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Re: less than normal importance/emphasis

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 13:18:11 +0200
Message-ID: <48048EF3.1060903@malform.no>
To: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.net>
CC: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>, www-html@w3.org, "'HTML WG Public List'" <public-html@w3.org>, WHAT working group <whatwg@whatwg.org>

Tina Holmboe 08-04-15 11.20:     
> On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 12:07:53PM +0300, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>
> > > It has /no/ other meaning, and since the past usage
> > >   is inconsistent, to say the least, we cannot give it any meaning.
> > 
> > We know that <small> often, and probably most often, expresses 
> > de-emphasis of some kind. But it would still be inappropriate to 
> > redefine it with such semantics.
>
>   Actually, I'd have to disagree. The majority of legacy documents I have
>   had the misfortune to read use <small> to signify small text, next
>   to <font>, for no other apparent reason than to get a smaller font
>   somewhere.
>   

The draft currently says that <small> "represents small print". And it 
is also stated that it doesn't interact with emphasizing elements to 
de-emphasize anything.

Saying it this way, the draft tries to create some order in when it can 
rightfully be used. It should thus work to make us see less use of 
<small> in all kinds of wild contexts. (The spec is writting in the 
belief that it will have som effect.)

Small print is only small if it is smaller than the context. Small print 
is also often formally very important.


<small>(Hm, it strikes me that that <small> has some likeness to 
<strike>, which I have uttered some words in defence of. Both are good 
candidates for either being semantisized or being removed - or simply 
being defined as variants of <span>.)</small>

> > Existing documents may also use <small> to make, say, text smaller in a 
> > context where saving space is crucial.

I think saving space is crucial in "small print texts": It is formallly 
important but it should be said fast and without stealing anything from 
"the selling points". Beside, just as in my <small> note above, the 
writer might place it in small print, just to have said it, though he 
hope it shall not steal attention. But in the end, it serves as a 
distraction, which people prefer to comment instad of the "real" message.

>  Let's not frown up such usage too 
> > much. Most importantly, let's not pretend it doesn't exist.
>
>   Indeed: let's simply accept that <small> is used to make text smaller,
>   visually. It isn't, in any consistent manner, used for anything else.
>   

So, look how it is used in the wild and define it like that?

I would at any rate say that the current definition doesn't differ very 
much from how it is now. Jukka said that surprisingly little is said 
about SMALL in HTML 4. HTML 5 has 2 sentences plus some examples.

All in all I find it for the most part OK.
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 14:28:31 GMT

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