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Re: <q> and commas

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 15:57:10 -0500
Cc: "'Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)'" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>, "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <D4066E69-282C-47BF-B7E3-BAACDC7A009C@robburns.com>
To: "Justin James" <j_james@mindspring.com>

Hi Justin,

On Oct 29, 2008, at 3:19 PM, Justin James wrote:

> Robert -
>
> I wish this was the case. Instead, the proposals that I am seeing  
> floated
> here, involve the following ideas:
>
> * Automatic determination of which quotation mark to used, based  
> upon the
> level of nesting of <q>
>
> * Automatic determination of whether or not to display the quote  
> marks when
> <q> is present, based upon whether or not the HTML author has put  
> quotes
> near the <q> tag
>
> As a result, authoring tools do actually need to be rather smart, in  
> order
> to determine what to do when the user types a quotation mark  
> character and
> then selects text and hits the "Q" button (or whatever they would do  
> to turn
> a selection into a quote).

No, the authoring tools do not need to do that at all. If an author  
types a quotation mark the authoring tool can simply leave it alone.  
If the author selects some phase and selects a q element command, the  
UA would wrap that phrase in the Q element. The rendering of this  
would not be handled automatically or intelligently or magically. The  
rendering would be handled by applying the CSS style rules to the  
newly created Q element. Again, no magic and no heuristic intelligence  
required. It has nothing to do with the MS Word features we all hate.

> Overall, I stand by my statement that this proposal is "fraught with
> danger". It requires a relatively complex amount of logic, with  
> relatively
> little returns, especially when you consider the benefit from this  
> logic...
> allowing people to not type quotation marks, or to update the  
> quotation
> marks if they change the nesting levels.

Except you're talking about a proposal no one else is discussing.  
Instead what I hear being discussed is:

1) continued use by authors of the q element
2) continuing in the HTML4 tradition of recommending quotation marks  
wrapped around the q element (perhaps also requiring some  
distinguishing presentation even if its not specifically through  
quotation marks).
3) providing a sample HTML stylesheet that includes some :before  
and :after selectors CSS generated content properties to include  
quotations marks where appropriate
4) recommending the CSS WG adds support for some missing  
presentational conventions such as:
      a) kerning quotations over or even inside trailing punctuation
      b) determining context language (e.g., document language) to  
apply appropriate language specific quotation styling (this is mostly  
for default UA stylesheet since authors and users will likely only add  
specific quotation marks desired as an author or user)
      c) though not yet discussed in the current thread, I've said  
before that CSS should provide some mechanism to distinguish quotation  
presentation according to the number of words or characters within the  
quotation element (since this too reflects a common presentational  
idiom for quotations)
5) adding an attribute (such as marks='provided' marks='needed) to  
allow authors to select the authoring convention they prefer
6) perhaps intelligently (only here are we talking about applying some  
heuristics) omitting duplicate quotation marks when included as  
generated content from CSS and included at the border of the q element  
(either inside the element or immediately outside the element)
     Note: this may also be important for aural browsers where the  
user's stylesheet already distinguishes a quotation by voice (for  
example) so that hearing the utterance of "quote" and "unquote" is  
redundantly annoying for the user

The last item should is the only one involving heuristics and they're  
actually some fairly simple heuristics. By clearly specifying an  
algorithm to follow to determine which quotations are duplicate, we  
would provide a way for authors using the Q element already to  
continue to work in legacy IE and all other browsers (which I imagine  
was much of Chris' motivation in initiating this thread).

Take care,
Rob
Received on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 20:57:49 GMT

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