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Re: less than normal importance/emphasis (was: several messages about <i> and many related subjects)

From: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.net>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 11:20:25 +0200
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Cc: www-html@w3.org, 'HTML WG Public List' <public-html@w3.org>, WHAT working group <whatwg@whatwg.org>
Message-ID: <20080415092025.GM20415@greytower.net>

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 12:07:53PM +0300, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

> > It has /no/ other meaning, and since the past usage
> >   is inconsistent, to say the least, we cannot give it any meaning.
> 
> We know that <small> often, and probably most often, expresses 
> de-emphasis of some kind. But it would still be inappropriate to 
> redefine it with such semantics.

  Actually, I'd have to disagree. The majority of legacy documents I have
  had the misfortune to read use <small> to signify small text, next
  to <font>, for no other apparent reason than to get a smaller font
  somewhere.


> Existing documents may also use <small> to make, say, text smaller in a 
> context where saving space is crucial. Let's not frown up such usage too 
> much. Most importantly, let's not pretend it doesn't exist.

  Indeed: let's simply accept that <small> is used to make text smaller,
  visually. It isn't, in any consistent manner, used for anything else.


> >   We /must/ stop thinking that the B-, I-, SMALL- or BIG-elements can
> >   be given /any/ meaning. It's not a productive way forward; only
> >   another step back.
> 
> They have the meaning of expressing features of physical presentation. 
> This is a true meaning, even if not very exact (how bold? really 

  True. But not really something we should worry about for future
  languages, where it would be far better to have a <japanesename>
  tag than a <underlined> tag, even if both have meaning on some level
  or other.

  If we wish to reproduce, as you mention, a work in which we can't
  really decide what the best /structural/ element sould be, then CSS
  comes to the rescue. Such reproduction is only important in a
  visual - ie. graphical - environment, since italics cannot be
  represented in either speech or "plain" text.        

  Well. Unless we want the speech browser to actually read "This phrase
  was originally written in italics", but that is something it could
  derive from the stylesheet. 

  The bottom line, still, is that we should not add /different/ meaning
  to legacy elements which have inconsistent, and primarily visual,
  usage.

-- 
 -  Tina Holmboe      Developer's Archive           Greytower Technologies
                   http://www.dev-archive.net      http://www.greytower.net    
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 09:20:58 GMT

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