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Re: CSS Generated content selection

From: Daniel Beardsmore <public@telcontar.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 00:05:57 +0100
Message-ID: <462D3BD5.6040508@telcontar.net>
To: www-style@w3.org

Spartanicus wrote:
> "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk> wrote:
> 
>> So, to recap, when doing copy/paste, only the actual text in markup 
>> should be copied?
> 
> Decoration should not be included in a copy/paste and all list markers
> should be considered decorative.
> 
> If a list is pasted as plain text the list should have a preceding and
> trailing blank line, list items should be followed by a line break.
> Headings and paragraphs should have a preceding and trailing blank line.
> 
> Doing so preserves as much of the original as can be transferred to a
> plain text format without including decoration.

Right, but then all you'd do is type all the asterisks back in again. In terms 
of pure HTML (no CSS) the concept of a list is typically to visibly delineate 
the list items and have them stand out as being a set of list items. This makes 
it clear that they're not paragraphs of text.

If you remove all the bullet marks, there is no longer any indication that the 
normal text stops and a list starts, and depending on the length of the list 
items, you risk losing track of where the list even ends.

Think of it as how you would present the same information in plain text, for 
example an e-mail, text file or instant message. In all cases, you would leave 
the bullets in, otherwise it would become quite confusing.

When you consider *ordered* lists, the problem becomes far more acute, because 
deleting the item numbers removes important information from the text. Instead 
of items 1, 2, 3 etc (say, steps in a process) you have anonymous paragraphs.


The semantic concept that lists be used for navigation menus -- using CSS to 
remove all the bullets from view -- to give the document structure, makes things 
a little less clear. If you switch author CSS off, the bullets re-appear. As 
plain text, how should this text be copied? As default CSS presents it (a 
vertical list with bullets)? As the author CSS presents it? Or as paragraphs 
with no bullets as you're suggesting?


It's starting to sound as though list items represent the same issue as quotes 
-- that I should switch off the list bullets in CSS and put them in myself 
manually. But then CSS-incapable text-only browsers will show double bullets. 
Part of the advantage of using presentational bullets is getting around the 
issues of styling. Presentational bullets allow for hanging intents to be 
handled easily. Otherwise, the browser would have to know which characters of 
the list item are the bullet (or number, e.g. "13."), cut them out, indent the 
text and put the bullet in the gap it created. Seems an awful mess when all you 
need to do is tell the browser that you want a list! One of the goals in 
computing is making repetitive and tedious tasks easier, after all.

When it comes to ordered lists, it also relieves you of the trouble of manually 
renumbering items when you insert or remove rows.


Intent is complex. For example, supposing I wish to copy a list of items into a 
WYSIWYG word processor. In this particular case, I DO NOT want bullet marks in 
the copied text, because I'd have to go along and remove them all before setting 
those lines of text to use the word processor's own bulleted style.
Received on Monday, 23 April 2007 23:07:47 GMT

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