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

Re: Cleaning House

From: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 13:09:06 -0400
Message-Id: <5.1.1.6.2.20070506124812.01e0ac80@mail.muzmo.com>
To: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>,Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>, Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>,www-html@w3.org,public-html@w3.org

At 01:32 PM 5/6/2007 +0200, Tina Holmboe wrote:
>On Sun, May 06, 2007 at 04:10:00AM -0700, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>
> > >  That wasn't the topic. Ideally we would use the <shipname> element,
> > >  of course, but that doesn't exist in HTML - and no-one has ever
> > >  said that HTML ought contain elements for all conceivable
> > >  semantic constructs.
> >
> > Agreed, but if there's no way to express the concept of a ship name
> > in a way that, according to you, is semantically meaningful, then I
> > don't think you can blame others for doing it in a way that isn't.
>
>   Oh, there /are/ ways of doing it - but not in HTML. It isn't, and
>   never was, that specific. But I'm not blaming people for using
>   SPAN to mark up things that need specific styling.

There are ways. You are clearly not familiar with HTML profiles or
Microformats.

>   I /do/ blame the WG if it starts redefining previously
>   presentational markup because it believe people actually use
>   the I-element consciously for "emphasis".
>
>   They don't. It is, by the material today existing on the web,
>   not possible to infer that "<i> means emphasis"
 From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emphasis
         to accent the appearance, to underline, to put in bold,
         make something more significant or important.

Can you now see that italics are a form of emphasis?

>   Only that, as mentioned, the ship's name should not always be
>   written as italics - and hence a 'neutral' element would be
>   a better choice.

A foreign phrase should not always be italic either. But most commonly it is.
That is why I would prefer <i> over <span>. But that's me. I am just
a technical writer with 30+ years of experience who happens to knows that
<* CLASS="ship"> means a "ship name" in my documents, which is
described in my profile and maps to an italic typeface via CSS. I prefer to
use <i CLASS="ship"> because it takes less typing and will fall back in
non-CSS browsers.

>   But more importantly: an element which has in the past been
>   defined as, used for, and incorporated into editors as
>   purely presentational should not be redefined as
>   semantic.

All elements are capable of carrying additional semantics through their 
attributes.
Almost all HTML elements have limited semantics -- that is, the semantics of
documents and forms. We can never hope to create an HTML element for
every conceivable "semantic phrase" so it is time to get over yourselves.

> > >  The original point, however, remain unchanged even if we
> > >  move from the poorly chosen class name "ship" to the more
> > >  precise "shipName". The I-ement convey no more semantics
> > >  than does SPAN.

Do you really think that you advanced this discussion by criticizing my choice
of the token "ship" rather than "shipName"? I might just as well have chosen
the token "zzyz", so long as my profile says that the content is to be taken
as the name of a ship and its presentation should be italic if available.
That much information in my document and profile would be sufficient
for a GRDDL transform to yield an RDF triple whose subject is the name
of a ship, whose object is "ship" or "shipName" or "zzyyz" and whose
predicate is "is a"

> > It does likely convey that the usage is one of the typical
> > typographical usages of italics. Wikipedia lists ten of them at
> > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italic_type>. Two of these ten are
> > better covered by <em> or <var>.
>
>   Now, I don't typically accept references to Wikipedia as I
>   don't support the consensus theory of truth, but I find it
>   interesting to note the following:
>
>    "In HTML, the i element is used to produce italic (or
>     oblique) text. When the author wants to indicate emphasized
>     text, the em element, often rendered in italics, should
>     be used instead because it is more meaningful to user
>     agents that cannot display italics."
>
>   Despite the flaw in the sentence after it, it seems they've
>   got /something/ right.

You keep saying that <em> is more meaningful, yet you have not been able
to explain what that additional meaning is. Pray tell, what more does <em>
tell me or anyone?
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 17:20:44 UTC

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