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

Re: updated cite definition - please review

From: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2013 17:59:49 +0100
Message-ID: <CA+ri+VkyBMyMSdqYo7r_S3NBnD+yzqv+kYTakQQiHVrB8WkuWA@mail.gmail.com>
To: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Hi Smylers,

NOTE: it's  an editors draft...

replies inline



HTML 5.1 <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/>

On 23 August 2013 17:18, Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com> wrote:

> Steve Faulkner writes:
> > I have made changes to the definition of the cite element in the HTML
> > 5.1 editors draft
> >
> > new:
> >
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/text-level-semantics.html#the-cite-element
> >
> > old:
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/html51/text-level-semantics.html#the-cite-element
> The clarification of <cite> in HTML5 (versus HTML4) made sense to me; this
> change looks to largely undo that

It didn't to other people, thus the revisiting of the definition.

> , and also disallow some uses
> which were previously allowed.

Yes the initial edits do, it will almost certainly change in response to
feedback so far.
see bug https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=23049 for example.

> I do not understand what the purpose is of an element with such a vague
> definition. It doesn't seem like there is any semantic which can
> usefully be conveyed by knowing that a piece of text which may be one of
> any number of thing relating to the source of quoted text.

looking at tightening the definition up

> Please can you give an example of why using <cite> in this way is
> useful? For instance, in the example added to the spec, what is the
> advantage in have Charles Bukowski's name marked up (as opposed to
> leaving it with no additional markup, like the other words in the
> sentence)?

the use of cite in the example denotes the author

> And how would you expect Charles Bukowski's name to be rendered, to
> indicate to the reader that it's information relating to the source of
> the nearby quote? I'm mostly used to names such as this not being
> denoted in any specific way.

it appears to be a reasonably common practice: have a look at example of
cite usage I found from a recent dataset:

> Whereas titles of works often are denoted somehow — perhaps in italics,
> or with single or double quote marks around them, or underlined.
> Obviously such titles need some mark-up to indicate that they are
> titles, so that this can be conveyed to users.

see above

> For instance The Boo Radleys have a track called ‘Charles Bukowski Is
> Dead’, which somebody quoting from the lyrics and writing about the
> album it's on may well abbreviate to ‘Charles Bukowski’ on subsequent
> mentions. They may also refer to the person Charles Bukowski, explaining
> who he is. It's possible for the reader to distinguish between the track
> and the person because the track will be rendered in a way which conveys
> it's the title of a work.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake_Up!_%28The_Boo_Radleys_album%29
> So I completely understand the reason for an element with the HTML5
> definition of <cite>.
> What I don't understand is why it makes sense for that element to be the
> same element which is also used to mark up things relating to sources of
> quotations which aren't titles. Please can you explain why it makes
> sense have a single element covering all of these uses?

 I am looking at tightening the definition up, to cover its only typical
usage, which includes denoting names in reference to quoted text.

> Unless you want everything relating to sources of quoted text to be
> denoted like titles are, in practice as an author you're going to need
> to distinguish titles of works from the other uses. This could of course
> be done with classes and CSS which hooks off those, but that then makes
> the semantic site-specific rather than part of the HTML standard.

see above

> In particular, this means that without CSS a user doesn't have the
> intended semantic of the document conveyed to them. This is obviously
> suboptimal compared with a situation where user agents know which bits
> of text are titles (so they can be conveyed appropriately) and which
> aren't.
> It seems like a layering violation for CSS to be required to glean the
> semantics of a document.
> And in practice, existing browsers do display the contents of <cite>
> differently from the surrounding text (italics in graphical browsers, in
> a different colour in Lynx). So anybody using <cite> for something other
> than the title of a work risks it being conveyed as a title of a work to
> users anyway.

italics denotes many things not just the title of works, so where is the
risk?. when looking at how cite is actually used, its usage as previously
constrained in html5 is not commonplace.

> Whereas marking up information related to references to sources of
> quoted text that isn't a title differently — possibly with a newly
> minted element for the purpose, or no mark-up at all, or <span> with a
> site-specific class — avoids this issue.
> Bruce Lawson writes:
> > This change is to restore the HTML 4.01 way.
> I'm not sure that it does. It seems more restrictive than HTML4 was.
> In particular, the new definition only covers information about “quoted
> text”. It no longer allows using <cite> for marking up the title of a
> work which is merely being mentioned, not quoted from.
> For instance, my ‘Charles Bukowski Is Dead’ scenario above involved the
> author quoting from the song's lyrics while writing about the track. If
> lyrics from the track were not quoted, then the song wouldn't qualify as
> “quoted text”, and using <cite> wouldn't be valid, per its new
> definition.
> Please can you explain why this makes sense? It seems to be that an
> author writing about a work could either quote from it or not, and I
> don't understand why the element used to mark up its title depends on
> that.
> > By removing the ability to cite authors, lots of people have spent a
> > good deal of time attempting to find other ways of marking that up,
> Why do they need to mark up authors?

why do they need to mark up titles?

> > leading to potential code bloat (wrapping blockquotes in <figure>, for
> > example, so they can use a <figcaption> instead of <cite> inside /
> > next to a <blockquote>).
> Even if <cite> can be used for an author of a quotation, it isn't valid
> for that to be inside <blockquote>, since <blockquote> is restricted to
> the text being quoted:
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/grouping-content.html#the-blockquote-element

that is also under discussion:

> So if an author wishes to have an element which encloses both a
> quotation and its author, an additional element will be required
> regardless of whether the author is marked up with <cite>, <span>, <p>,
> <figcaption>, or <div>.
> Please can you give an example of using <cite> next to a blockquote
> where using <span> instead of <cite> wouldn't suffice?
> Thanks.
> Smylers
> --
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Received on Sunday, 25 August 2013 17:00:58 UTC

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