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Topic: Question marks...

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Subject: Question marks...
Date Posted: 7/2/2017 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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Haven't been on here in AGES! 

Found a post by Jane G. in another forum that asks something I have long wondered about as well.  Jane wrote:

 I've clicked on quite a lot of book descriptions today and I've noticed SO MANY question marks tossed thoughout the sentences in the synopses like confetti. Is there a real reason for these? (Questioin mark legit, here, lol). Seriously, though. They are not in the right place.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find  the answer to this.  It is pretty annoying, as we sure wouldn't put up with that when reading a book!  One person thought it was a substiture for quotation marks, commas, etc.  But they didn't appear on my profile until after I'd been a member for quite some time...  Does ANY one know why this is happening, and why they don't edit or clear them out?   Thanks in advance!  gardngal

Date Posted: 7/2/2017 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,334
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If the "?" were substituted for comas, quotation marks, apostrophes, etc., during a software glitch, or the upgrade, then they can't go through and replace it with the correct marks. Why? Because the software isn't 'intelligent' enough to know what to put in place of the "?".

Check out your signature under settings and edit them out yourself. You'll find that every mesage you ever posted will be corrected. I often go into book descriptions and change the "?" to what they should be.


Date Posted: 7/2/2017 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/30/2007
Posts: 9,795
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If I remember correctly when this happened pre 2015 it was the result of an update and where (when typing) you hit the space bar or enter key. You should be able to remove them from your profile and siggy line by editing them. No clue why they didn't all disappear when the site settled down. 

ETA: Yes, what Thomas said!

Last Edited on: 7/2/17 9:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2017 4:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2007
Posts: 961
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Check out your signature under settings and edit them out yourself. You'll find that every mesage you ever posted will be corrected. I often go into book descriptions and change the "?" to what they should be.

Thanks Thomas - I went to my "Settings" and did just that - edited out those pesky QM's! 
My "Signature" looks nice and clean now - 


Last Edited on: 7/3/17 7:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/3/2017 6:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,342
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This has been an issue for years, actually. When a character is imported into a description (or pasted into a description) that isn't part of the character set that's "known" by the software, as soon as the listing goes through any kind of an update, the unknown character will be replaced by a question mark or other odd characters. When doing an edit on a listing, if you are pasting a description into the description box, check it for these trouble-makers that will turn into "hieroglyphs" later. (Anything you actually type in with your keyboard will work.) Characters that cause problems in many listings are:

  • em dashes: these are the one character long dashes, about the same length as a capital M. If you're editing the listing, the em dash should be removed, and replaced with "space hyphen hyphen space" ( -- )
  • the one character elipsis: these are three dots, but the dots aren't typed separately. Instead, they're a single character. (You can't click in between the dots.) This should be replaced by "dot dot dot space" in most cases. (... )
  • curly quotes: (also known as "smart quotes". these are the quotation marks that curve one way at the beginning of a quote, and the other way at the end of a quote. They should be removed and replaced with straight quotes. (In a title, if a quotation mark is needed, use a single quote, or apostrophe. Regular quotes cause part of the title to disappear.)
  • curly apostrophes: These apostrophes that curve should be replaced with straight apostrophes
  • accented letters: If you type in the accented letter yourself in the description box, it should work. If you've copied it from a source and paste it in, it may cause problems. When I'm working on an edit, I always go through the description, and delete any accented letters, then re-type them in myself, just to be safe.  Oh, and accented letters should never be used in the author box -- they mess other stuff up.

Those are the main ones. The trademark symbol will cause problems, but you don't run into it very often. Oh, and there's one kind of ampersand that doesn't work. The one that does work looks like this: &

If you're seeing gibberish on more listings than before, it may be because listings that had never been updated were recently run through an update, and the characters were transformed into gibberish.

Date Posted: 7/3/2017 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,480
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I will just add that accented letters in the title can also cause problems because they aren't part of our American keyboards - so when members are searching, they aren't going to the character map to find an accented letter -(would you even think of it?)- so it can impact your search.  Yes, I encourage typing in the accented letters in the description field, but please, not in the title field, and as Patty mentioned, not in the author field.  And yes, please, if you feel inclined, do send edits to correct those weird characters where ever they appear in the listings! 

Fixing your profile/siggie line is a GOOD thing - it's like hosing the dog hair and footprints off the patio!


Last Edited on: 7/3/17 10:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1