[whatwg] lede element

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Dec 12 01:40:12 PST 2007

I read all the e-mails quoted below, and my conclusion is that <lede> or 
<lead> is not compelling enough to warrant its own element. It's also not 
_that_ common -- a sample of a dozen or so news sites indexed by Google 
News for the keyword "first lego league" just now didn't find any articles 
with leads (though a wider search did find a couple that had summary 
paragraphs before the article itself, which could arguably be taken to be 
lead paragraphs).

I think that <b> is actually the right element to use here -- "a span of 
text to be stylistically offset from the normal prose without conveying 
any extra importance". I've added an example to the spec that shows how to 
do this.

On Mon, 1 Oct 2007, Devi Web Development wrote:
> The lede element is an inline element useful for signifying the lede in 
> a document. It is commonly used term in journalism for the opening 
> sentence or two which introduces the article. More detailed description 
> can be found at 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_style#Terms_and_structure
> Usage Case:
> <h1>Burmese monks 'to be sent away'</h1>
> <p><lede>Thousands of monks detained in Burma's main city of Rangoon 
> will be sent to prisons in the far north of the country, sources have 
> told the BBC.</lede> About 4,000 monks have been rounded up in the past 
> week as the military government has tried to stamp out pro-democracy 
> protests. They are being held at a disused race course and a technical 
> college. Sources from a government-sponsored militia said they would 
> soon be moved away from Rangoon...

On Tue, 2 Oct 2007, Rachid Finge wrote:
> The term 'lede' is more commonly spelled as 'lead' by journalists 
> throughout the world. It seems like a sensible idea, although I'm 
> wondering why you added the P element in your example.

On Tue, 2 Oct 2007, Richard Conyard wrote:
> Whilst I can see the removal of the span, in your example where would it 
> differ from a strong (apart from strong being semantically recognised). 
> Is there really enough of a need here to create a new element rather 
> than using existing patterns of <span class=""> or strong / em styled 
> with CSS to achieve the same result?

On Tue, 2 Oct 2007, Stijn Peeters wrote:
> Anyway, I think this is a sensible idea indeed. I suppose the <lede> 
> element would be used inside a <p> element, surrounding the first 
> sentence or so, as a lead/lede is different from (or, as far as I know, 
> a part of) the first paragraph.

On Wed, 3 Oct 2007, Thomas Broyer wrote:
> That's my opinion too. An <article> would start with a <header> 
> containing its title, author, publication date, followed by the <lede> 
> (inside a <p> for a lede, or as a block-level container for a nut graf) 
> and then the article body. The lede/nut graf could eventually be 
> included in the <header> instead of following it (à la Libération.fr).

On Wed, 3 Oct 2007, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> In that example from BBC News, the paragraph is actually four 
> paragraphs. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7022437.stm> BBC 
> News always puts a <B> element around the first paragraph of a story. 
> But they also bolden the second paragraph, if it's explaining the source 
> of the story: <B>...<P>...</B>. 
> <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7018411.stm>
> So to satisfy the use case of the BBC, <lede> would need to be a block 
> element. I haven't found any examples where it would be an inline 
> element.
> My local newspaper uses a similar pattern: <p><strong>...</strong></p>. 
> <http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/nelsonmail/4223173a6510.html> (To future 
> readers: this link probably will have died in a few months.)
> Same with ZDNet News, who forget the <p> tags entirely: <b>...</b>. 
> <http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6211357.html>
> Except where BBC News boldens the second paragraph, these examples could 
> all be satisfied by CSS to select the first paragraph inside the article 
> container. I doubt any news site would deliberately make the lede a 
> paragraph other than the first one ("burying the lede") *and* want it 
> specially formatted.

On Wed, 3 Oct 2007, Thomas Broyer wrote:
> AFAIK, Libération (a French newspaper) uses one-sentence-long ledes,
> and puts them right between the title and author of the article. The
> lede is also used as a summary for the article on the main page.
> <http://www.liberation.fr>
> It could be "somewhat transparent", used either as a container for 
> block-level elements or as the first child of a block-level element, 
> containing significant inline content.

On Tue, 2 Oct 2007, Devi Web Development wrote:
> The proposal was purely for the sake of semantics. A <span class="lede"> 
> styled appropiately via CSS works and looks fine. The element would 
> obviously add no functionality. However, I though that this element 
> would add more semantic richness and would be useful to news aggregators 
> in particular as an alternative to using the first sentence (Google), 
> the first paragraph (Yahoo) or the meta description(bbc).

On Tue, 2 Oct 2007, Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
> On the Microformats mailing list, there was discussions about summaries 
> at one time.  (I think it was when hAtom was being discussed.)
> At one time there was a proposal to use class-summary for marking the 
> summary of an article.
> You could even use multiple instances of class-summary... and have the 
> summary be a concatenation of all there (with spaces or something in 
> between... maybe with ellipses too).
> For example...
> <p class="summary">
>     Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.
> </p>
> <p>
>     Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod
> tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. <span class="summary">Ut
> enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut
> aliquip</span> ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in
> reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla
> pariatur. <span class="summary">Excepteur sint occaecat</span> cupidatat non
> proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
> </p>
> Notice that 3 things in there are marked with class-summary.
> So then the summary might be something like...
> <p>
>     Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.
> </p>
> <p>
>     Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi
> ut aliquip ... Excepteur sint occaecat
> </p>
> Or...
> <p>
>     Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. ... Ut enim ad
> minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ...
> Excepteur sint occaecat
> </p>
> Depending on how you want to render it.

On Sat, 6 Oct 2007, Elliotte Harold wrote:
> I'm not sure if this proposal crosses the threshold of usefulness to 
> enough people, but I could certainly use it myself. Some of the ugliest 
> XSLT I've ever written exists primarily to extract unmarked-up leads 
> from paragraphs. I'm inclined to support the idea (however it's 
> spelled).

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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