W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > August 2006

Re: sub/sup (was Re: samp, kbd, var)

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 23:20:28 +0100
Message-ID: <44EB832C.9000001@splintered.co.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

magick wrote:

> You don't pick up on _scarcasm_ too well do you?
> I was being SARCASTIC, meaning "sup and sub are NOT presentational"

Apart from your outstanding display of humour, I seem to have missed the 
part where you explain *why* you think sub and sup are not purely 

"there are valuable uses for <sup> and <sub> and I think they should 
stay as-is.  You need to look at the big picture, they ARE needed in 
their own way"

Ah well, yes, there are valuable uses, but only because there are no 
appropriate elements in XHTML to express the variety of semantic 
meanings traditionally denoted in visual print notation as a 
sub/superscript. That doesn't explain away the fact though that sub and 
sup don't actually denote meaning, only visual presentation. Through 
context and prior knowledge of those print conventions a human reader 
has to then infer meaning - just as used to be (heck, still is in the 
majority of sites) the case with bold and italic. If HTML didn't have 
strong and em, you could apply the same reasoning as above to b and i 
"they are needed in their own way". But because far more suitable 
elements exist, these presentational elements have been dropped...and 
that's exactly my point here.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Tuesday, 22 August 2006 22:20:30 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 15:06:14 UTC