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Re: <html dir="ltr" lang="en-US"> tag

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2016 09:04:16 +0300
To: "www-validator@w3.org" <www-validator@w3.org>
Cc: "John E. Davey" <sixa369@mwt.net>
Message-ID: <b597002f-29b7-d26e-2d62-714454eaa9d8@cs.tut.fi>
4.7.2016, 11:53, Michael[tm] Smith wrote:

> "John E. Davey" <sixa369@mwt.net>, 2016-07-02 14:02 -0500:
>> Archived-At: <http://www.w3.org/mid/57780FE2.4050905@mwt.net>
>> This weekend, the validator at https://validator.w3.org/nu/ started issuing
>> a "warning" "recommending" the addition of this <html dir="ltr"
>> lang="en-US"> tag to my web pages.

That’s a very strange warning. Exactly how can this situation be 
reproduced? Testing with a dummy valid HTML5 document, with no dir or 
lang attribute, I get no such warning.

> You can safely ignore the warning.

I’d rather understand what is going on. A warning that suggests using a 
lang attribute on the <html> element would be useful and would reflect 
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) recommendations, and it should not be 
ignored. But I have not seen such a warning, and I would be rather 
surprised at seeing a warning that suggests specifically declaring the 
language to be US English. A warning that suggests a dir="ltr" attribute 
on the <html> element would be odd, since it would just confirm the default.

There was recently another post that quoted the following warning:

*Warning*: This document appears to be written in English. Consider
     adding |lang="en"| (or variant) to the |html| element start tag.

That makes more sense, but it too is odd. (Explicitly declaring the 
language would be most useful when the content language *cannot* be 
detected programmatically with high reliability using the tools of 
Google and friends.)

It seems to me that there have been some experimental changes in the 
validator, doing some natural language guessing and making suggestions 
on lang attributes. And my guess is that these experiments were then 
removed from the production version, after causing some confusion.

>> I need to know if this is going to remain a warning and recommendation or if
>> you plan on turning this into an error
> It will not be turned into an error.
>> or what...and why?
> Because the HTML spec does not define it as an error.

It does not currently do that, but I don’t think there’s really any 
guarantee that it won’t be changed. I would not even be surprised if the 
lang attribute were made mandatory on the <html> element. I could list a 
dozen reasons to do so (and a few reasons against it).

Received on Tuesday, 5 July 2016 06:04:47 UTC

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