W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-texttracks@w3.org > May 2012

Re: Displaying multiple lines in WebVTT

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2012 04:18:21 +0000 (UTC)
To: Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org>
cc: Simon Pieters <simonp@opera.com>, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>, Philip J├Ągenstedt <philipj@opera.com>, "public-texttracks@w3.org" <public-texttracks@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1205010348070.19700@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Mon, 30 Apr 2012, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 10:26 AM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:
> > 
> > Most people writing VTT captions are not familiar with SRT. Most 
> > people writing VTT captions haven't even been born yet.
> 
> (The implication seems to be that the existing knowledge and habits of 
> users today don't matter, since they'll all die and be replaced by new 
> users eventually anyway.  I think that's a bad argument; today's users 
> do matter.)

I'm not saying they don't matter; I'm saying they're not a majority.


> Showing two lines of dialogue simultaneously with different speakers is 
> very confusing.  When a block of captions appears, I read the whole 
> thing and associate it with the current speaker; if the bottom half of 
> the captions ends up being a different speaker, I have to mentally 
> backtrack to fix up the mess.

That's why they have dialogue dashes in front of them.

Note that this may be a cultural thing. In some cultures, e.g. French, 
dashes are actually used pretty much wherever there is dialog, not just in 
captions ("quotation dash"). In English, I've only seen them in captions. 
This may account for our relative familiarity with the construct.


> On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 4:03 AM, Philip J├Ągenstedt 
> <philipj@opera.com>wrote:
> >
> > Using <br> has some short-term benefits, but I tend to think that 
> > actual newlines will make more sense in the long term for a strongly 
> > line-oriented format...
> 
> WebVTT is much more block-oriented than line-oriented.  For a 
> line-oriented captioning format, look at SSA.

I don't really see what distinction you are drawing here.


> On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 5:13 AM, Simon Pieters <simonp@opera.com> wrote:
> > 
> > I think using <br> won't prevent people from using explicit line 
> > breaks in practice, so it's probably the wrong way to encourage 
> > authors to rely on automatic wrapping.
>
> Preventing it isn't the goal; just to deter people from porting their 
> SRT habits over to WebVTT without realizing what they're doing.

This is the cruck of the argument I would make against <br>. It's not 
great syntax, and it doesn't have any compelling advantages. People 
porting SRT habits to VTT isn't a huge problem, IMHO. At least, not as 
much of a problem as those introduced by <br>, such as having line breaks 
not match where the physical line breaks are in the source.


> It'd also be nice to be able to have inline comment blocks

So far, no compelling use cases have been made for inline comments at all, 
and some pretty compelling arguments have been made to discourage us from 
providing such a feature at all.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 1 May 2012 04:18:47 GMT

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