[whatwg] De-emphasis

Nicholas Shanks contact at nickshanks.com
Thu Feb 8 11:09:24 PST 2007

So there have been a number of complaints that the only way to de- 
emphasize something is via <small>. I am one such complaining voice.  
There have been several suggested solutions proposed too. I would  
like to give my opinions on a few of those:

<em level="-1"> or similar attribute

My concern here is whether this is supposed to be an absolute or  
relative value. Would <em level="3"><em level="-1">this</em></em>  
result in an emphasis level of 2 (relative) or −1 (absolute). What  
would level="+3" mean?

<de-em>, <de-emph>, <subdue> or other new element

I think a new element would be better, but the English language seems  
to lack an antonym for "emphasis".
Short of proposing a new word (“antiphasis" ?) and deriving an  
element from that I'm not sure there's anything that would be suitable.

Antiphasizing: the act of coughing over or mumbling something you say  
when you don't want others to hear it. ;-)

Repurposing an existing element

I don't think there's anything that would be suitable. Using <small>  
would give the wrong impression to HTML authors.

Does anyone else have better ideas?

- Nicholas.
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