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Re: Correct usage of the q element

From: Ernest Cline <ernestcline@mindspring.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 23:38:54 -0500
Message-ID: <410-22004251343854859@mindspring.com>
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>, www-html@w3.org

> [Original Message]
> From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > > However, <quote> will probably be just harmless (unlike <q> has been)
> > > won't be used much. There's no tangible gain to be expected.
> >
> > As far as I am concerned, the primary use of <quote> (or <q>, or
> > <blockquote>) is to be able to unambiguously specify a source for a
> > through the cite="" attribute.
> I'm not sure I see what robots could do with those attributes. They hardly
> even try now, despite the fact that cite for <blockquote> and <q> has been
> in official HTML for years. As few know, few authors use the attribute
> besides, most use of <blockquote> is abuse (for indenting only).
> I don't expect this to change much. Few authors will use <quote> or <q>
> unless they see some tangible benefits. Maybe this is why <q> was defined
> to add quotation marks, but that was a big mistake.

The only benefit I can see to having <q> provide the quotation marks
instead of making them content is that it makes providing correctly
nested quotation marks in transcluded portion of documents easy.
The problem is tho, support for transclusion is extremely limited at
present.  Until all of the major browsers support a transclusion
mechanism, documents that use it will also be limited.  <q> was just
simply ahead of its time, for without transclusion there is no need for it.
It also doesn't help that a major browser implements <q> incorrectly.
which contributes to why authors don't use it.

However, even if <q> and transclusion worked as they should work,
there would still be the problem that the flattened text that results from
stripping away the markup is not the same as one would want if one
produced a plain text file, which should be the goal for a Text Markup
Language, whether or not it is eXtensible or Hyper.

As cumbersome as it is, I have come to the conclusion that for quoted
text we need two elements <quote> and <mark>

The <mark> element is intentionally a bit more generic.  It is to denote
any content that is desired for the plain text unstyled version of the
document which a styled version might choose to replace or suppress.

The <quote> element would indicate a quotation.

<quote><mark>"</mark>This is a quotation.<mark>"</mark></quote>

Given the rigamarole that it requires, I can't see most authors deciding
to use <mark> unless they were forced to by making start and end
<mark>s part of the content model of <quote>.  Given that generic
transclusion for the web is more likely to remain a goal and not a reality
for the foreseeable future, I can't see this as being a great use case,
yet it is one of the things needed to make transclusion something
that can work smoothly.. (A very minor thing compared to other things,
but still a needed thing.)
Received on Thursday, 12 February 2004 23:38:54 UTC

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