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Re: Markup for emphasis and de-emphasis

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 11:06:05 +0300 (EEST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0405031051350.12177@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Mon, 3 May 2004, David Woolley wrote:

> > If continuity with HTML tradition is to be broken, the <strong> element
> > would best be renamed to <key> or <hilite>. Personally, I think there's
> What you seem to be proposing is too separate changes:
> 1) delete strong;
> 2) add a keyphrases element.

No, I primarily propose redefining the semantics of <strong> (and the
addition of an em="..." attribute to block elements). What you describe is
my secondary proposal.

> I don't believe traditional usage of strong has been to highlight
> candidates for an abstract.

How much has <strong> been used, anyway? It's almost exclusively used by
structuralists, who may have each their own ideas of the semantics. What I
wrote is my understanding of the common position among the relatively few
people who have used <strong>. This need not involve an explicit idea of
being candidates for an abstract, and actually shouldn't, since abstracts
have a different purpose - though <strong> elements could, along with
some other elements, constitute good data for _automated_ generation of an
abstract-like extract.

> Often, of course, in a well structured document, headings serve the
> purpose of identifying the general trend of the document, and bold is
> often abused for the purposes of indicating a heading, so there may
> be some people who use strong as a politically correct bold when they
> really should be using Hn.

Quite possibly, especially since it was long impossible (and it's still
fairly complicated) to use heading elements so that they will not be
visually presented as blocks with top and bottom margins but as bold or
otherwise highlighted text at the start of a paragraph - i.e., something
that we _should_ be able to achieve using display: run-in in CSS

> Not very much on the web, but commonly in magazines and newspapers,
> quotes and sub-headings are used not as real headings, but as a
> combination of a stylistic technique, to break up large runs of text
> at fairly arbitrary places, and to interpose key phrases (often those
> that reflect the editorial policy) in parallel with the main document.

I didn't think of that when I proposed the em="..." attribute, but it
would be a good example of the use of the attribute. The markup would
contain the paragraphs as <p> elements quite normally, some of them
containing an em="1" attribute. On current browsers they would be default
appear as normal paragraphs, which is not that good but tolerable, and
using CSS they could be floated and highlighted, perhaps even so that -
imitating one style used in magazines - so that such a paragraph appears
normally in the text _and_ as duplicated as a floating box. (Admittedly,
editors may wish to use just _parts_ of paragraphs for such purposes, so
my proposal might need some tuning.) Whether speech browsers should do
something special with such paragraphs is debatable, but it is pretty sure
that they should not read the text twice, so there seems to be a need for
some method for duplicating content in visual presentation only, as a
(more or less) stylistic tool. I don't know how to address that.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 3 May 2004 04:06:20 GMT

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