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[whatwg] The semantics of visual offsetting vs. verbal offsetting

From: brenton strine <whatwg@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2017 11:49:35 -0400
Message-ID: <CALgSTaR_YysM9qgNM_TsfATjTV2rPA-24ydKi8xpvy=Oteww1w@mail.gmail.com>
To: "whatwg@whatwg.org" <whatwg@whatwg.org>
My understanding of the semantics of <strong> and <em> vs. <b> and <i> is
that the former indicate a stress, emphasis, offset or importance that
would be expressed verbally, if reading aloud.

On the other hand, the <b> and <i> tags indicate stress, emphasis, offset
or importance that is visual or typographic.

I frequently see people arguing that <strong> is the most semantic element
to use for a term or keyword because it is the most "important," but in a
situation where you would never change the way you read the sentence
verbally, but rather, just want the typographic indication that it's a
term. To me, I think this is coming from some ambiguity in the word
"important" that causes people to fundamentally misunderstand when to use
<strong> vs <b>.

Is my understanding (i.e., thinking in terms of visual vs. verbal offset as
a way of clarifying the meaning of the definitions) right here, and if so,
is there some sort of less ambiguous, authoritative document that I can
point people to when these discussions come up? Semantics conversations
always seem to come back to a fundamental disagreement about the meaning of
the words used in the W3C specification.
Received on Friday, 15 September 2017 15:50:38 UTC

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