[html5] Author of a quote - how to mark up?

Jacob Kristensen - (BlueBoden) admin at blueboden.com
Thu Aug 13 04:41:43 PDT 2009

Why do we need em and strong? I would say, an author element would be equally useful as em and strong. So if the author element isn't included, then why do we have em and strong?

The author element would mainly be useful for screen readers, other apps could easily be configured to detect a paragraph with its id set to something like "author", but i still think that it has its use.

The author element could work by defining the authorship of the parant block, it being either div (as a division), containing paragraphs of text headings and so on. This would be a useful way for screen readers, to easily read "the author of this is x".

It may also have other uses, but thats the only one i can think of currently. You should however note, that it likely would have more uses in the future, as people get better educated as of why and how to correctly markup their pages.

But for search engines? No, not with the current problems, because there's no way to tell if the author specified, actually is the real author. Designers could abuse this. But i see no reason why they would, unless it would effect their rankings, or allow them to get their content listed under the wrong author name, a more recognised author perhaps?

Then again, i see no reason why search engines would use the element, it could be useful to enable "search by author", but it would require to much to get around current problems. I.e. How do we actually know that the author specified is the author?

Google currently has the ability to "search by author", this is done by quoteing the search string, or putting a plus in front of it. Sometimes it work, sometimes you get wrong results. For instance, i got an account on Yahoo Answers with the name "BlueBoden", if you search for that name on Google, then you get all sorts of duplicated results, mainly sites ripping my answers from Yahoo, some even mess with my original answers. That should show you just how useful the author element is for search engines.

The only way to get around that, would be to hold some kind of database with hashes generated from the content of the author. This would again create smaller problems, such as, should we generate the hash just from the content, or should we include markup?

Finally what do we really gain from all this: The ability to determine authorship for content written by authors who use the database.
Or in the case where the element is used without the database, and used correctly: The ability for screen readers to tell who was the author of a division, section, or whatever..

My conclusion: It currently isn't worth the effort..

But feel free to setup the Database, i'd might even check it out if search engines start to use it to avoid indexing stolen content.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Samer Ziadeh 
  To: Ian Hickson 
  Cc: help at lists.whatwg.org 
  Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 12:05 PM
  Subject: Re: [html5] Author of a quote - how to mark up?

  Can't we just suggest new elements to be added to the specifications to handle such issues. Something like an 'author' tag.
  We need to think past what programmes and search engines are capable of now, and have something for when they implement such features.
  Having web authors still implement micro formats after the release of the latest version would make it useless, and would not be helpful to search engines either as they would need to keep up with the inconsistent techniques used by different authors to implement such a solution. 

  Samer Ziadeh

  "Let It Be"


  Help mailing list
  Help at lists.whatwg.org
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