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Re: what is dt?

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 10:09:45 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0909180809k170a1d30s9189e3dc6fe712a0@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Smylers@stripey.com, public-html@w3.org
On Fri, Sep 18, 2009 at 9:59 AM, Leif Halvard Silli
<xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> wrote:
> Tab Atkins Jr. On 09-09-18 16.06:
>>  Ian just chose a path
>> that seemed the most reasonable out of all of those (and I agree that
>> it's pretty reasonable and will probably change my chat room to
>> generate markup along those lines).
>
> The draft currently says:
>
> "The dl element is inappropriate for marking up dialogue. Examples of how to
> mark up dialogue are shown below."
>
> I will not respect that viewpoint - in fact, I'll probably file a bug about
> it. Not least because there were no compelling arguments in this debate that
> showed any fundamental problems with using <dl>. I think I provided several
> arguments to the contrary.
>
> If anything, the draft should show how one /can/ mark up dialog with <dl>.

That's fine; go ahead and file a bug on that.  It seems reasonable, as
dialog certainly *can* be marked up in a <dl>.

>> Please don't mistake mailing list heat for internet-wide rejection.  A
>> lot of us around here *like* arguing, and we did so well enough to
>> convince the editor that his idea wasn't worth the effort.
>
> So what /was/ the compelling argument then?
>
> I tried to separate two issues:
>
> a) <dialog> was OK, but the limitations on how <dt> and <dd> should be used
> compared to <dl> was not beneficial.
> b) simply using <dl> could be good enough - with the option for using a role
> attribute to separate semantics.

Semantics weren't the issue.  The problem was that it was very
difficult to represent real-world examples of dialogs in an obvious
way without twisting things around or minting new elements.  One
example that was brought up consistently was irc messages, which
generally have at least *three* pieces (time, name, message).  Another
was stage directions, which have only one.

You could potentially make <dialog> handle the irc situation by
defining special patterns (like
<dialog><dt><time>8am</time></dt><dt><cite>TabAtkins</cite></dt><dd>My
message!</dd></dialog>), but that doesn't help with other things, and
still feels a bit awkward.

> Instead, something else happened. Away with <dialog> and away with <dl> as
> dialog container.

The main problem with <dl> is that it's supposed to represent an
*un*ordered listing of name/value pairs, while dialogs are ordered.
(That's why, frex, my chatroom currently uses an <ol> for its markup.)
 So I can see why <dl> could be said to be inappropriate.  But I
wouldn't care that much either way.

~TJ
Received on Friday, 18 September 2009 15:10:45 UTC

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