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Re: RE: H1

From: Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 00:18:17 +0200 (EET)
To: Toby A Inkster <tobyink@goddamn.co.uk>
cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.4.51.0302132352580.10010@kruuna.Helsinki.FI>

On 2003-02-13, Toby A Inkster uttered to veith.risak@chello.at:


As I tried to argue before, I cannot see why one should try to force a
single, visible-in-content heading onto a collection of stuff one presents
on a page. I mean, that's precisely what you're doing, here --
"Miscellaneous" is very much a heading used to unify stuff that doesn't
naturally blend. The practice you describe also abounds on the Web, thanks
to the idea that ideas should be carried in named, neatly classified
wholes. I believe that idea needs to be overthrown.

My question is, why force a page to have such a common topic? Why
precisely is it necessary to have a common heading on each and every page?
In our deconstructed age that doesn't seem at all necessary, to me. It's
quite possible to have a coherent page without a common topic (cf. my
earlier example with two viewpoints, but no shared, *expressed*, unified
issue; what is expressed, and not, is highly relevant as well).

Also, allowing for technologies like JavaScript and intelligent browsers,
it isn't guaranteed that everything expressed will be shown at once -- I
can imagine a site where we want two parallel topics to be presented, as
such, to non-JS-capable browsers, while JS-capable browsers hide most of
the discussion at any given time. When a viewer hits such a site, s/he
selects what s/he wants to see, including the uppermost heading, and only
sees the rest when s/he chooses to. There's no common heading to this sort
of presentation, only multiple parallel, alternative ones. Here, at the
very least, there's no unifying heading, no intention of presenting an
artificial unification to the user, and so no use for a common top level
heading in the content. (User-invisible metadata might be different, as I
already argued.)

Lexical rules shouldn't dictate how (X)HTML documents are composed.
Semantic ones should. If one is unable to think of a situation where
multiple top level headings are applicable, one shouldn't just assume such
situations cannot exist. One should rather allow for the contingency. I've
described two, so far. It might be sensible to instruct beginners to unify
their texts under a single heading, but requiring it of all (X)HTML
writers, or making the rule into a formal styleguide, I think that's
simply unwarranted.
Sampo Syreeni, aka decoy - mailto:decoy@iki.fi, tel:+358-50-5756111
student/math+cs/helsinki university, http://www.iki.fi/~decoy/front
openpgp: 050985C2/025E D175 ABE5 027C 9494 EEB0 E090 8BA9 0509 85C2
Received on Thursday, 13 February 2003 17:18:42 UTC

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