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Re: proposal: subline element

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 13:43:57 +0300
Message-ID: <51A87EED.1070108@kolumbus.fi>
To: public-html@w3.org
2013-05-31 13:18, Heydon Pickering wrote:
> A subheading is not a component of a heading but a complement to it.

The issue is getting rather scholastic, and this is typical of 
discussions around "semantic" elements. Far from conveying any commonly 
understood *meaning*, they often fail to express even *structural* 
relationships in a manner that people could agree, still less have an 
immediate understanding of. So it is easy to see many problems that 
these elements create, like endless "semantic" debates, but very 
difficult to see actual problems that they would solve.

I do not count "what markup should I use for a subline" (i.e. for 
something that I call a subline) as an actual problem. There are several 
feasible alternatives in HTML as currently defined. The choice between 
them is largely up to personal viewpoint and style - and does not matter 
much, as long as you follow your own approach systematically (to ease 
styling and scripting).

> Proposal For In-house Training Services
> Transformational Communication Skills

This looks very much like one heading to me, consisting of two phrases, 
probably to be rendered on separate lines, but still structurally a 
single heading for something.

> <h1>Proposal For In-house Training Services</h1>
> <subline>Transformational Communication Skills</subline>

It might be argued that the first phrase, being more abstract and 
classifying rather than descriptive, is the "subline" part (and should 
perhaps appear in smaller font). In any case, wouldn't you want search 
engines to give greater relative weight to the second, more content-rich 

For all the potential uses of h1 markup in software that I can imagine, 
this should be one heading. Styling it is a different issue, and can be 
handled without any additions to HTML.

When an author thinks that a "subline" isn't really part of the same 
heading as the phrase that it associates with, he can use div or p 
markup for it. I don't see here any problem that <subline> would solve. 
What would user agents be expected to *do* with it? The only idea about 
this seems to be the following, from the draft mentioned in the original 
post ( http://rawgithub.com/w3c/subline/master/index.html ):

"Assistive technology may convey the semantic of the subline element. 
Thus for an assistive technology user the first example above could be 
announced as:

"/heading level 1/ The reality dysfunction /subline/ Space is not the 
only void""

This sounds rather clumsy - I would expect assistive software to use 
pauses, stress, and tone to express headings,  but even if they announce 
"heading level one" (and presumably then "end of heading level one" at 
some point?), I don't see what it could help to insert the word 
"subline" into the speech. Just saying "Space is not the only void", 
followed by a pause, would be more natural. What would the added value 
of the word "subline" be? (And I have no idea of what "subline" might be 
in other languages. A cannot find a word for the proposed meaning "a 
single or multiple subheadings, subtitles, taglines or bylines" in any 
language that I know.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Friday, 31 May 2013 10:44:39 UTC

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