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

Re: q, quote, blockquote

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 09:29:47 -0500
Message-Id: <6B39CE53-940C-47C3-8964-6EFF908A44C8@robburns.com>
Cc: "Charles Hinshaw" <charles@everydayrevolution.com>, public-html@w3.org
To: Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>

Hi Ben,

[ suggestion that changing quotation tag names to quotation class  
names makes more sense ]

On Sep 10, 2007, at 3:54 AM, Ben Boyle wrote:
> I see them making the same (not "more") sense, however by using the
> existing elements we gain backwards compatibility (with both existing
> UAs and the "cowpaths" of existing authored content).

I would go further and say it is a step backwards. If we admit that  
having these semantics are useful enough that in every example we  
include a class name that indicates a fragment is a quotation, then  
we should have elements for this. If there are other common semantics  
we currently leave to class names, we should consider adding tag  
names for those too.

> I don't know that there's any particular preference for tagnames vs
> classes, but I think the HTML specification is more about defining
> elements and attributes, and class names are reserved for extensions
> to the language. The extensions might be specific to a document or
> site, or shared amongst a community like microformats. In either case,
> it would be bad for us to define any classes as they'd likely clash
> with extensions. Maybe @role is an alternative (I don't know much
> about it).

Again, I think we should stick with the tag names we already have.

> As for formatting, on a personal soapbox I've never believed that
> punctuation was "style" and much prefer punctuation to be embedded in
> the HTML. Punctuation is itself a form of markup, and extremely useful
> to many tools that parse/understand language (screen reader being an
> obvious example). "Mark Up" in the HTML sense has always been, to me,
> about marking up written language. Written language includes
> punctuation. It's not about replacing written constructions with new
> verbose "tags". Well, it doesn't have to be about that.

I don't think anyone seriously proposes swapping out punctuation for  
elements. While Unicode does unify many punctuation characters based  
on presentational considerations, most of these characters still have  
fairly well-defined semantics: especially within a particular  
language. However, quotation marks are unique compared to other  
punctuation, in that many style manuals change the presentation of  
quotations based on the length of a quotation or whether the  
quotation is block-inside or not.

The wiki page “New markup attribute on Q and BLOCKQUOTE: "marks"”[1]  
discusses a proposal to add a new attribute to the quotation element:  
'marks'. The marks attributes allows authors to pursue  either markup  
approach: including quotation marks in the markup or adding them  
through CSS based on styling considerations.

> Sometimes I go so far as to use quotation marks rather than <q> or
> <blockquote>. I know, I'm completely out of control.

I agree that this is an authoring approach we should support, ,but  
not require.

> Fair suggestion though Charles. XHTML2 sort of takes a similar
> approach by moving many semantics from tagnames into specific
> attribute names (e.g. @href, @src, and the edit module). Class names
> are left undefined open for custom extensions.

I think its best for us to leave the class names undefined. This is a  
feature of the HTML valued by many authors. We have the ability  to  
define tag names and we should do that. The XHTML2 approach of  
allowing more flexible use of attributes on various elements is a  
very different solution. It is trying to move the language into a  
more useful and re-usable abstraction of the semantics of HTML. That  
provides a more flexible approach. Removing a part of HTML and  
forcing authors to rely on class names makes the language less  
flexible by removing the semantics shared by all HTML documents.

Take care,

[1]: <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/AddedAttributeQuotationMarks>

original message
> On 9/8/07, Charles Hinshaw <charles@everydayrevolution.com> wrote:
>> This may be a little late in bringing this up, but I was just looking
>> through the wiki (MuchAdoAboutQ) -
>> Why do we have need any of these elements? A quote is not a  
>> structural
>> building block in the same sense as a paragraph. That is to say  
>> that a
>> quoted paragraph is still just a paragraph -- it just happens to  
>> originate
>> with another author.
>> Wouldn't something like:
>> <p>Einstein said <span class="quote" src="http://www.example.com/"
>> cite="Human-comprehensible bibliographic information" >I don't  
>> know what
>> will be used in the next world war, but the 4th will be fought with
>> stones</span>.</p>
>> or
>> <p class="quote" src="http://www.example.com/" cite="Human- 
>> comprehensible
>> bibliographic information" >Most people go on living their  
>> everyday life:
>> half frightened, half indifferent, they behold the ghostly tragi- 
>> comedy that
>> is being performed on the international stage before the eyes and  
>> ears of
>> the world.</p>
>> or
>> <div class="blockquote" src="http://www.example.com/"
>> cite="Human-comprehensible bibliographic information" >
>> <p>The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual  
>> flight
>> from wonder.</p>
>> <p>The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential than its
>> solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or  
>> experimental
>> skills. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old  
>> problems
>> from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real  
>> advances in
>> science.</p>
>> </div>
>> make more sense semantically?
>> As for formatting quotes, all three would rely on CSS.
Received on Monday, 10 September 2007 14:30:06 UTC

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