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Re: Proposed amends to <small> element

From: Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009 09:36:33 -0000
To: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "Ben Millard" <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>
Cc: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.un1uazbgh8on37@bruce-pc>

On Sat, 17 Jan 2009 19:36:31 -0000, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> 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.

It seems to me that this favours convenience for browser manufacturers and  
spec writers (of whom there are comparatively few) over the ease-of-use  
for web authors (of whom there are significantly more) and for whom  
authoring simplicity and easy-to-learn is a factor in adoption of a  
technology or an element.

But I won't labour the point further.

I'd still suggest rewording the spec to clarify

- that legal restrictions are "caveats", not "disadvantages" (I think we  
should avoid loaded terminology)
- that the small element surrounds caveats that are related to the main  
content but which are not, in themselves, the main content (so it's not  
used to surround all text on a page dedicated to legalese)
- the difference between "other side comments" that are marked up using  
the small element, and side content that is in the aside element, without  
arbitrary and undefined distinctions of "short" passages vs long passages.

Bruce Lawson
Web Evangelist
www.opera.com (work)
www.brucelawson.co.uk (personal)
Received on Tuesday, 20 January 2009 09:37:36 UTC

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