[whatwg] De-emphasis

Mikko Rantalainen mikko.rantalainen at peda.net
Fri Feb 9 02:58:35 PST 2007

David Latapie wrote:
> On Thu, 8 Feb 2007 19:09:24 +0000, Nicholas Shanks wrote:
>> 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?
> • I'd say: *default is 0*, so you would end up with 2. This is both
> the most intuitive and the easier to implement, calculate, IMHO.
> • +3 is really like bolder or smaller: this is a relative value[1]
>> <de-em>, <de-emph>, <subdue> or other new element
> You meant tag ;-) This is my belief that, the less elements the
> better. Negative values for de-emphasis is easier to handle: only one
> element and sums go naturally (+1-2=-1). As I suggested earlier, the
> tag could be <emph> with <em> and <strong> as transitional (and
> convenient) shortcuts, respectively for <emph value="+1"> and <emph
> value="+2">
> And those who love highlighting text coulds use <emph value="+3"> ;-)

Please, how do you implement these features with CSS? I hope you're not 
suggesting to add a specialized code path to support just emphasis and 

I believe that <aside> and <small> are different from de-emphasis (that 
would be <dem> IMHO). However, the <dem> element wouldn't be that often 
used and it would be vital for it to be easily implemented. A new 
element with specified semantics and a simple default CSS style would be 
a nice choice. An example *implementation* could be a single CSS rule:

	dem { opacity: 0.8 }

How hard it would be to implement the behavior David described above? 
Take any existing UA as a base.

And why do I think that <aside> and <small> are different from <dem>? 
Because I think <aside> (or a footnote) is something you can safely 
ignore and is usually orthogonal to the rest of the content. <small> is 
something you usually skip but you must be aware of the content (e.g. a 
copyright or license boilerplate) - the key here is that the content is 
often repeated but if you have read it *once*, then you may skip it 
later. The <dem> would be something that you may skip without reading it 
once but which is not orthogonal to the rest of the content and as such 
shouldn't be considered equal to <aside>.

	<p>One should <em>never execute <code>rm -rf /</code>
	in a UNIX shell <dem>because doing so would remove
	everything in the system</dem></em>.</p>

Here I think that the explanation is also something that should be 
emphasized. However, the reader can safely ignore the explanation. I 
think that <dem> shouldn't be considered to be equal strength to <em> 
but something less. Logically it could be -0.5 emphasis.


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