[whatwg] De-emphasis

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Fri Feb 9 07:33:55 PST 2007

David Walbert wrote:

> As for parentheses, if the typical web author wants to insert
> parenthetical text and is writing in a language that uses parentheses,
> he/she will use parentheses. They're obvious, they're available from
> the keyboard. If one marked a piece of text as parenthetical using an
> HTML element, one would quite likely want it to be styled inside
> parentheses, and we all know how inconsistent CSS-generated content
> is. Few authors use the <q> tag, for the same reasons.


One can markup anything. But there are greater incentives for marking up
quotations than marking up parenthetical material (because correct
quotation punctuation is often ambiguous and/or impossible to type
directly into an HTML stream, and because one wants to do things with
quotations like retrieve the original source). The ultimate reason few
authors use the Q element is that it was poorly specified, above all in
that no requirement was laid upon user-agents to make use of its CITE
attribute and no mechanism was provided to connect a Q element with a
CITE element. This helped contribute to a situation where the most
widely used browser, Internet Explorer, has an exceptionally poor
implementation of Q. And that guaranteed that few or no WYSIWIG editors
have provision for Q and that almost no examples feature it. As a
result, the vast majority of authors are blissfully unaware of its
existence. Finally, because so much generalization is done about, and so
little actual testing done with, screen readers, few devotees of
semantic markup properly understand the accessibility implications of
using or not using Q, and avoid it because of their misunderstandings.

See http://www.benjaminhawkeslewis.com/www/accessibility/q-element for
more details.


Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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