smile:

Edit: I think there might be a way to do it not exactly using the quote function but something similar. I think a simple bookmarklet could work as such:

  1. Select the text
  2. Press the bookmarklet
  3. Bookmarklet then turns the selected text and current URL into a markdown blockquote as such:
> Lorem ipsum text
  1. Bookmarklet copies that text to the clipboard.

When pasting such a thing into a Discourse composer, it should look like this:
Lorem ipsum text

I think the bookmarklet could get more advanced, by using the create a new topic URL option, or allowing a person to choose which site they want to add it to, however, I think such a simple bookmarklet could go a long way.

Regardless, I will still probably just quote text like this from now on, even though it currently requires a little more back and forth.

1 Like

I love quoting, and I love bookmarklets! :heart:

A few years ago I began working on copying stuff into Discourse for archiving/discussion (archiving in this sense is similar to copying images, for both privacy and historical reasons).

Anyhow, my first attempt worked for me at the time: Discourse has an API for updating single topics, adding messages, etc. - #6 by maiki - Meta - talkgroup

<a class="bookmarklet" href="javascript:(function()%7Blocation.href%3D''%2BencodeURIComponent(document.title)%2B'%26body%3D'%2BencodeURIComponent(location.href)%7D)()">talkgroup (as a verb)</a>

I’ve improved on it… but as a relaxing hack in a browser where I didn’t save any of it…

@jimkleiber let me know if you come up with anything, I’d try it out! :slight_smile:

Bringing up “quote anywhere” and Wikipedia in the same topic made me think of my favorite thing on Wikipedia that I wished were implemented at the browser level… but likely greatly modified to allow for privacy issues.

Anyhow: Wikipedia Previews!

Imagine using that, but with oEmbed/OpenGraph/Onebox support, so Discourse does the previewing!

(This isn’t a different feature request, just sharing to ideate better bookmarklets. ^_^)


I believe most of this, if not all, you can already achieve with

For instance, the user pogotc has highlighted the text “anyone can edit” on the main English Wikipedia page. Below is a link citing that annotation (highlighting) and when any of us follow this link, we can see the main English Wikipedia page with that annotated text highlighted:

The annotator (highlighter) must use a bookmarklet or Browser extension, but the anybody can follow a link like the one above to just view the annotation (highlight).

But perhaps you want to be able to highlight the text but not make it so public?

When I copy and paste text from the internet to Microsoft OneNote on Windows 10 the default paste shows the text followed by the source URL. Maybe that means it’s in the clipboard already… it doesn’t work on the iPhone but if you just want something for your PC it might be helpful to know.