Re: List of changes in Nov.7 draft from Sept. 17 version (fwd)

Jukka Korpela (
Mon, 17 Nov 1997 11:52:36 +0200 (EET)

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 11:52:36 +0200 (EET)
From: Jukka Korpela <>
In-Reply-To: <l03110701b093b3b1324a@[]>
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Re: List of changes in Nov.7 draft from Sept. 17 version (fwd)

On Sat, 15 Nov 1997, Jordan Reiter wrote:

> I liked Jukka Korpela's idea of the CHANGE element, although I see some
> problems with it as well (a great deal of legal documenters would want to
> actually show old and new text for informational purposes, and to simply
> use a pointer is no good). I think there has to be a way to do this. I just
> can't think of it right now.

Well my idea was just a rough sketch, but the basic point is that if
features for indicating changes are to be defined in a manner which
downgrades gracefully, there is hardly any other way than to make the
_new_ (currently valid) text the content of an element and refer to
the old text via an attribute.

As regards to legal issues, I'm afraid we are going to have a lot of
trouble due to legal requirements concerning presentation in general.
For example, if it is a legal requirement that some text appear in
at least 12 pt font, then it's simply impossible to satisfy that on the
Web. (FONT SIZE surely doesn't help. Stylesheets don't help, since they
cannot guarantee anything. Force does not work on the Web.)

Perhaps it would be futile to explain to lawyers that presentational
issues (such as in which way, if in any way, the reader can see the
old text) are dependent on the user agent and the user, and that we just
have to live with that.

But certainly it is possible to show old and new text for informational
purposes so that it does not depend on the implementation of any elements
for indicating changes. One can use tables, or if one really wants to be
as sure as possible, just put both old and new texts into a document
with suitable explanations. In fact, I think such approach _should_ be
used _even if_ there were relatively useful methods of indicating changes,
if the very purpose of the document is to present old and new text for
comparison (e.g. in a legislative bill or other proposal for a change).