Is there any chance that the community could come together on a standard format for rules quotes? Individuality is great, but so is consistency.

21.2a This is the relevant piece of the rule. [...]

I favor the format above, but even I have not demonstrated consistency in its use. Other variations include, but are by no means limited to

21.2a This is the relevant piece of the rule. [...]

21.2a This is the relevant piece of the rule. This is the irrelevant piece of the rule.

21.2a This is a rule with a bolded identifier.

This is a rule whose identifier is mentioned in a preceding sentence.

CR 21.2a This is a rule.

I do not think it is necessary to edit other posts to conform to a chosen style. I just think it would be nice to have a style guideline for posters that want to use it. Again, I want to stress that this meta post is not intended to force everyone to use a particular style. If authors want to deviate, let them.

This is specific to Magic: the Gathering, but if you have a generalized solution that extends beyond Magic, more power to you.

  • 2
    I think you should mention somewhere in your question that this is about Magic: the Gathering rules. It's obvious to me, since those are the questions I answer, but it may not be obvious to everyone.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:11
  • You're still suggesting actively editing new posts, right? (Despite all the prolific users, a substantial fraction of answers are still from people likely not to have seen a meta post like this, especially once it's moved off the top spot.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:33
  • I simply asked because it wasn't completely clear whether you intended to leave those alone (so a substantial fraction of posts would have different formatting) or edit them (so a substantial fraction of posts would need editing). Either way it's a possible drawback, just wanted to know which you had in mind.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 0:42
  • @Jefromi I retracted my previous comments because they were apparently confusing you. Anyone who can read English can clearly see that the question does not suggest actively editing posts. It merely asks for a style guideline. Anyone who wants to follow it can. I, in the comments, not the question, and in response to a question you asked, did suggest actively editing posts. I see now that you asked a leading question. "You're still suggesting [...]", that implies that I suggested it before. I didn't.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 17:01
  • I like the idea, but it seems that an actual proposal for such a standard would not be well received...?
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 8:08

2 Answers 2


I think that this is a good idea in principle, but I would prefer not to follow a single formatting rule. I often find that I want to quote rules differently based on context and which rule I am quoting.

If I am quoting just a single rule (101.1), I often just quote the rule text and mention the identifier in the previous line. If I'm quoting a single rule with subrules (101.1, 101.1a, 101.1b), I'll put the rule numbers (bolded) in the quotation for consistency and make the subrules into a bulleted list. If I'm quoting multiple rules at the same level (101.1, 101.2, 101.3), I'll make them into a bulleted list because they are a list.

Sometimes, when I am quoting a long rule, I want to keep context, so I will quote the entire rule and bold the part relevant to my answer. Other times, I don't need the context so I will omit the unimportant parts of the rule.

I think that if we choose just one of those formats as a rule across the board, it will be subomtimal in some cases, and I think that in this case flexibility is more valuable than consistency.

  • 1
    I agree that we shouldn't try to follow a single formatting rule, and on top of this, I'm generally against trying to enforce style across many people's posts. There are better things to spend time on, sometimes it annoys authors, it bumps questions, sometimes the agreed-upon style is imperfect (or wrong), and even if you don't hit any issues, it's still not a big win.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 22:12
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    @Jefromi The intent of the question was not to "enforce" a style. It was merely to suggest one to those that want to follow. That was made very clear in the question. See "I'd also like to stress that this meta post is not intended to force everyone to use the same style. If authors want to deviate, let them."
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 22:16
  • @Rainbolt You said in the comments when I asked that you intended to actively edit new posts, which is basically how you enforce style. Did I misunderstand? In any case, I have the same sentiment about trying to suggest a best style even without editing: it's unlikely to be always right and there are better things for people to worry about.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 22:19
  • @Rainbolt I don't think you can really have it both ways: if you default to editing people's posts until they ask you not to, you're not really letting people deviate.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 22:20
  • @Rainbolt I asked if you were suggesting actively editing new posts, and you said yes. It certainly sounded like you were suggesting that people in general should do that, not just that you personally would. But even if it's just you, it's relevant, because it makes it clear that answers which propose a style should also say not to edit others' posts to apply that style.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 22:29

I think this is something that should be suggested, but not strictly enforced. It can help people that need the guidance.

The right place to put it is on the Tag Wiki for .

Turns out it is already there, in much the format specified above. The users of the tag are free to change it, if consensus can be reached.

The tag wiki hasn't seen a significant update in over two years, as this is our #1 tag, I'd appreciate it if the current users could eyeball it and ensure that everything is current and correct.

  • I'm going over it now, and I stumbled across "however you are encouraged to keep rule quotes as concise as possible as the rule text may be updated over time by Wizards of the Coast, but the section number is less likely to change." Can anyone back the bold part up? And by back it up, I mean back it up in the tag wiki. Responding to this comment won't help future tag wiki readers/editors.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:18
  • I submitted an edit without touching the bit mentioned above, which may be more controversial. If it can't be backed up, it needs to be removed.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 14:31
  • It's worth noting that the tag wiki doesn't really prescribe a format. It does suggest using block quotes (I think, it's a little confusing, the second example is a block quote of an answer, not a block quote as would be in an answer) but beyond that, the contents of the block quote are simply what's being quoted from the rules. So it's basically just saying "use block quotes for long quotes", which is a good idea regardless of what you're quoting.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 20:46

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