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[Bug 14073] New: Define role of @title in <a title="Expansion"><abbr>abbrevitation</abbr></a>

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2011 03:23:58 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-14073-2486@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=14073

           Summary: Define role of @title in <a
                    title="Expansion"><abbr>abbrevitation</abbr></a>
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
               URL: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/text-level-semantics#the-
                    abbr-element
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Keywords: a11y
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P3
         Component: HTML5 spec (editor: Ian Hickson)
        AssignedTo: ian@hixie.ch
        ReportedBy: xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mike@w3.org, public-html-wg-issue-tracking@w3.org,
                    public-html@w3.org


REQUEST: 
    Make the spec say describe how the general nearest anchestor rule applies
to <abbr> when its @title attribute has been omitted. Also, describe how the
genarl rule about the meaning of an emtpy @title attribute applies to the
<abbr> element.

CURRENT SITUATION: 
   The general @title rule is that omission of @title  "implies that the title
attribute of the nearest ancestor HTML element with a title attribute set is
also relevant to this element".
<http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/elements#the-title-attribute>
   Thus logically, @title from the nearest anchestor should be used as
expansion whenever <abbr> does not have a @title of its own. And unless the
general rule is applied, the <abbr> would end up being able to have two kinds
of advisory text: It would count as 1) "expansion" in case of <abbr title=foo>
but as 2)  "normal" advisory text that doesn't need to be an expansion. in case
of <a title="Expansion"><abbr>x</abbr></a>. 
    This double meaning of @title for the <abbr> element, does not make sense -
the relevant @title should count as expansion regardless of whether it comes
from <abbr> itself or from the nearest anchestor with a @title attribute.

  HTML5 spec text about abbr@title: 
      ]] Also, the title attribute has special semantics on this element.  
snip    if specified, must contain an expansion of the abbreviation, and
nothing else. [[

   That definiton with its "special semantics" borders on saying that the
general rule does not apply. However, if the general rule does not apply, then
one must also establish the the omission of @title means something else for
<abbr> compared to other elements: Does it, in the ABBR case, mean the same as
the title="<TheEmptyString>" - namely that anchestor title does not apply to
the current eleent? How would such a special casing be possible? BTW, I think
it is not ideal to say that @title has special semantics, rather it is <abbr>
which attribute special meaning to @title. The difference might seem like
needless hair splitting. However, it goes better together with the general
"title inheritance rule" to put it that way. (I have myself been stating that
@title has special semantics on <abbr> - I have now modified my perception.)

   Not that the application of the general rule means that e.g. <parent
title="expansion"> could count as expansion for more than a single <abbr> child
element. E.g. if the parent contains two adjacent <abbr> elements, then <parent
title="foo"> could be used as expansion for both. I think this a feature and
not a bug. E.g. consider this:

    <span lang="en" title="Acquired immune deficiency syndrome">
         <abbr>AIDS</abbr> or <abbr lang="fr">SIDA</abbr>
    </span>

   The specification of <abbr> also fails to define whether the general
interpretation of the empty string rule applies to <abbr>. The general rule:
"the emtpy string indicates that the element has no advisory information". It
seems to me that authors should have to do the same thing for abbr as for other
elements {namely setting @title to the empty string} if they do not want the
parent@title to apply to the current abbr element.

A USE CASE: 
    The spec currently includes the following example 

      <p>The <a href="#whatwg"><abbr title="Web Hypertext Application 
      Technology Working Group">WHATWG</abbr></a> community does
      not have much representation from Asia.</p>

   which could usefully be rewritten like this:

      <p>The <a href="#whatwg" title="Web Hypertext Application 
      Technology Working Group" ><abbr>WHATWG</abbr></a>
      community does not have much representation from Asia.</p>

   Advantages of applying the pattern  of the above rewrite: 

    * Authors do frequently place useful text inside a@title
    * Unlike other elements, AT has a good history of reading a@title
    * Links are quite often abbreviations

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Received on Thursday, 8 September 2011 03:24:00 UTC

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