[whatwg] small tag (was De-emphasis)

David Latapie david at empyree.org
Fri Feb 9 06:41:06 PST 2007

On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 09:21:22 -0500, David Walbert wrote:
> This side comment is already de-emphasized, because it is in 
> parentheses -- the standard print convention (in English, at least) 
> for de-emphasizing text within the flow of other text. Since there is 
> already a typographical marker of de-emphasis, the <small> tag would 
> have added value only to a machine (if it would even then), and if I 
> wanted text to appear in parentheses I wouldn't also wrap it in a tag 
> -- just as I'd use either quotation marks or the <q> tag, but not 
> both. In this case the parentheses and <small> tag are not 
> technically redundant, but they're awfully close.

Nicholas Shank suggested earlier CSS-generated parentheses - and Jukka 
Korpela suggested some years ago the same for sentences: 
"sentence:first-letter {text-transform:uppercase;sentence:after 
{content:"."}"). This two are interesting concepts (bringing semantics 
to the next step) and your questionning regarding parenthesis is 
related to this.

In fact, parentheses was my main problem when it came to <small> (and 
to <samp> too - I usually go that way <samp>(foo)</samp>).

> In this last example, the small element is marked as being important 
> small print.
> <p><strong><small>Continued use of this service will result in a 
> kiss.</small></strong></p>
> Since there's no context given, I can't comment.

This is in the draft

> Even if <small> has 
> semantics, it sounds from the name like it is purely presentational.

Indeed. The "<small> as in 'SMALL-print important stuff'" argument does 
not convince me much
> I admit I don't know how <small> is used in the wild -- can anyone 
> enlighten me? If the examples in the spec are typical, I'd suggest 
> that some kind of microformat for legal text might be more 
> appropriate than a "small print" element.

<small> is by far used for purely presentational considerations 
</david_latapie>             U+0F00
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