Currently, quoted text (paragraphs starting with
> in Markdown) is displayed with a wider margin and a very visible yellowish background in the main site. This has led some users to think that it is a form of emphasis and that it can be used as a way to emphasize a full paragraph.
In my opinion, the root cause of this misunderstanding is the color scheme. I would suggest to change the CSS for blockquotes to something less flashy; for instance, the scheme currently used on Meta (black text on grey background) looks fine to me.
This misuse happens regularly on other SE sites as well AFAIK (tex.se most notably), but I am posting it here rather than on meta.stackexchange because in my view it is a CSS issue and CSS are site-specific.