BLOCKQUOTE and Q

Jordan Reiter (jreiter@mail.slc.edu)
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 20:02:01 -0500


Message-Id: <l0311070ab04b71628f6f@[192.168.1.117]>
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 20:02:01 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
From: Jordan Reiter <jreiter@mail.slc.edu>
Subject: BLOCKQUOTE and Q

I've been skimming through the HTML 4.0 Docs, and I've come across a bit of
confusion.  I always identified the use of the BLOCKQUOTE element as being
intended for long quotations, which in papers *are* traditionally indented,
and which do not allow the use of quotes at either end at all.  The docs
support my preconceived notion [1]:

     These two elements designate quoted text. BLOCKQUOTE is for long
     quotations and Q is intended for short quotations that don't require
     paragraph breaks.

Imagine my confusion when the specs later recommended that *both* elements
be surrounded by quotes at the beginning and the end:

     We recommend that style sheets implementations provide a way to insert
     quotation marks before and after a quotation delimited by Q or
BLOCKQUOTE
     in a manner appropriate to the current language context (see the lang
     attribute) and the degree of nesting of quotations.

I can understand the use of quotes for the Q element, although I don't
think this will degrade well, as you might have text that appears this way:

    The boy said <Q>I don't think that I see any problem with that.</Q>.

Which would be rendered by up-to-date browsers as

    The boy said "I don't think that I see any problem with that."

but by out-of-date browsers as

    The boy said I don't think that I see any problem with that.

, which would be wrong.  Instead, a better solution would be to use the
&quot; entity, which to my understanding correctly adapts the rendered
quote symbol according to the language of the text.

For blockquotes, more problems arise.  To begin with blocks of text
*aren't* supposed to be enclosed in quotes.  And long sections of quotes
(with more than one paragraph) would be pretty difficult to render, as with
some languages the beginning of each paragraph receives an opening quote
mark.

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[                    Jordan Reiter                     ]
[            mailto:jreiter@mail.slc.edu               ]
[       "Don't you realize that intellectual people    ]
[        are all ignorant because they can't spray     ]
[        paint that small?"                            ]
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