W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > May 2007

Re: Cleaning House

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 16:16:30 -0700
Message-Id: <FE2FF30C-C60A-4FFF-AEA0-6B26D6FBDCB0@apple.com>
Cc: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@royal-tunbridge-wells.org>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org
To: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>

On May 6, 2007, at 6:00 AM, Tina Holmboe wrote:

> On Sun, May 06, 2007 at 05:06:19AM -0700, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> My own personal stance would be less extreme than this, merely that
>> new versions of the standard should be informed by how previous
>> versions were actually used, and adapt some extent. Markup languages
>   Indeed. Which is why - again - the I- and B-elements should not
>   be given any semantic interpretation /based on how they are actually
>   used in the wild/.
>   I don't know how I can make this point any more clear.

Sorry, your point doesn't follow from my stance. My stance would  
leave it a matter of judgment whether the use of I and B in the wild  
should affect their defined meaning in the spec, depending on how  
consistent that use is and the value of making the change. It  
certainly does not lead to a firm conclusion that their use in the  
wild should be ignored.

I accept that you believe what you say, but I disagree, and I think  
that follows from our different premises.

>>>  is an actual header just because the author thought it was
>>>  a good idea at the time.
>> This probably would be non-trivial to deduce, yes, but I also think
>> this is a pretty rare way to say "header" compared to <div
>> class="header"> or <h1>.
>   It doesn't matter. It /is/ a real-world example of why the
>   B-element /cannot/ be redefined as being equal to STRONG;
>   the rarity of misuse notwithstanding.

It does matter - the Descriptivist method examines frequency of use,  
not just all individual uses.

>   A quick grep through 22,221 HTML documents currently
>   in archive show 4,894 uses of the B-element. A sample
>   of the pages reveal that some use it instead of
>   STRONG, some instead of H*, and some documents use it
>   for /both/, on the same page.

How often is it used for a header compared to how often H* or a div  
with a header class are used for this purpose?

>> It seems like part of your objection may be based on unfamiliarity
>> with the contents of the spec.
>   I frankly don't understand on why you insist on this particular
>   form of argumentation - it is vaguely unpleasant.
>   Could it be that I am familiar with the specification and
>   *disagree with it*?

You claimed that Web Apps 1.0 would somehow encourage more author use  
of <b> to mark up headers. I assumed no one would make this claim if  
they were aware of <h*>, <header>, the sectioning algorithm, and the  
fact that it does not condone use of <b> for headers in any way.  
Here's a direct quote: "The b element should be used as a last resort  
when no other element is more appropriate. In particular, headers  
should use the h1 to h6 elements..." It also does not make <b>  
equivalent to <strong>.

If you'd still like to make the argument that it would encourage use  
of <b> for headers, I think you need to present some evidence.

>   The theory that "disagreement is only due to ignorance" doesn't  
> hold water.

You made a claim that seems opposite to the text of the spec. I  
thought it was polite to assume you were unaware of the counter- 
evidence in the spec itself, rather than intentionally ignoring it.

Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 23:16:40 UTC

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