[whatwg] De-emphasis

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Feb 9 10:36:43 PST 2007

Jonathan Worent wrote:

> The argument that no-one would use it is pointless. There are plenty of elements in the spec right
> now that aren't likely to be used often, but they're still in the spec because they have merit. 

No, the argument that no one would use it is important. More elements => more 
complex spec which is harder to implement /and to use/. Making HTML harder to 
use is a real cost (compare HTML to e.g. Docbook) which needs to be outweighed 
by a benefit. As far as I can see, no-one has presented a convincing use case 
for a deemphasis element - certianly the most common argument has been "well we 
have emphasis so obviously we need deemphasis" which is a lousy justification. 
Unless there is some UA feature that would be enabled by such an element, and 
some evidence that people would use the element in the correct way in sufficient 
numbers to make the feature useful, the element should not exist. It is true 
that several existing HTML elements do not meet this criteria; that is IMHO an 
unfortunate piece of history that we need not replicate.

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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