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Re: Brainstorming - abbreviations

From: Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 17:15:35 -0600 (CST)
Message-ID: <52309.66.151.50.244.1174000535.squirrel@www.robertdot.org>
To: <asbjorn@ulsberg.no>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>

Asbjørn Ulsberg wrote:
> Then, whether it's an acronym or an
> abbreviation, doesn't really   matter.

We have, e.g., <em> and <strong> and the differences between the two seem
less clear than the difference between <acronym> and <abbr>.  That is,
there is a clear time to use an acronym and an abbr according to a
particular definition, while the line between emphasis and strong is very
fuzzy.  While an acronym may be a type of abbreviation, an abbreviation is
not a type of acronym.  It might not matter practically, but it does
matter semantically (or grammatically if not semantically).

> I don't find the difference between abbreviations and acronym important
>  enough to maintain it in a technical standard as HTML. Thus, I suggest
>  both be replaced with a single element:
>
>    <short>

That's a fine idea.  Basically, what you've done is thrown out both
specific meanings in favor of an equally easy to type element.  You've
made it very generic, and not used a term that is already tied to a
specific grammatical idea.  Both are "short versions of longer terms."  If
this change were made, I'd have little to argue about.  I could accept the
"short" tag.

> When having both causes definition problems, I'd say it's a problem.

It's only a problem if the author doesn't know the definition of the term.
 Ignorance is the problem, not the two elements.  But, as I said before,
it's difficult to find clear, non-conflicting definitions.  So, I
shouldn't expect much.  A "short" element is much less irritating to
figure out proper usage.

-- 
Robert <http://robertdot.org>
Received on Thursday, 15 March 2007 23:02:32 GMT

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