W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2007

Re: argument for deprecating BLOCKQUOTE in canonical HTML/XHTML

From: Asbjørn Ulsberg <asbjorn@ulsberg.no>
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 15:42:14 +0200
To: "Murray Maloney" <murray@muzmo.com>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.tp9hooy25rel5w@quark>

On Tue, 03 Apr 2007 15:20:31 +0200, Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>  

>>> A BLOCKQUOTE is a distinguished paragraph.
>> Visually, right?
> Visually, aurally, semantically.

How is a blockquote distinguished aurally and semantically in a way that  
can't be conveyed through visual and/or aural style sheets?

>> Which elements are <p> and <ol>'s inline equivalents?
> They are block elements. They have no inline equivalents,
> except when you write your style sheet to treat them as such
> which may be confusing to your readers, but you are welcome
> to do so.

Why would a horizontally aligned list be confusing to readers, especially  
if it is a menu? How does presentation have anything to do with the  
elements the visual effects are applied upon? If I mark up my content with  
ul+li, dl+dt+dd, strong+span, or whatver, the visual effect could be  
exactly the same, but the underlying semantics would be wildly different.

> They make sense because they are a common feature of documents.
> I haven't seen anybody complaining about <aside>, which is a  
> distinguished paragraph, or <section> which is a distinguished <div>.

I have my doubts about <aside>, but that's another discussion. <section>  
enrichens the semantic structure of our documents in a way only a new  
element can do. <blockquote> does not enrichen a document in a way <quote>  
couldn't. And seeing how <blockquote> is being abused today, I don't see  
how we can fix it. The better option is thus to deprecate it and move  

>> Not at all. CSS authors do this *all the time* with <li> for example, to
>> make a menu present itself horizontally instead of vertically.
> I haven't seen <li> used that way in mixed text.

Not with mixed text, of course, because content is not allowed between  
</li> and <li>. However, it is an often applied technique on menus that  
have a horizontal orientation, like tabs for example.

> But there usually isn't text between the <li>s is there?

No, it's not allowed.

> One of our design principles is to not break the web. <blockquote> and  
> <q> should remain in play simply because they already are in play.

I'm not saying we should remove them. I'm saying we should deprecate them  
in favour of a better defined element. Removing them can be up to XHTML2,  
which is going to break backward compatibility anyway.

Say we use WHAT WG's HTML5 as the template for the standard we're going to  
work out in this WG. In HTML5, there are a number of new input types, like  
'number'. Even after people start using HTML5, <input type="text"> will  
still be allowed as a means to letting people input numbers in forms.  
<input type="number"> would of course be recommended, but if people for  
some reason or another chooses to use 'text', then that's their decision  
and it will work.

The same applies to <quote>, <blockquote> and <q>. Since <blockquote> and  
<q> are (hypothetically) deprecated, their continued use is not  
recommended, but if people still use them, they will work nonetheless and  
it won't cause any problems. However, those who think that <quote> meets  
their authoring needs better, both semantically and functionally  
(depending on how it's implemented in the UAs), can use that instead.

To do that is an enlightened choice, and this WG and its members must do  
as much as we can to enlighten HTML authors around the world to do the  
right choice. Not only in this matter, but in all matters related to HTML.

Asbjørn Ulsberg           -=|=-        asbjorn@ulsberg.no
«He's a loathsome offensive brute, yet I can't look away»
Received on Wednesday, 4 April 2007 13:39:32 UTC

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