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Re: Cleaning House

From: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 12:38:18 +0200
To: "Philip & Le Khanh" <Philip-and-LeKhanh@royal-tunbridge-wells.org>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.trwih4yu64w2qv@id-c0020.oslo.opera.com>

On Sun, 06 May 2007 12:32:51 +0200, Philip & Le Khanh  
<Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org> wrote:
>> For HTML, there is no significant distinction in attested use between  
>> <em> and <i>. In practice they are used in the same kinds of contexts.
> There is no significant distinction in /uninformed/ attested use;
> those who actually care about accessibility, on the other hand,
> and who have bothered to read the guidelines, will use <em> where
> emphasis is required, restricting their usage of <i> to purely
> visual contexts where italicisation is required for presentational
> reasons.
> As a standards organisation, the W3C defines what /should/ be done,
> rather than merely rubber-stamping what is an actually an artifact
> of uninformed usage, poor tools, and a lack of concern for accessibility.

We have to remain realistic as well. If people more often incorrectly use  
something it may be that just need to accept that. The language should be  
designed for as many people as possible, uninformed or not. Ivory tower  
viewpoints don't really improve the web.

Also, you seem to completely ignore the other point Maciej made (and  

# Are the semantics defined solely by the specification (Prescriptivism)
# or informed by actual use (Descriptivism)? For human languages,
# linguists generally take the Descriptivist approach. This turns out to
# be a more productive way to interpret artifacts in human languages such
# as English.

Anne van Kesteren
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 10:38:32 UTC

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