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Re: ensuring the existence & enhancing the power of Q

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2007 14:38:24 -0700
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070402213824.GB15450@ridley.dbaron.org>
Instead of enhancing the Q element, we should deprecate it and
replace it.

The problem with the Q element is this statement [1]:
  # User agents should render quotation marks in a
  # language-sensitive manner (see the lang attribute). Many
  # languages adopt different quotation styles for outer and inner
  # (nested) quotations, which should be respected by user-agents.

I am not aware of implementations of correct language-dependent
quotation marks for the Q element in existing HTML implementations.
In order to get interoperable implementations, a specification of
correct language-dependent behavior is necessary.

For what it's worth, the bug suggesting that this be implemented in
Mozilla is [2].  It contains a testcase [3].  It also contains:
 * disagreement about the correct quote marks for French
 * disagreement about the correct quote marks for German
 * disagreement about whether quotes in one language within text in
   another language should be quoted according to the style for the
   inner or outer language (or the overall document language?)
See also [4] for a discussion of nesting rules for deeply nested

These discussions have led me to conclude that describing correct
language dependent quotation rules is a task large enough that it
should definitely be in a separate specification.  Perhaps even a
separate working group is needed to write such a specification.  If
there isn't strong enough motivation to write such a specification
(and people willing to do it), HTML should not depend on such a
specification's existence for interoperable implementation.


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/struct/text.html#h-
[2] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=16206
[3] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/attachment.cgi?id=4733
[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2006May/thread.html#msg125

L. David Baron                                <URL: http://dbaron.org/ >
           Technical Lead, Layout & CSS, Mozilla Corporation

Received on Monday, 2 April 2007 21:38:29 UTC

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