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[Bug 10862] Remove the newly added "s" element

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 16:49:28 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1P1MK0-0008LN-V8@jessica.w3.org>

--- Comment #4 from Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net> 2010-09-30 16:49:28 UTC ---
Another demonstration of the inconsistency of decisions is the reason decision
the HTML5 editor made about the U element:


Ian Hickson wrote:

"The concrete badness is that if we have an element that is purely for
presentational purposes, people will be locked into that rendering for all the
purposes for which they have used it. This contrasts with semantic markup,
where you can restyle a category of content using a style sheet. For example,
you can restyle all the content that is intended to be in a different voice to
be in a different font, rather than just italics. Or you can style keywords in
a different colour as well as being bold.

In general there is also the value of educating authors about using the right
semantic tools  as we push people away from <font> and <u>, they get closer to
using the much more semantic elements like <cite> and <aside>. This further
increases the authoring benefits for those authors and their readers,
especially those readers using non-visual UAs, whose tools can then apply more
appropriate rendering than just guessing at how to express (in this case)
underlines in their medium.

When we added <b>, <i>, <small>, and, most recently, <s>, it was not that we
were adding presentational elements and that we were justifying it by
doublethinking a semantic meaning for them. HTML really does define these
elements now in semantic terms; that they have existing presentations is a
backwards-compatibility boon; that the elements are often already used for the
purposes for which we defined them makes them easier to teach. But that doesn't
make them any less semantic. These definitions are sometimes referred to
disparagingly as "semantic fig leafs", but I think that viewing them that way
misses the point of why these elements exist in the language. They each have
real use cases."

So we have arbitrarily decided that u is not semantic, but s is, though the
same misuse of both elements occurred in the past, and will continue in the

There is no rhyme or reason, or logic, to any of this. I get the impression
that a coin was tossed when deciding about each: heads, we keep s; tails, we
dump u.

There is no underlying architectural design to these decisions. No overall
plan. The editor arrived at them haphazardly--dumping in, and ripping out
elements and attributes based seemingly more on a whim, than a solid technical

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Received on Thursday, 30 September 2010 16:49:30 UTC

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