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Re: Proposed amends to <small> element

From: Ben Millard <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2009 09:25:57 -0000
Message-ID: <E645E9EB60254F7ABC26224731A708C0@ben9xr3up2lv7v>
To: "Bruce Lawson" <brucel@opera.com>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>

You have a couple of nested <small> elements in the example. Are they
intentional, like extra-small-print?

What effect would making <small> work like <ins> have on existing content?

Bruce Lawson wrote:
> This will make it easier to author, and thereby promote use of it to
> mark up "small print (part of a document often describing legal
> restrictions, such as copyrights or other disadvantages), or other
> side comments".

In my experience, what legalistas want (if they can get away with it) is 
uppercase red bold at a large text size. ;)

Even if you apply CSS to the <small>, I imagine the mere sentiment of
calling legal content "small" would make it unpopular in corporate style 

I haven't studied how authors currently mark up legalese in much detail.

When I've have stumbled across pages with legalese, they didn't use <small>. 
But I have seen continuous bold across multiple sentences and the use of 
uppercase for whole sections, such as "14. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES" on this 

* <http://www.adobe.com/misc/copyright.html>

<big> might be a better match for legal stuff mixed with other content, 
since uppercase letters are "big". It also reverses the trivialising 
sentiment and default visual style of <small>. In this way, <big> might 
stand more chance of becoming popular in corporate style guides for legal 

In TV adverts and print media this stuff does tend to be small. But on the 
web, in my experience as a user, this stuff gets a page to itself. There's 
no advantage to marking it up specially when all the main content on a page 
is of the same type.

Indeed, it's unclear what advantage there is marking it up specially at any 
time since authors don't currently feel a need to do so (from what I've 

Ben Millard
Received on Saturday, 17 January 2009 09:26:47 UTC

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