W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > September 2009

Re: Change back the semantics of <cite>

From: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 01:16:32 +0100
To: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20090911001632.GB5051@stripey.com>
Leif Halvard Silli writes:

> Smylers On 09-09-11 00.16:
> 
> > Leif Halvard Silli writes:
> > 
> > >  <dialog> <dt> <cite> Leif</cite> , HTMLwg member
> > >                 <dd> I propose <dl dialog> instead
> > > </dialog> 
> > 
> > Having an element for marking up the titles of works is useful because
> > they are usual formatted distinctly (typically italicized) in text, to
> > convey to readers that the title is not 'normal' text.  Conveying that
> > requires _some_ element.
> >
> > Whereas people, even when sources, do not typically have their names
> > distinguished.  So using a <cite> for both prevents it from being able
> > to convey anything useful
> 
> OK -  I see that you have a valid concern w.r.t use of <cite> outside 
> dialog list containers.

[Sorry, I sent my previous mail in this thread before seeing this
further reply.]

> But you are entirely wrong when you say that having <cite> for both 
> "person sources" and "work sources" would prevent it from being able to 
> convey any useful.
> 
> Ever heard about the class attribute?

Yes.  But HTML5 cannot define the meaning of <cite> dependent on class,
which is something the author can set to any value at all.

A title of a work needs distinguishing in some way to a user (for
example by using italics, or underlining it, or putting quote marks
round it, or leaving a small pause before speaking it); a person's name
doesn't.  A user-agent therefore needs to be able to distinguish the
two, without using CSS (since CSS is optional, purely for styling, and
shouldn't affect the meaning of a document).

> Or perhaps <cite> needs the role attribute?

We could add <cite role=name> and define it as a name which doesn't need
highlighting to users.  But that would be cramming two meanings into one
element, and would be displayed in italics (or whatever) in existing
browsers.  If we're going to invent something for this situation why not
<name> or <person>, so the two meanings are entirely distinct?

> Isn't <code> any useful since it can be used for all kinds of code?

All kinds of code are typically presented in the same way -- for
example, a typewritery font.  So <code> usefully, and correctly, conveys
generally codeyness to users, for all kinds of code; it isn't precise,
but nor is it misleading.

Whereas you're proposing <cite> to have two distinct purposes.

Smylers
Received on Friday, 11 September 2009 00:17:10 UTC

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