Talk:John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

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I, as well as others, have used bolding to emphasize passages or entire quotations that we find to be especially significant or notable. I do seek to continue to encourage the use of this form of presentation, as I think it can be very useful in drawing the eye to major passages and statements, especially on pages with a great deal of material. It may not be perceived as necessary but I (and, I believe, others as well) do find it appropriate, and useful. (I personally rather dislike the blandness of many pages that have no bolding or other use of typography to draw the attention of the eye to at least some of the more significant statements.)

As I noted in my original comment on this issue last year, I am aware that this could be excessively employed, but the only guideline that I have thus far suggested is that passages that are innately derogatory should not be so emphasized. Even this, though I consider it a good practical guideline, I have not and do not seek to make an absolute rule.

I think bolding is generally preferable to italics for such purposes on electronic pages, because it is more noticeable, and italics have often been used in the original documents or statements— bolding is thus more obviously an editorial addition within Wikiquote. On the rarer occasions where bolding or capitalization is used in the original for emphasis these can be retained or omitted as seems appropriate.

Anyone well acquainted with me would perceive that I am a person who recognizes a need for establishing some useful and convenient rules and guidelines for many procedures, but who strongly prefers that in nearly all endeavors there be a minimum of rules improperly imposed as if they were absolutes, and an avoidance of any rules or actions based upon casual presumptions or unwarranted suppositions. I know that others do, and expect that others will disagree with me on many issues, but hope that relatively minor disputes, or even major ones, will not be seen as indications or causes of enmity. ~ Kalki 00:59, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Kalki, I have to say I disagree. In fact, I find this practice of yours quite annoying. Picking out and highlighting certain quotations, or even a certain phrase within a quotation, is un-encyclopedic. It's only your take on the quotation or the author. Wikiquote is supposed to be a general resource, not your personal chapbook. When I go to a book (or whatever) of quotations, I'll decide for myself what's important or useful. --Michael K. Smith 06:05, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

As you certainly must be aware, as a user here since 2003, this isn't an encyclopedia. It is a collection of quotes. The most fundamental and least controversial utility of bolding is in the emphasis of more famous passages within larger passages that are retained for context, but I have always asserted it should also remain an option for the editors of the pages to emphasize passages they think notable, as well as to select them, and any major disputes that might arise over what should or should not be emphasized resolved by those at work on specific pages, just as what text should or should not be included is. I have always been appalled at any attempts to try establish an imposition of absolute uniformity in the formating of the quotes. I've always thought Ray Bradbury's statement about writing and editing was also quite apt in reference to the practice of quoting, and the art of presenting quotations: "Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme." ~ Kalki 06:35, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Support. Kalki I agree with your general principles (bolding online, minimum of rules) as well as your specific use of them here. Most text would benefit with some visual structure. I found the context of the quotes very helpful, more like you were non-bolding the lesser-known words surrounding the famous phrases, than you were bolding the famous phrases.Bob Stein - VisiBone 04:13, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

The quotes that are critical of religion are in bold. Typical Wikipedia. 17:56, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Where's the Power and Corruption?[edit]

I wanted to link more directly to Acton's uber-famous (IMO) quote, on power and corruption. The closest I could get was this very coarse link Perhaps a more fleshed-out, finer-grained contents section would help? Bob Stein - VisiBone 04:13, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


The following quotes were placed in the section for The History of Freedom in Antiquity, but none may be found in this work. I've moved them here until they can be properly sourced.

  • It was from America that the plain ideas that men ought to mind their business, and that the nation is responsible to Heaven for the acts of the State — ideas long locked in the breast of solitary thinkers, and hidden among Latin folios— burst forth like a conqueror upon the world they were destined to transform, under the title of the Rights of Man … and the principle gained ground, that a nation can never abandon its fate to an authority it cannot control.
  • Truth is the only merit that gives dignity and worth to history.
  • Writers the most learned, the most accurate in details, and the soundest in tendency, frequently fall into a habit which can neither be cured nor pardoned — the habit of making history into the proof of their theories.