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Re: Cleaning House

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 09:57:42 -0700
Message-ID: <463F5A86.3020804@sicking.cc>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>, public-html@w3.org

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> On May 6, 2007, at 11:00 PM, Jonas Sicking wrote:
>> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> For HTML, there is no significant distinction in attested use between 
>>> <em> and <i>. In practice they are used in the same kinds of 
>>> contexts. However, there is a nominal difference in the spec.
>> What do you base this on?
>> I have seen <i> used for a range of things, most commonly to indicate 
>> emphasis or to indicate quoting. In other words my experience has been 
>> that people use it when they want italics which can be desired for a 
>> number of things.
>> OTOH I haven't seen <em> used nearly as much so I can't really say 
>> what people are using it for. The few uses I have seen though has been 
>> by people that care about semantic correctness and has explicitly 
>> wanted to indicate emphasis.
> There are some WYSIWYG web editing tools that insert <em></em> when you 
> hit the [/I/] button or otherwise select italics -- I believe 
> DreamWeaver is one of them. This alone makes it pretty likely that 
> there's a significant amount of content out there using <em> for 
> non-italic emphasis. I suspect there are also some authors who use <em> 
> in place of <i> always, because they've heard it's more semantic.

Ugh, that is really unfortunate. I guess what we can do to fix this is 
to explicitly state in the spec or a primer that this is a bad practice. 
And that wysiwyg editors should either use <i> or CSS for buttons that 
request italics. Same thing for other visual elements of course.

/ Jonas
Received on Monday, 7 May 2007 16:57:47 UTC

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