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Re: Getting beyond the ping pong match (was RE: Cleaning House)

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 10:26:47 +0200
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Cc: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>, www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <d7sq33hdh2cqqs576jr3516d33albui2p2@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>

* Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>> On Sun, 6 May 2007, Henri Sivonen wrote:
>>>> (For example, in my page about intellectual rights, I may well have 
>>>> marked parts _discussing_ copyright issues with such an attribute,
>>>
>>> I know you have pages discussing copyright but do you really use 
>>> class='copyright' for something other than copyright notices?
>> 
>> I don't think my actual usage matters the least here. I simply presented 
>> a plausible example.
>
>No, you presented a completely hypothetical example without any evidence 
>to show that it actually happens in reality.

Whether something has already occured in practise is irrelevant to
whether the event occuring in practise is in itself plausible. If
you cannot show that the example is not a possibility in reason, you
should retract your claim.

>It would really help if the people who are objecting to the predefined 
>class names could find real world evidence to support their claims of 
>clashes, and explain precisely what real practical problems can occur 
>from it.

It is up to those proposing such changes to the HTML standard to make
a clear proposal of the changes and build consensus around the idea in
the HTML community. So far I have not seen anyone doing either.

The "WHATWG" draft contains mostly rubbish. I cannot tell, for example,
whether <div class=copyright>... is allowed, what the restrictions on
the elements content are, and what implementations may infer from that.
In one place it says I may use any value, then it says this particular
value "must only" be used on some elements, without ever saying what
"must only" might mean. [1]

Further, it says "The copyright class name indicates that the element
contains the copyright for the document." I do not understand what it
means for an element to contain copyright, it's like saying class=love
indicates the element contains love, or love "for the document".

If we follow the draft we actually find that the burden of explaining
what real practical problems can occur is on the proponents of the idea,
"User agents should not derive particular meanings from class attribute
values that are neither defined by this specification nor registered in
the ['WHATWG'] Wiki." I then suggest the proponents about the problems.

As for real world examples, a simple search for class=copyright on
Google gives as the first HTML code result:

  ...
  <TD class=copyright noWrap align=left width="60%">Last update: 
    <!-- #BeginDate format:Sw1 -->12 March, 2004<!-- #EndDate -->
  </TD>
  ...

Using this method it is trivial to find many examples where "copyright"
is used for elements part of a section that deals with document status
information, parts of what one might consider copyright statements,
links of the form

  Powered by <a class=copyright href="http://acme.example" ...

which links to e.g. the bulletin board software used on the site, with
no apparent relationship between those software makers and the site,
code such as

  <span class=copyright>By clicking submit, you agree to [terms] ...

and code such as

  <span class=copyright>...<br /> Powered by &copy; <a
        href="http://acme.example" class="copyright">...

My favourite example was

  <td ...>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
    <font class=copyright>Welcome Anonymous</font>&nbsp;
      <a href="..." class="copyright">...Register</a>&nbsp;
      <a href="..." class="copyright">...Login</a>

So after a few minutes of research we have pieces of class=copyright
where the content

  * has nothing to do with copyright
  * refers to copyright issues of contributions
  * refers to copyright of the site's software
  * mixes copyright information with unrelated content
  * merely neighbours copyright information

most if not all of which seems inconsistent with the draft text, which
in itself is rather unclear about what it attempts to propose. Finding
out about this would have been a simple 10 seconds web search for you;
you either did this but chose not to tell us about it, or you did not
do it. Clearly neither would add credibility to your argument.

[1] Are p/span elements required to have class=copyright and others may
    but need not have it? Are elements other than p/span prohibited from
    carrying the attribute? Or may they have it, but nothing can be
    inferred from it? "must only be" suggests <div class=copyright> is
    invalid; that'd be ridiculous, but after http-equiv=Content-Type
    being made invalid I fully expect even the most outrageous nonsense
    to come out of the "WHATWG", so, who knows.
-- 
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: +49(0)621/4309674 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
68309 Mannheim · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/ 
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 08:26:50 GMT

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