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Re: Proposing <indent> vs. <blockquote>

From: Mike Schinkel <w3c-lists@mikeschinkel.com>
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 01:45:45 -0400
Message-ID: <46206A89.8010101@mikeschinkel.com>
To: public-html@w3.org

Bruce Boughton wrote:
> Perhaps you are right.  However, I think these people are unlikely to 
> take the time to notice that HTML5 adds an indent element.  Of course, 
> this is a blanket statement, but I think on the whole it will be the 
> case.
Well, I disagree. And since neither of us have relevant statistics, we 
should not use this as a reason for or against the proposal.
> Indeed! I did not mean to suggest that they are lazy or ignorant in 
> all walks of life; only with respect to web standards.
But the point is, many of those people who are ignorant of complex web 
standards deserve to be able to publish content, and for the good of the 
web be able to publish it as reasonably close to "properly" as 
possible.  And by "deserve", I really mean both that they deserve to 
have their voices heard, and the rest of the world deserves to hear 
their voices.  The higher the levels of complexity we require for 
publishing, the more voices we will stifle. On the flip side when we 
don't stifle voices via complexity we make the content they produce 
difficult to be semantically processed by robots.
>> I think this is "the elitist" vs. "for everyman" argument.  I believe 
>> HTML should be very approachable by as many people as possible; 
>> others (like you?) want it to be usable able by the learned.  
> No I don't.  However, I think we should try to keep HTML as 
> deterministic as possible.  Wherever possible there should be a right 
> way to do something, rather than 3 or 4 alternatives.  I think this 
> makes the language easier for newcomers.  Syntactic sugar such as 
> <indent> only serves to offset the stumbling block (CSS) till a 
> slightly later time, IMHO, though clearly you disagree.
Oooh. You have hit one of my *major* hot-buttons; those who argue 
against useful extensions that simplify common use-cases by calling them 
"syntactic sugar" [1].  Frankly I believe that position is very elitist 
and very non-pragmatic. (Please realize I'm not attacking you, just your 
position on the subject. :-)

I believe your positioning here is "People should learn CSS" regardless 
of the fact that many people won't and thus will misuse blockquote.  I 
believe that is akin to saying "People should abstain from sex so we 
won't distribute condoms in Africa because that will empower them to 
have sex" ignoring the fact people *will* have sex and hence spread AIDS.
> You are probably correct, but I would qualify that as "the number of 
> people coding non-compliant HTML".. they are not going to notice a new 
> indent element in HTML5 anyway.  
As I said, my opinion differs completely. And until we have valid 
statistics, we should refrain from using our opinions on this matter as 
justification.
> They may be using a WYSIWYG tool, in which case the tool can enforce 
> indentation via CSS.
May be, but often will not be.  Another hot button of mine is those who 
say "Tools will solve the complexity problem."  If that were the case 
we'd long ago have stopped using text.  But we haven't, but raw text is 
far more flexible than any tool yet developed for manipulating text.

And please remember that WYSIWYG tools need to be implemented by 
somebody, and <indent> would reduce complexity for the implement too.
> I think if you take this argument to its logical conclusion, you will 
> end up arguing for <b> and <i>.  
Actually, I do.
> If that is so, then this segment of authors should be content with 
> HTML4 and below.  
I don't follow your logic.
> HTML5 will introduce new semantic elements (ala XHTML2) and I don't 
> think this is the right time to pander to poor (w.r.t standards) 
> authoring.
"Pander to poor authoring?"   Are you going to continue to argue that 
you are not being elitist?  Seriously, HTML should be for everyman, not 
just the learned.

-- 
-Mike Schinkel
http://www.mikeschinkel.com/blogs/
http://www.welldesignedurls.org
http://atlanta-web.org - http://t.oolicio.us

[1] http://www.google.com/search?q=syntactic+sugar+schinkel
Received on Saturday, 14 April 2007 05:46:09 GMT

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