W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > January 2007

[whatwg] <blockquote cite> and <q cite>

From: Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt@myrealbox.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 23:16:47 +1300
Message-ID: <04f1f9ea0f52cb707bebaa1b0d770b92@myrealbox.com>
On Jan 11, 2007, at 7:01 AM, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
>
> At 14:42 +1300 UTC, on 2007-01-07, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
>>
>> On Jan 7, 2007, at 7:13 AM, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
> ...
>>> It's still entirely unclear to me *why* the cite attribute needs a
>>> replacement. What is wrong with it?
>>
>> First, it's hard for UAs to present cite= in a way that is both usable
>> and backward compatible.
>
> I'm assuming your "unusable" refers to the text in parenthesis 
> (below), but it's not clear to me what you mean with "backward 
> compatible presentation of the cite attribute by UAs". Are you talking 
> about a new UA version doing something different with the cite 
> attribute than the previous version did?

Yes, where what the previous version did = nothing.

> ...
> The fact that UI problems like this aren't solved yet does not mean 
> they cannot be solved. Just that they haven't been solved yet. I'm 
> sure that to a large extend this has to do with UA vendors having 
> spent resources on browser wars and ESP engines for the past 10 years, 
> at the cost of other development.

You may be right.

> ...
>> Second, it's hard for authors to use it in a way that is
>> backward-compatible. That is, if the source information is important
>> enough that it needs to be accessible in those UAs that don't (yet)
>> support cite=, the author has to provide the information in some other
>> fashion too.
>
> Yeah, but as a spec writer you then risk entering the terrain of 
> dumbing down the Web for everyone, just because some people are still 
> using lousy UAs.

Good luck convincing people that their browser is lousy because it 
doesn't present citations. I expect the typical response would be "Eh?"

> Some of us feel that such information should be *available* but not 
> *visible* per se, because making it visible will often only lead to 
> distraction from the actual text.

Ah, but we already have a thoroughly compatible element for conditional 
presentation of information: <a>. So a backward-compatible way of 
citing sources would be an attribute that points to either <a> (if the 
full citation should be out of the flow of text), or to another element 
(if it should be inline).

For example:

     <p><a id="q018" href="http://example.com/2007/01/21/c">Fred
     Mondegreen concurs</a>: <q source="#q018">When you compare it
     with books, the Web is still a newborn baby</q>.</p>

     <p>As <span id="q019">Albert Einstein said during an interview
     in 1949</span>: <q source="#q019">I do not know how the Third
     World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use
     in the Fourth ? rocks!</q></p>

(Disclaimer: I don't expect people would actually use this, unless 
there was some famous semantic application taking advantage of it. The 
same applies to cite=.)

> ...
>> And third, it requires the existence of an IRI of some sort. Often you
>> won't have this, for example when the source information for your 
>> quote is something as vague as "attributed to Mark Twain".
>
> I think that in such a case it would be appropriate to have the cite
> attribute's content point to the source that attributes it to Twain, 
> like so:
>
> <q cite="URL">To be, or not to be</q>, as Mark Twain supposedly said.

Google notwithstanding, the Web does not contain all quotable material 
that exists. If the source is a pamphlet, magazine, user manual, or 
interview, there may well be *no* relevant URL to cite.

Cheers
-- 
Matthew Paul Thomas
http://mpt.net.nz/
Received on Sunday, 21 January 2007 02:16:47 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Wednesday, 22 January 2020 16:58:51 UTC