[whatwg] The m element

Mikko Rantalainen mikko.rantalainen at peda.net
Tue Feb 6 00:13:27 PST 2007

Sarven Capadisli wrote:
> re: http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#the-m
> Following is a conversation from #whatwg on freenode.
> <csarven> if anyone would like to explain the `m` element further, i'd
> appreciate it. couldn't get much info out of the whatwg Archives
> <zcorpan> you use it to mark text
> <csarven> 'mark' as in making the location of the content more
> significant then the rest?
> [...]
> <csarven> in those cases the marked text has no extra meaning other
> then how it would be viewed or interpreted. "highlighting does not
> change the reading of the text when you're reading straight through,
> it just helps you find the bits you should pay attention to." -
> http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2005-May/003946.html

Perhaps <m> should be considered as a special case of <em>. I would have 
to agree that semantic value of <m> over <em> is next to meaningless. I 
think that one usable definition between <m> and <em> would be that <m> 
is meant for highlighting content for a single user and <em> is meant 
for emphasizing stuff in general. That would limit usage of <m> to 
dynamically generated content only, though, and reserving such a short 
tag for that purpose only doesn't seem reasonable.

I'd rather suggest <em class="mark">, <em class="highlight"> or <em 

What's the deal with <em>, <strong> and <m> anyway? Why not just define 
that one should use nested <em>s for all the emphasis needed? What 
semantical value have <strong> or <m> to offer over nested <em>s? I hope 
that the answer is not "bolding" and "yellow background".


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