[whatwg] Should <address> be more general-purpose?

Simon Pieters zcorpan at gmail.com
Mon Feb 26 07:42:50 PST 2007

Posting this to the list so that it won't be forgotten.

 From http://forums.whatwg.org/viewtopic.php?t=5

| In HTML4, the <address> element was defined as this:
| | The ADDRESS element may be used by authors to supply contact
| | information for a document or a major part of a document such as a
| | form.
|  -- http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/global.html#edef-ADDRESS
| In WHATWG's HTML5, it's defined as this:
| | The address element represents a paragraph of contact information for
| | the section it applies to.
| |
| | ...
| |
| | The address element must not be used to represent arbitrary addresses
| | (e.g. postal addresses), unless those addresses are contact information
| | for the section.
|  -- http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#the-address
| This seems to be quite a rare scenario to have an element dedicated to.
| If it were more general, surely the element would become more useful?
| Somewhat like <dl> being used for more than just dictionary-like
| definitions.
| As examples (numbered for convenience):
|  * A general point of contact where messages would ultimately get passed
|    on to the person responsible for the section where the <address> was
|    found.
|  * People or departments responsible for more than that section.
|  * People or departments of the organisation the website is for, even if
|    they are not directly responsible for the section in which the
|    <address> occurs. (Example: Calthorpe Park School's contact page. [1])
|  * Member's profiles in forum and other social network systems, who have
|    limited control over that section. (They can edit their own contact
|    details and perhaps other personal information in that section, but
|    don't work for the website.)
|  * Providing contact details of any type for any person or organisation.
| It may also be more intuitive that an element with a fairly generic name
| like "address" have fairly generic semantics.
| Are there any implementations which rely on the current semantics?
| (AFAIK, there aren't.)
| So then, should <address> be more general-purpose? (I think it should,
| if you hadn't guessed!)
| [1] http://calthorpepark.hants.sch.uk/contact.htm

Simon Pieters

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