W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > May 2007

RE: Cleaning House

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2007 10:50:51 -0700
To: "'Lachlan Hunt'" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003801c78dab$9bbd58b0$6501a8c0@bosshog>
Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>
> Could you cite some *specific* use cases for which authors would
> typically use <b> and/or <i> due to typographical conventions, that
> would actually benefit in some way from the addition of a specific
> semantic element?  In other words, answer these questions:
>
> * What's the semantics you're trying to represent?

Exactly.  What is the point of using a visual indicator, if there is no
reason? (There, I just made the word "reason" purple in this HTML rich
exchange - you tell me why; why is the phrase"visual indicator" both red and
italicized? Why is "What is the point" underlined?*) 
 
If there is a reason that the author is marking up a word or phrase to make
it "different", what is the reason?  If there are not enough semantic
indicators in the current or future spec, then address that.  Don't just
toss out a visual marker and then say ".. figure it out on your own".  It's
a cop-out... what next, ratify smileys and other emoticons... [at least they
share some commonly held and understood conventions :-) ]

> * Whats the use case for the semantics? (Why would authors use it?)
 
You're kidding right?  Refer back to statement one - if you underline or
bold text, you've done so for a reason.  We're asking the same question: I'm
saying that the means to identify the semantic use is also required, whilst
others say "give them the ability to <u>underline</u> it and leave it at
that, let the reader figure it out".

> * What problems would a new feature solve?
 
How about this whole debate and question.  What problems does "blessing"
<i>, <b>, etc. solve?  And what problems does it create?  Which is more
serious? (and there's the big gotcha!)  
 
Do I have to quote George Orwell? (All animals are equal, some are just more
equal than others?)
 

> * Why are <b> and/or <i> unsuitable for the use case/problem?
 
Because their meanings don't exist... they are visual nuances that are not
being conveyed to non-visual users, or users with lower cognitive capacity,
which can range through the common scenarios: physical incapacity to
non-native language issues.
 

> * What benefit is there for users?
> * What benefit is there for authors?
> * What benefit is there for implementers?
 
Getting it right.  Being clear.  Being understood.  Conveying knowledge and
understanding in all it's facets.  Communicating...
 
* Answers:
What is the point - reiterate question, as I am re-posing your very same
question
visual indicator - emphasis, as it is but one type of indicator
reason - no reason at all, just messing with you (actually, I could have
also <u>underlined it</u> for no reason as well, but why?)
 
 
This on-going discussion has emerged in a number of threads over the past
week to ten days.  I (and I'm sure others as well) are getting the very
distinct feeling that "accessibility" is being shoved to the back of the
bus... ya, ya, ya, we all believe in it, it's the good thing, it's the right
thing, it's all that and more... but ya know, how do we make a WYSIWYG
editor to convey that kind of information?  We want something for the
uneducated masses...
 
Are we really talking about HTML5, a better HTML than before?  I kinda feels
to this observer that it's more like HTML 4.7 (I just numbered it that in
honor of Netscape 4.7, 'cause we all remember how great that was...)  If you
really want to just add to what we already have, and maybe move some of the
deckchairs around, then please don't pretend it's something new - it isn't.

 
If, on the other hand, you want something that is a real evolution from
where we sit today, then for all that is sacred, be prepared to walk away
from stuff that doesn't work properly, and visual only markers such as <i>
and <b> are certainly 2 of them, at least from the accessorily perspective.
 
Sitting on the sidelines becoming increasingly frustrated...
 
JF
Received on Thursday, 3 May 2007 17:51:14 UTC

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