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Re: proposal to explicitly forbid <small> use as subheadings

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2013 13:36:34 +0300
Message-ID: <51B1B7B2.5090008@kolumbus.fi>
To: public-html@w3.org
2013-06-07 12:48, Patrick H. Lauke wrote:

> What if, as an author, I *do*  want to mark my subheading with <small>
 > because I believe that part of the heading should be naturally
 > de-emphasised?

The WHATWG definition for <small> is "side comments such as small print",
which is very vague and almost sounds like what <small> has always meant
in HTML and will always mean, whatever specs might say: smaller font size.
But WHATWG defines the element so cryptically that we could spend the rest
of our lives discussing it without ever really agreeing, or 
understanding each other.

In any case, WHATWG seems to be saying that <small> is *not* for 
de-emphasis.
So as an author, you would violate the rules

 > What if it was mandated that you "must not" use <small> for
 > subheadings...is there any reliable programmatic way to flag that up
 > as a validation error?

Of course not. It could not be done even using the most advanced 
artificial intelligence
we can imagine, because the definition is vague and subjective. If there 
are no
objective criteria for being a subheading (in the logical sense), there 
cannot be
any objective analysis of such rules.

Using <small> inside a heading element should be encouraged, not forbidden.
In situations where one cannot rely on style sheets, it is the only way 
to give part
of a heading smaller font size, which in turn may be essential for conveying
the message of a heading properly. Whether you call such a part a 
subheading or
just a less important part or something else is up to you

-- 
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Friday, 7 June 2013 10:36:57 UTC

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