[html5] Element for advisory, warning, or contingency note

Gordon Baker gbakerled at outlook.com
Sat Mar 1 09:32:28 PST 2014

I'm wondering what's the best way to mark up paragraphs related to advising, warning, FYIs, contingencies, etc. I'm talking about such paragraphs that typically are prefixed by the word "Note:" or "n.b.," and are stylized differently from surrounding text.
For example:
<ol> <li>Open the lid</li> <li>Place the sheet face down</li> <li>Press the copy button</li></ol>
Note: If the paper jams, then you'll need to... (blah, blah)

I've noticed that these types of notes frequently occur in the HTML spec itself, styled in bold green typeface. For example:
For short inline annotations, the title attribute could be used.
Note: Unfortunately, relying on the title attribute is currently discouraged as many user agents do not expose the attribute in an accessible manner as required by this specification (e.g. requiring a pointing device such as a mouse to cause a tooltip to appear, which excludes keyboard-only users and touch-only users, such as anyone with a modern phone or tablet).

In the spec, such notes are marked up as <p class="note"> or <div class="note">. Is this considered the correct way, or is there a more specific element that could be used.
Some candidates I thought might be possible are <strong>, <em>, <i>, <b>, and <aside>:
<strong> is described as having strong importance, seriousness, or urgency, and I don't think that fits these kinds of notes.<em> stress emphasis just doesn't seem to fit<i> this could work, in that it's described as "a span of text offset from the normal prose". But this element (also <strong> and <em>) are phrasing content, so can it be used to mark up an *entire* paragraph?<b> "attention is being drawn for utilitarian purposes". Again, it's phrasing content so it seems to be intended for use on a phrase rather than a paragraph. But it's semantics seems to "kind of" fit.<aside> I find it hard to say if advisory notes are tangentially related to surrounding content -- I would tend to think not. Also, <aside> is a sectioning element, and I don't think an advisory note is a different section.
Any thoughts?
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