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Re: missing principle

From: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2007 12:53:07 +0100
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20070428115307.GE20468@stripey.com>

Mike Schinkel writes:

> Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> > 
> > On Sat, 28 Apr 2007 09:44:27 +0200, Mike Schinkel 
> > <w3c-lists@mikeschinkel.com> wrote:
> > 
> > > Smylers wrote:
> > > 
> > > > <small> isn't entirely presentational, in that it _can_ be used to
> > > > indicate 'small print' or something of lesser importance; sort-of an
> > > > opposite of <em> .
> > > 
> > > True, but the important point is that a UA can never be sure why
> > > the author used it so it can't be trusted as a semantic element.
> > 
> > That argument goes for *any* element.
> 
> Actually, it is not true for any element.  Some elements, such as <em> 
> are almost never used except when the user wants to emphasize.

I've seen:

* <h1> used just to make text bigger
* <abbr> used just to get a dotted underline and a tooltip
* <ul> used (directly, without any <li> elements in it) just to get an
  indented paragraph

All elements can be abused.  That isn't a reason for avoiding providing
the elements that have genuine purposes.

> <small> could be used to indicate "fine print" or it could be used to
> just because (like for copyright,

But I'd say that _is_ a valid use of <small>; it's saying that the legal
copyright message is of lessor interest to somebody reading the page
than the other content is.

> or for links meant to give search engines a pathway to other pages),

Not sure about that one -- since arguably such links shouldn't exist at
all, it's hard to say how they should be marked up!  But marking them
with an element that has the semantics of 'lower importance' seems a
plausible thing to do.

Smylers
Received on Saturday, 28 April 2007 11:53:21 UTC

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