[whatwg] [web-apps] 2.7.8 The i element

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Sat Apr 16 16:27:50 PDT 2005

Ian Hickson wrote:
>>>yet there is something very different about that one -- it's the title 
>>>of another work. I'd like to be able to style all such titles 
>>>consistently, so they have to be marked up in some way.
>>In that case, would you want to differentiate between ordinary titles 
>>and real citations?  Or is that something that the class attribute could 
>>handle, if needed?
> I don't know. What do people think?

I think distinguishing between ordinary titles and real citations is 
untenable, because there's not a workable dividing line. Consider these 

1.  <p>My favorite book is <cite>The reality
     dysfunction</cite> by Peter F. Hamilton. It begins: <q>Space
     outside the attack cruiser <something>Beezling</something> tore open
     in five places.</q></p>

3.  <p>My favorite book is <somethingelse>The reality
     dysfunction</somethingelse> by Peter F. Hamilton.</p>

Why should the title markup have suddenly changed? Do you expect the 
editor of an online magazine's book reviews department, for example, to 
have the presence of mind to change the title markup in the first 
paragraph of a review if she happens to excise the last quote from 
somewhere else in the review?

And where's the dividing line? Is this appropriate, for example?

2.  ...
     <title>Review: The reality dysfunction (page 1)</title>
     <p>Peter F. Hamilton's <cite>The reality dysfunction</cite> is a
     massive undertaking, perhaps too massive. It's not that it's 592
     pages in the paperback edition, but...</p>
     <!-- There happen to be no quotes on this page, but the author
     doesn't know that ahead of time, because it's a CMS that's splitting
     his review into pages. -->
     <nav><a rel="next"...>→ Page 2</a></nav>

     <title>Review: The reality dysfunction (page 2)</title>
     <!-- the rest of the review -->
     <p>From the first sentence — <q>Space outside the attack
     cruiser <something>Beezling</something> tore open in five
     places</q> — to the last, this book will keep you on the edge
     of your seat.</p>

You're already very very lucky if an author bothers to use <cite> 
instead of <i>, since they get zero presentational benefit from doing 
so. Let's not make it harder.

Matthew Thomas

More information about the whatwg mailing list