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Re: Proposal for the deprecation of <blockquote>

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 16:23:10 +0300
Message-ID: <520CD63E.5040103@kolumbus.fi>
To: public-html@w3.org
2013-08-15 14:30, Heydon Pickering wrote:
> The content of a <blockquote>  "must be quoted from another source" [1]

That's just words in a candidate recommendation. No checker can enforce 
it, and the requirement has no practical impact.

The idea of indicating content as quoted from external source could be 
interesting if some relevant software took it seriously. E.g., a search 
engine could be instructed to ignore quoted content or, as the case may 
be, especially search for it. But why would search engines interpret 
blockquote as indicating quoted content, when it does not in fact do 
that most of the time?

> and yet the only official way to cite that source it through the 
> associated "cite" attribute.

The blockquote element was poorly designed from the beginning, since an 
appropriate quotation is normally (and often even as required by 
copyright law) accompanied with a citation that indicates the author and 
the source. Yet the specifications do not even say whether these should 
be part of the blockquote or after it, still less define consistent 
markup that connects the two.

So, let's get real. Blockquote means "indent". That's how it has always 
been used.  Sometimes the text you want to indent happens to be 
quotation. So be it.

There is nowadays less reason to use it, now that you can indent with 
CSS, but it's still the simplest way in HTML to indent content. There is 
little reason to recommend its use, and even less reason to declare it 
deprecated, obsolete, or evil.

> <figure>: thing
> <figcaption>: information about thing

Fairly abstract, is it not? But regarding quotations or indentation, 
they do not solve any problems. They would cause some, since old 
browsers ignore them, treating their content as just flow of text.

So just leave blockquote as it is. The less there is about its 
"semantics", the better, since "semantic" treatises just confuse those 
authors that wish to care about such things and get ignored by others.

-- 
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Thursday, 15 August 2013 13:23:40 UTC

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