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[whatwg] do not encourage use of small element for legal text

From: Markus Ernst <derernst@gmx.ch>
Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 14:07:07 +0200
Message-ID: <4A4CA2EB.40205@gmx.ch>
Ian Hickson schrieb:
> On Thu, 4 Jun 2009, Andrew W. Hagen wrote:
> 
>> Encouraging use of small print for legalese also encourages this:
>>
>> <h1>
>> <a href="continue.html">
>> Welcome to the BigCo web site. Click to continue.
>> </a>
>> </h1>
>> <small>By clicking above, you agree that BigCo can charge your
>> credit card $10 per visit to the BigCo web site per page clicked.</small>
> 
> Right, that's the case we do want to encourage. It's better than the 
> alternative, which would be:
> 
>  <style>
>   .s { font-size: smaller; }
>  </style>
>  <h1>
>  <a href="continue.html">
>  Welcome to the BigCo web site. Click to continue.
>  </a>
>  </h1>
>  <span class=s>By clicking above, you agree that BigCo can charge your
>  credit card $10 per visit to the BigCo web site per page clicked.</span>
> 
> ...because if they use <small>, you can configure your client to go out of 
> its way to highlight <small> text, whereas you have no way to know to 
> highlight any text based on its font size or class.

Anyway that does not prevent the BigCos from using <span> or <p> or 
<div>, if they really want to style their fraudulent text the way it is 
hard to read. The more user agents will be set to display the <small> 
element big, the less this element will be used by those who are 
actually addressed by this encouragement.

Instead of keeping a purely presentational category such as "small" as 
an HTML element, would it not be more efficient to use some kind of 
<legal> element? User agents then could be configured to ignore small 
text sizes or badly visible colors on <legal> elements. Also, other ways 
to bar people from reading legal text, such as setting it in uppercase 
characters, could be handled - which does not seem appropriate for a 
<small> element.

And countries willing to protect their people from fraud could establish 
a law that any text on a website is only legally binding when it is 
marked up with the <legal> element.

-- 
Markus
Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 05:07:07 UTC

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