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Re: [whatwg] Feeedback on <dfn>, <abbr>, and other elements related to cross-references

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 04:54:51 +0200
Message-ID: <480FF67B.2050803@malform.no>
To: public-html@w3.org
CC: contact@nickshanks.com, whatwg List <whatwg@whatwg.org>, Smylers@stripey.com, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML4All <list@html4all.org>

Note about process:

It is about time the HTMLWg start keeping just one INBOX. The Chairs 
could lead the way by unsubscribing from the WHATwg list.

Background: It is very demotivating and time wasting when the editor 
announces decissions about dropping mayor new inventions of HTML 5 
(automatic cross-referencing) on another list (WHATwg), and discusses it 
there **for 3 days** [1] before bringing it to the attention of the HTML 
working group listees [2]. 

It surprises me that the W3 voluntarelly allows itself and its working 
group members to be insulted in that way, which happens over and over. 
Any host (W3) must demand a minimum of order in its house. Or else it 
will start to loose respect, selfrespect and loyalty.


The rest of this letter is about the cross-references.


Smylers 24-04-08 00:37:     
> Nicholas Shanks writes:
> > 2008/4/23 Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>:
>   
> > > On Mon, 21 Apr 2008, Nicholas Shanks wrote:
> > > >
> > > > We need to go through this more methodically before making a decision. I
> > > > hope the following aids matters.
> > >
> > > More methodically than
> > >
> > >   http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2008-April/014470.html
> > >
> > > ...? I'm not sure exactly what you have in mind! :-)
>   

Is that the really the best you can think of?

> > What I meant was you were just addressing people's points as they came
> > up.
>
> That is very methodical; it ensures that every point brought up gets
> considered.
>
> > If we want to do this properly we need to ensure we have covered every
> > aspect from the beginning.
>   
snip
> > Set up a focus group or something :)
>
> What could a focus group say [snip]
>   

Very good suggestions,  Nicholas.

> > > > Situations where expansions of abbreviations are needed: It should
> > > > not be required that the user screw around looking for the acronym
> > > > with a dotted underline.
> > >
> > > Abbreviations are no more special here than any term of art.
>   

The automatatic cross-referencing feature does/did not only cover ABBR, 
so that point is moot.

By disabling the cross-referencing feature, HTML 5 suddenly became a 
whole lot more boring.

What is the motivation for marking up anything correctly as SAMP, VAR, 
ABBR, I etc, with the different semantics assessed, if, in the end, I 
can just instead use a single <a href=>:

>     An a element that links to a dfn element represents an instance of
>     the term defined by the dfn element.

This ultimately means that one can skip using those elements.

> > > It's quite obvious that the "BAR" in "RAISE THE BAR" is not an
> > > acronym.
> > 
> > Only if you know English. ('you' being the User Agent who has to
> > decide how to expand/pronounce it).

Great point. As Henri has said [3]: One cannot expect the UA to be able 
to include for instance warning text etc in more than one langauge - 
namely that of the user interface.

> > It is not reasonable to expect
> > UAs, other than perhaps TTS engines, to correctly identify this.
>
> Why would a user-agent that isn't speaking need to correctly identify
> it?
>   

In order to help its user.

> > And to the person who suggested it be written in lowercase, I
> > explicitly said it was a newspaper headline.
>
> That was me.  Sorry, I interpreted that to mean a headline on a
> newspaper's website; I hadn't realized you meant transcribing from a
> printed newspaper.
>   

Transcribing or not is entirely off the point.

> > You should not change the case of printed material when transferring
> > it to electronic form, reproductions should be faithful to the
> > original, and use uppercase characters rather than style
> > transformations (since they might not get applied).
>   

And not only that: It might be common in English to write UN as U.N. in 
some situation - I don't know - but that would be an entirely English 
tradition. Not applicable outside the English lanaguage sphere.

> On that basis one could argue for not transcribing it at all,  [... etc ...]
>   

LaTeX and TeX is not the correct way of writing those words. But the 
alternative to writing them correct, is not to not write them. THere are 
conventions. Again, if U.N. is the right English way of doing it, then 
please do.


[1] 
http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2008-April/014470.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Apr/0707.html
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Apr/0723.html
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 24 April 2008 02:56:08 GMT

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