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Re: Cleaning House

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 00:37:59 +0100
Message-ID: <463E66D7.8000701@cam.ac.uk>
To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
> 
> 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.

So... I think it's true to say that neither <em> or <i> is likely to 
provide rich enough information for more than the simplest machine 
reasoning-type tasks. Given current authoring practices it seems likely 
that pragmatic tools such as search engine crawlers treat the two 
identically. Therefore the primary difference seems to be their default 
presentations in various interactive UAs. I believe the common defaults 
on various media are:

<em>
Visual (graphical): Italic
Visual (non-graphical): Change of colour e.g. reverse video
Tactile: Italic
Aural: Verbal stress

<i>
Visual (graphical): Italic
Visual (non-graphical): Change of colour e.g. reverse video
Tactile: Italic(?)
Aural: Normal(?)

If so, this suggests:

a) This debate is largely a storm in a teacup

b) A good way of defining when <i> should be used and when <em> should 
be used might reference situations in which verbal stress should be applied.

-- 
"Instructions to follow very carefully.
Go to Tesco's.  Go to the coffee aisle.  Look at the instant coffee. 
Notice that Kenco now comes in refil packs.  Admire the tray on the 
shelf.  It's exquiste corrugated boxiness. The way how it didn't get 
crushed on its long journey from the factory. Now pick up a refil bag. 
Admire the antioxidant claim.  Gaze in awe at the environmental claims 
written on the back of the refil bag.  Start stroking it gently, its my 
packaging precious, all mine....  Be thankful that Amy has only given 
you the highlights of the reasons why that bag is so brilliant."
-- ajs
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 23:39:59 GMT

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