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Re: Proposal for the deprecation of <blockquote>

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2013 14:35:00 +0300
Message-ID: <520E0E64.4040208@kolumbus.fi>
To: public-html@w3.org
2013-08-16 14:10, Steve Faulkner wrote:
> Ok so reading the various historical threads and articles on the issue 
> there appears to be good reasons for allowing the use of <cite> in 
> context of an citing an author as well as a title of a work.

I don't think I saw any actual reason, but that's really immaterial.

> Looking at how cite is used in the wild [1] it is often used in this way.

Looking at the collection of actual usage, although it is often 
difficult to guess what the content really is and why <cite> is used, it 
becomes evident that software processing HTML documents cannot make any 
assumptions about the meaning of <cite>. Since people use e.g. 
<cite>|<cite>, <cite>46,282</cite>, and <cite>Copyright &copy; 2012 
Fairfax Media</cite>, there's nothing semantic we can assume. The only 
thing that we can reasonably infer is that authors probably wanted the 
text to appear in italic, since that's how browsers actually render 
<cite>, and that's all they do with it.

Since <cite> is in practice just one of the ways to italicize text 
(along with <i>, <em>, and <var>), there's no reason to assume that 
authors haven't used it that way inside <blockquote> elements, too. So 
assigning a semantic role to it when appearing in <blockquote> would be 
arbitrary and lead to wrong conclusions about existing documents.

The practical impact would be small, if no software would actually do 
something based on a definition that says that <cite> somehow 
semantically relates to an enclosing <blockquote>. But if programs won't 
do such things, what does it matter which markup is used for quotations 
amd citations?

-- 
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Friday, 16 August 2013 11:35:24 UTC

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