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Re: Cleaning House

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 00:05:50 +0100
Message-ID: <463E5F4E.9000101@googlemail.com>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
CC: www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

Murray Maloney wrote:

> Can we all agree, based on these references, that it is completely 
> within reason to say:
> 
> - The reason that we markup text is to distinguish or emphasize it in 
> some way.

Yes on "distinguish". No on "emphasize" (as the term is commonly 
defined). Sometimes markup is used to distinguish text as /emphasized/, 
but sometimes it is distinguished for other reasons.

> - We often, but not always, employ visual and aural cues to signal those 
> distinctions.

Agreed.

> - There exists a rich history of typographical practice employed to 
> signal distinctions.

Yep.

> - There exists a rich history of vocal practice employed to signal 
> distinctions.

Yep.

> - Bold and Italic are forms of emphasis.

Not generally no. Even if Wikipedia is accurately reflecting the actual 
usage of the term among typographers, I think ordinary dictionary 
definitions are more cogent when trying to agree how an ordinary author 
or developer would understand the HTML specifications.

> - It is widely understood by practitioners that systems may render bold 
> and italic using other typographic devices if bold and italic are unavailable 
> (or undesirable for whatever reason.

Who are "practitioners"? I doubt the majority of HTML content authors 
realize this.

>If you really think that you get more semantic value out of <em> than
 > <i>, and you don't understand that you can use CLASS to enhance the 
semantic
> value of any element, then the markup world is in real trouble.

Rather more important than my views is a web standards movement that 
widely believes you can "get more semantic value out of <em> than <i>" 
(at least, if you discount widespread bad authoring practices).

Personally, I use microformats and choose my class names so that they 
are as presentation independent as possible. But for essential 
communication I'd only /rely/ on "plain old semantic HTML", because 
that's all the HTML 4.01 specification formalized and you'd be 
over-ambitious to expect user agents to support even that.

> I sure miss having W3C moderators to help bring the discussion back home.
> Around now, I miss having the participation of Chris Lilley and Dan 
> Connolly.

I'm happy to note Dan is participating in public-html although not 
recently in www-html, e.g.:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007May/0426.html

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 23:05:59 GMT

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