[Bug 8404] New: Refocus the figure element back to being a figure


           Summary: Refocus the figure element back to being a figure
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: Macintosh
        OS/Version: Mac System 9.x
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec bugs
        AssignedTo: dave.null@w3.org
        ReportedBy: shelleyp@burningbird.net
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: ian@hixie.ch, mike@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

Currently the HTML5 specification has an overly broad definition about what can
be allowed in a figure element:

"The element can thus be used to annotate illustrations, diagrams, photos, code
listings, etc, that are referred to from the main content of the document, but
that could, without affecting the flow of the document, be moved away from that
primary content, e.g. to the side of the page, to dedicated pages, or to an

This is counter to understandings about figure in other businesses and
environments, where figures are a graphic of some form. In addition, this
provides a confusing parallel in functionality between figure and aside, enough
so that people are going to have a difficult time knowing which is which, and
when to use one over the other. In fact, with this parallelism, we don't need

All assumptions I have read on figure is people assume the element will contain
a reference to an image of some form and a caption. Yet caption is optional,
and it sounds like anything can be included in figure. Your examples show a
poem, a code block, in addition to an image. 

The figure element either should be pulled completely, in favor of the aside
element, or it needs to have a tighter focus in its definition. It should
consist of a graphic element, which could be an svg element, a mathml element,
an img, an object, or, possibly, a video. It should then have one other
element, which will be the caption. Since this element won't be a svg, mathml,
img, object, or video element, it could be anything, including just a regular
paragraph. In fact, a regular element styled using CSS would be the best

This change would remove any confusion about this element, and there will be
confusion. It would also eliminate the problem with having to create a special
caption element, just for figure, as discussed in Issue 83.

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Received on Monday, 30 November 2009 17:53:29 UTC