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RE: The HTML q element can sometimes be useful. Discuss.

From: Tex Texin <textexin@xencraft.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2016 12:17:50 -0700
To: "'John Cowan'" <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, "'Florian Rivoal'" <florian@rivoal.net>, <ishida@w3.org>, "'W3C Digital Publishing IG'" <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>, "'www International'" <www-international@w3.org>
Message-ID: <004201d1a0b9$7e457490$7ad05db0$@xencraft.com>
Regarding usefulness, the q element is helpful to screen readers.

Florian commented on the lack of a sentence element. Since paragraphs are a series of sentences, and are generally clearly separated by periods, perhaps there is less of a need.
However, we might contend that if there is a need to semantically earmark quotes, there is also a justification for doing so to questions and exclamations.
(I am not asking for this, I am just noting the analogy.)

Certainly, they would help screen readers. And to the extent that question marks and exclamation marks change with language, the alleged benefits of the q element providing quote marks would also apply to these statements. Has there been any demand for this?

(I don't think <em> or <strong> are equivalents for exclamations, although they might be used along with them.)

Parenthetical remarks would also benefit from having their own elements as would other grammatical elements. For that matter, if we were playwrights we might ask for elements to mark instructions to the actors, directors, cameramen, etc. (Joe moves center stage, a loud bang comes from outside the room, the camera cuts to the smoking gun, the shark approaching theme  from Jaws starts softly and grows louder...)

At times I would have liked to have a translate element to indicate that a piece of text is an equivalent alternative to other text in a document, rather than text continuing in another language.

Maybe it isn't quite fair to ask why html would support one grammatical element and not others.  The list of possibilities is huge. I am just noting the inconsistency.

I don't object to the q element and I do agree it is useful. I think automating the creation of quote characters was a bit too far. Having the quote character supplied by default and being able to turn it off or replace it would be reasonable strategy if the browsers would all support these features correctly. History shows this is not reliable at all. Do a search for javascript and the q element and see all the attempts to fix IE not supplying quote marks with the q element. Defining even more complex behaviors (quotes within quotes) and noting their linguistic dependencies (in the sense of different languages doing different things), I doubt the browsers will implement correctly, consistently, or in a timely fashion. (Look at the history of other features dependent on lang). I welcome the documentation of the appropriate rules for using quote marks. But I would rather not have them implemented for me if it means I then have to implement all sorts of schemes to work around the inconsistency of browser support. (refer again to the history of the q element and quote marks.)

Received on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 19:18:26 UTC

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