Re: Cleaning House

On Sun, May 06, 2007 at 04:10:00AM -0700, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:

> >  That wasn't the topic. Ideally we would use the <shipname> element,
> >  of course, but that doesn't exist in HTML - and no-one has ever
> >  said that HTML ought contain elements for all conceivable
> >  semantic constructs.
> Agreed, but if there's no way to express the concept of a ship name  
> in a way that, according to you, is semantically meaningful, then I  
> don't think you can blame others for doing it in a way that isn't.

  Oh, there /are/ ways of doing it - but not in HTML. It isn't, and
  never was, that specific. But I'm not blaming people for using
  SPAN to mark up things that need specific styling.

  I /do/ blame the WG if it starts redefining previously
  presentational markup because it believe people actually use
  the I-element consciously for "emphasis".

  They don't. It is, by the material today existing on the web,
  not possible to infer that "<i> means emphasis"

> >  Which is a shame, of course, but again: we can't make a
> >  markup language that fit all, and we most certainly cannot
> >  start guessing at what the content of an I-element might
> >  or might not be!
> It seems, then, that in this case using the <i> element instead of  
> <span> would do no harm (both are according to you equally lacking in  

  Only that, as mentioned, the ship's name should not always be
  written as italics - and hence a 'neutral' element would be
  a better choice.

  But more importantly: an element which has in the past been
  defined as, used for, and incorporated into editors as
  purely presentational should not be redefined as

  The WA1 add other new elements. Add a taxonomy one! The
  UAs will still support I, and those who need taxonomy
  can get that too. 

> >  The original point, however, remain unchanged even if we
> >  move from the poorly chosen class name "ship" to the more
> >  precise "shipName". The I-ement convey no more semantics
> >  than does SPAN.
> It does likely convey that the usage is one of the typical  
> typographical usages of italics. Wikipedia lists ten of them at  
> <>. Two of these ten are  
> better covered by <em> or <var>.

  Now, I don't typically accept references to Wikipedia as I
  don't support the consensus theory of truth, but I find it
  interesting to note the following:

   "In HTML, the i element is used to produce italic (or
    oblique) text. When the author wants to indicate emphasized
    text, the em element, often rendered in italics, should
    be used instead because it is more meaningful to user
    agents that cannot display italics."

  Despite the flaw in the sentence after it, it seems they've
  got /something/ right.

 - Tina Holmboe

Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 11:32:41 UTC