Re: Pandering to poor authorship (was Proposing <indent> vs. <blockquote>)

At 02:16 -0400 UTC, on 2007-04-16, Mike Schinkel wrote:

> Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
>> It is *both* true that people in that situation can in fact achieve that
>> presentation through <div style="padding-left:2em">[*], and that <indent>
>> with a specced default presentation gives them no guarantee that there won't
>> be some bit of CSS, out of their control, that says "indent {margin-left:
> That is a specious argument. Yes it is possible, but if it does occur
> then they can just use <indent style="padding-left:2em"> as per your
> <div> suggestion.

My previous sentence was too unclear. Sorry. What I meant to convey was that
for yopur use case <indent> offers no more than <div
style="padding-left:2em"> does. Whoever is in control of the site is in
control. If they don't want to allow style attributes, they'll just strip
them. Adding <indent> to the spec will just make the same admin replace
<indent> with <div>.

>> The situation in which people can only insert snippets and not affect their
>> presentation can exist for very good reasons: to ensure that they don't
>> create a mess.
> Again, specious. The case would be far more often than people would need
> to be given reasonable control of how their snippets would be
> formatted.

I have no numbers (do you?), but I can assure you that many site admins need
to ensure that content editors cannot affect presentation. This is no
different from companies/organisations requiring their content providers to
use consistent styling in printed material that goes out.

> What site owner wants user contributions to be poorly
> visually formatted ?

Exactly. Usually the only way to achieve that is to remove as many
possibilities from content providers as possible. If you don't, your content
editors will go nuts -- every paragraph will be in a different font with
different margins, etc. Or at the very least, your content editors will each
be suggesting different presentations, making the site look a mess to

And when the site admin *does* want to allow users to 'go nuts', he can
simply allow style attributes.

> That said, how can <indent> create a mess where <div
> style="padding-left:2em"> cannot?

I meant to make clear that for your use case there is no difference. <indent>
or <div style=blah> will be under the control of whoever is in control.

>> And the other way around: when an environment is too limiting,
>> the author (hopefully) has the freedom to use another environment instead.
> Huh?

If system or service x doesn't allow you to publish your content the way you
want, you switch to a system or service that does.


>> [*] In fact, even <div style="padding-left:2em"> might simply be stripped
>> down to <p> by the authoring environment. When you're not in control you're
>> not in control.
> And in that case it would be much easier o allow <indent> than to have
> to parse <div style="padding-left:2em">.

What makes you think <indent> wouldn't be stripped, or replaced?

> What I'm hearing is that you have a "religious" objection to <indent>

I'm anti-religious.

> [...] So then should we do
> away with default formatted on <p>, <ol>, <ul>, etc. too?

I've been argueing against some people's wishes to aim for sites to look the
same in every browsing environment by speccing default presentations, yes.

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <>

Received on Monday, 16 April 2007 18:11:37 UTC