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Re: A proposed standard for CSS-controlled sentence spacing

From: Thomas A. Fine <fine@head.cfa.harvard.edu>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 22:52:39 -0500
Message-ID: <50EF8C87.7020704@head.cfa.harvard.edu>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
CC: www-style mailing list <www-style@w3.org>
On 1/10/13 4:29 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> I'm with Hixie for now, in the corresponding thread you've raised in
> WHATWG about adding a <sentence> tag to HTML.  This doesn't seem to be
> particularly useful, existing markup can handle it, editors can very
> easily handle it, and there doesn't seem to be convincing evidence
> that sentence spacing is actually much of a contributor to
> readability.  While I happen to use two spaces after sentences, it's
> mostly a finger tic from my days being taught keyboarding.

I can't imagine that we can actually assume that the tens of millions of 
people out there creating content with two spaces between sentences all 
feel exactly the same way though.  It defies logic.

> I'm also in general very wary of claiming that a simple heuristic can
> reliably, across world languages, determine what a "sentence" is.  We
> try to do as little as possible in heuristically determining
> boundaries in CSS, because of the complexity of world languages; the
> few times we have tried (like ::first-letter) still don't work
> reliably across browsers.

I agree that a simple heuristic in the absence of any sentence boundary 
marking would be inadequate.  If a solution that included a spectrum of 
choices were implemented, that might be one of them, but it certainly 
makes no sense by itself.

But I do think that using a two spaces method of detecting sentence 
boundaries (only when turned on by some CSS parameter) makes perfect 
sense, given the massive number of people that already do it who could 
immediately benefit the increased ability to format their content.

Received on Friday, 11 January 2013 03:53:10 UTC

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