From other forums/qa's I'm used to using some sort of element (usually collapsable) to create a space for backstories and extra information. This so that it doesn't clutter up the question itself, but can be read if anyone needs more info.

Are there any guidelines to do this here? My post was edited because I used a quote tag for this. Even though I agree it is not meant for stuff like this, I don't see any other way either.

My own and other people's posts are getting quite long and difficult to read because of all the information needed.

I think Interpersonal Skills would benefit for set guidelines to format such things. If they don't exist yet, should we create guidelines?

  • As far as I'm aware an edit for that post was suggested to do just that, and that edit suggestion was rejected, so I'm presuming it's a split topic in the community Jul 28, 2017 at 11:27
  • @Crafter0800 You mean specifically my post with the quote? I did not reject the edit, the quote is gone now.
    – Summer
    Jul 28, 2017 at 11:29
  • as the OP you can override an already rejected edit to approve it. The very same suggestion was made earlier that day and rejected, and the one you approved already had 1 reject already on it Jul 28, 2017 at 11:30
  • @Crafter0800 I think I need to look into that because I had no idea, thanks!
    – Summer
    Jul 28, 2017 at 11:46
  • 1
    As the OP your vote on an edit over rules others, so you can approve a rejected edit or reject and already a proved edit (rolling it back). Jul 28, 2017 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


I'm personally not a fan of using quote markup for this.

I'm mentally expecting a quote to be... a quote. Now, I do use them regularly on ELL to set examples apart but these are generally single lines of text, not the bulk of your text.

There are several options that I think would be preferable (personally).

Section your post using horizontal bars.

--- or ---- with a empty line above and below it turns into:

A lovely horizontal rule. You can use this to section your post. You can use other markup like bold to give a heading or, if you really want the heading to stand out, you can use differing numbers of octothorpes (hashtags) to make something even bigger and bolder:




I think single and double are the same but I usually just use the triple. So, your question would, instead look something like this (I've rearranged the text slightly to bring all of the question together rather than separating it):

Your Question:

My father in law refuses to listen to our requests not to work in/on our house during weekdays. Every time we discuss this issue it ends in a fight or him being offended. We need his help to finish the house, but we'd prefer he comes here only on the weekends. He says he needs his rest on the weekends so he doesn't want to work then.

Is the only option we have left asking him no to come at all anymore? I'm afraid even asking that will offend him. Normally I'm quite good with turning things my way but however I put it, he finds something to be offended about and will make a whole drama over it.


We bought a house 8 months ago, started renovating and during that period we were invited to live at my in-laws. My father in law is already retired and is bored all day. He has the key to our house in case of emergencies etc. When we didn't live in the house yet he was free to work on things whenever he liked. 2 months ago we moved in, but he still comes and goes whenever he likes.

We talked about him discussing coming over first, but he gets angry whenever we try. He throws the 'You should be thankful I'm helping' argument everywhere. He now sends a message to his son (my partner) only, but he's often working or can't respond soon enough and then he'll go without having an answer anyway.

This resulted in him showing up in many unfortunate situations. While typing this now I'm working at home due to some circumstances and he just came marching through the door. 'Oh I messages X but he didn't respond.' and is now working very loud equipment. When I asked him to stop he said it was important he does this today. Perfect working conditions... Next to this he is quite clumsy when we're not around, perhaps because he is getting old. He has broken or damaged multiple things already.

So, let's look at this. What have I done here?

  1. I've moved all of the "problem" together at the top of the question. This makes it easy for people to really get to the heart of your issue. Information like "We need his help to finish the house" should be first, not last.
  2. I've separated the problem from the backstory with a horizontal bar.
  3. I've removed the "So, there's a bit of a backstory here." text and replaced it with a header that just reads "Backstory:". This sets the content apart and lets people know what it is.
  4. If you want, you can certainly include more information after the backstory but I think this will depend on a case-by case basis.

To address some of your concerns, though - I don't think we should be too worried about long questions. Posts need to be long so that they can be detailed. Honestly, I don't think your post is that long and (because of the width reduction) putting it in a quote box makes it seem even longer. We need to encourage people to make their posts easy to read by using proper grammar, punctuation and good formatting that draws attention to important parts of the content, not by curtailing their question length.

  • 1
    We can keep the backstory in the blockquote if it's not a really long paragraph.
    – A J Mod
    Jul 30, 2017 at 6:34

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