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Re: what is dt?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 21:52:50 +0200
Message-ID: <4AB14212.3070202@xn--mlform-iua.no>
To: Masataka Yakura <myakura.web@gmail.com>
CC: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>, Jeremy Keith <jeremy@adactio.com>, Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>, Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>
Masataka Yakura On 09-09-16 07.50:

> On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 12:30 PM, Leif Halvard Silli:
>> Jeremy Keith On 09-09-15 22.42:
>>> Shelley asked:
>>>> For the past ten years or so, dl, dt, and dd have been defined  within
>>>> the context of a definition list. People may have used them  for other
>>>> things, but no where has there been even a hint that such  use was
>>>> "acceptable" or appropriate.
>>> The HTML 4 spec gives more than a hint, advising authors (incorrectly)  to
>>> use dl, dt and dd for dialogues.
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/lists.html#edef-DL
>>> "Another application of DL, for example, is for marking up dialogues,
>>>  with each DT naming a speaker, and each DD containing his or her words."
>> And what is the problem with using <dl> for that? What was so "incorrectly"
>> about it?
> This might not be what he meant, but there are reasons why <dl> is not
> appropriate for marking up a dialogue. [1]
> [1] http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2009-April/019471.html

Thanks, Masataka! In that reply Ian said:

> I actually gave the argument in the checkin comment. <dl> is about 
> name-value groups where there can be multiple names and values per group, 

This is a great /option/ to have for dialogs and thus cannot be 
used against using <dl> for dialog. For example, the name of a 
dialog participant could be given in two different languages:

<dt lang="no">Leif
<dt lang="ru">Лейф

> where order can but does not necessarily matter,

Order usually matters for dialogs. But one could imagine also that 
it doesn't matter. For instance, you may have a collection of 
quotes, but not know their precise order. Anyhow, this cannot be 
used against using <dl> for dialogs.

Btw, when the order /does/ matter it could be argued that this 
/alone/ makes each <dt> different from one another, as the order 
information represent additional information that distinguishes 
each name-value group from each other - the order could have been 
described in words and been inserted directly into the name-value 
group. Then the /actual/ group order would not matter anymore, 
except that it would of course be more practical to sort things 
according to the desired order.

For example, we may have a list that defines the meaning of the 
very same word, at different stages. To help readers see the 
development, we would order it with the oldest meaning first and 
then the latest:

<dt>Idiota<dd>ordinary person, layman
<dt>Idiota<dd>uneducated or ignorant person

But if we somehow supply each name with some context, then we may 
twist the order without changing the meaning/interpretation:

<dt title="Vulgar Latin">Idiota
     <dd>uneducated or ignorant person
<dt title="Classic Latin">Idiota
     <dd>ordinary person, layman

This thing, that order represents additional information, is key 
to my justification of <dl> for dialogs.

> and where with few 
> exceptions, names shouldn't be duplicated (exceptions being when a term 
> has two definitions and each version has different synonyms).

I guess Ian referred to homonyms [1]. Regardless, even /here/ Ian 
is dead wrong when he uses this justification against <dl> for 

Because, the names in a dialog, even if they are identical names, 
should not be considered as names that are described over and 
over. Instead, they fall into the exception Ian points out above: 
The name in a dialog doesn't only represent the name or the person 
with that name, but it represents him/her/it/them at a particular 
/point/ in time, space and context. This context could be supplied 
in words, but instead, for simple matters, the order itself is 
enough to distinguish the cases from one another.

Don't get fooled by the fact that a dialog can contain many names 
that occur over and over - /that/ does not mean that each name 
refers to the same thing each time.

> A dialog is very different in all these respects.

On the contrary, in none of these respects is a dialog different.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homonym
leif halvard silli
Received on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 19:53:35 UTC

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