W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > January 2009

Re: Proposed amends to <small> element

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2009 19:36:31 +0000 (UTC)
To: Ben Millard <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>, Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com>
Cc: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0901171929220.29785@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Sat, 17 Jan 2009, Ben Millard wrote:
> 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 page: [...]

There are legal reasons and precedents for making this text uppercase, and 
I don't want to go anywhere near that issue from a markup point of view.

On Sat, 17 Jan 2009, Bruce Lawson wrote:
> I suggest that <small> be allowed to surround block level elements, 
> because a list of caveats, or two paragraphs, may legitimately be 
> legalese and worthy of the <small> tag.

This doesn't seem intrinsically bad, but the problem is that doing this 
makes the requirements in the spec really complicated. We've already gone 
down this road with <a>, and it makes determining what is a paragraph and 
what isn't an exercise in subtlty. Unless there are really compelling 
reasons to allow elements to do double-duty, as there are with <a>, I'd 
really rather not make the content models even more complicated.

On Sat, 17 Jan 2009, Ben Millard wrote:
> At this stage, I'm feeling more confident that the semantics for <small> 
> are at odds with real content. (Studying more pages would be more 
> accurate, though.)

The question is are the semantics for <small> more at odds with real 
content than the semantics for, say, <em>, <blockquote>, or <cite>?

We know that <small> isn't used as per HTML5 everywhere, because HTML5 is 
new and changed what <small> meant.

> However, what benefit does the <small> have for authors and users?

None for users. For authors, the benefit is as with other elements, it 
allows them an easy way to mark up their small print without using class 
attributes. It doesn't have to help all authors in every case to be 
useful, just many authors in many cases.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 17 January 2009 19:37:10 UTC

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