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Re: Wiki summary of q element default styling issues

From: Florian Rivoal <florian@rivoal.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2016 11:03:53 +0900
Cc: John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, ishida@w3.org, www International <www-international@w3.org>, W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <9A94FAF4-BC11-47A8-B83C-D4D567DF1ECE@rivoal.net>
To: "Asmus Freytag (c)" <asmusf@ix.netcom.com>

> On Apr 26, 2016, at 00:53, Asmus Freytag (c) <asmusf@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> 
> I think John sums it up nicely.
> 
> You have a feature that
> 
> a) provides content, but (by default) not style
> b) can't be controlled with CSS
> c) doesn't (can't) do what people expect
> 
> The existing default "works" to some degree in monolingual environments, where there's limited nesting, but it is not robust.
> 
> In multilingual environments, or with deep nesting, it's difficult to impossible to specify with CSS what should happen, because the most common scenarios is to base the choice of quotation marks on the surrounding language, not the language of the mark itself. And, more precisely, on the outermost language (that of whatever unquoted text surrounds the outermost quote).

I think I've shown that this can be written in CSS.

 :lang(en) > *:not(q *) { quotes: "“" "”" "‘" "’" }
 :lang(fr-CA) > *:not(q *) { quotes: "« " " »" "‹ " " ›" }

And if we want to be a little bit more specific for some languages for which this default would be too simple, there's nothing stopping us. I maintain that the following is true:

1) For most contexts, the quotation style is dictated by the language outside the quotation

2) For most surrounding languages, the language(s) inside the quotation(s) are not taken into account when deciding on the quotation style.

3) Nesting quotations beyond 2 levels is exceedingly rare, and regardless of the mechanism used, authors who do use it should be advised to consider how they want to present it to the reader.

To me, this means that we can provide a default that follows this pattern:
 :lang(en) > *:not(q *) { quotes: "“" "”" "‘" "’" }
For some languages it may be a bit different, but in general it is still doable, and even if the patterns we provide "break down" when you have 5 levels of nested quotations in 3 different languages, that is a non issue, because such cases are extremely rare, and essentially do not occur in texts where the author is not aware of the nesting and intends a particular style to be used. When such cases occur, the author is likely to want to provide their own styles. And even if the default is used, the result will be understandable. Maybe not ideal, but understandable.

> The use of quotation marks is not only language dependent, but some languages allow alternate styles of quotation mark usage (or alternate styles are used in common practice). Some material uses alternate styles of quoting for effect, including some use of "foreign" marks to make a quote look foreign.

The fact that some languages or some situations call for a different style does not negate the need for a default, since it can be overridden.

> Some quotations are indicated with leading marks (dash) only. For example in rendering dialog.

Yes, and again, we are not discussing the one true quoting style that works everywhere, but the default one to use when other information is not present.

Nested q elements with language tagging give us enough information to provide a sane and generally useful (not prefect and universal) default, and together with the surrounding markup for context, it gives authors everything they need too hookup selectors that do exactly what they want for their given context 

 - Florian
Received on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 02:04:20 UTC

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