W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2013

Re: Proposal for the deprecation of <blockquote>

From: Karl Dubost <karl@la-grange.net>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 08:42:39 -0400
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <174933E9-603D-4645-A765-729607F05F4A@la-grange.net>
To: Heydon Pickering <heydon@heydonworks.com>
Heydon Pickering [2013-08-15T07:30]:
> The original definition of blockquote was largely unsemantic and, although "the non-semantic use of theblockquote element purely to indent text is deprecated by the W3C" [4], the lack of a proper citation/attribution element, means that this usage lingers on: <blockquote> is often used to highlight blocks of text belonging to the same document.

Let's see, this was the definition in HTML 2 (RFC 1866)

> Block Quote: BLOCKQUOTE
> The BLOCKQUOTE element contains text quoted from another source.
> A typical rendering might be a slight extra left and right indent, and/or italic font. The BLOCKQUOTE typically provides space above and below the quote.
> Single-font rendition may reflect the quotation style of Internet mail by putting a vertical line of graphic characters, such as the greater than symbol (>), in the left margin.
> Example of use:
> I think the play ends
> <P>Soft you now, the fair Ophelia. Nymph, in thy orisons, be all 
> my sins remembered.
> but I am not sure.

and this was the definition in HTML 3.2

> <!ELEMENT BLOCKQUOTE - - %body.content>
> This is used to enclose block quotations from other works. Both the start and end tags are required. It is often rendered indented, e.g.
> 	They went in single file, running like hounds on a 
> 	strong scent, and an eager light was in their eyes. 
> 	Nearly due west the broad swath of the marching 
> 	Orcs tramped its ugly slot; the sweet grass of 
> 	Rohan had been bruised and blackened as they 
> 	passed.
> 	from "The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The usage has always been defined semantically. Instead of deprecating blockquote element, there are ways to improve it. The usage of the "cite" element and links out of the context of the blockquote is as useful as in the context. Two exhibits.

One possible usage (in context) [which would answer partly the figure/figcaption use case]

<div class="quote">
<blockquote cite="uri-quote"><p></p></blockquote>
<p><cite><a href="uri-book">book title</a></cite>, <a href="uri-author" rel="author">Author-Name</a></p>

One possible usage (out of context)

<p><a href="uri-author" rel="author">Author-Name</a> has been blah blah blah.</p>
<p>In the <cite><a href="uri-book">book title</a></cite>, he blah blah, blah</p>
<blockquote cite="uri-quote"><p></p></blockquote>

In both cases the missing feature is the possibility to link those elements together. 
They have been numerous threads on the topic. A bit of reading for you. :) That might take time. 

 * The blockquote element spec vs common quoting practices 
 * Patterns of well-known quotes sites
 * The cite and pubdate attributes
 * <blockquote cite> and <q cite>  
 * Cite element

Karl Dubost

Received on Thursday, 15 August 2013 12:42:53 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:16:34 UTC