[whatwg] Feeedback on <dfn>, <abbr>, and other elements related to cross-references

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Mon Apr 21 10:20:46 PDT 2008

On Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 4:15 AM, Jens Meiert <jens at meiert.com> wrote:

> > The point of <abbr> is to expand the acronym, not to just mark up what
> is
> > an acryonym or abbreviation.
> Doesn't this claim that the general information that some text is an
> abbreviation (w/o an expanded form) is basically useless? And is
> "<abbr>ISS</abbr>" not more useful since less ambiguous than "ISS"
> (same abbreviation) and "ISS" (German imperative for "to eat" in
> capitals), and be it just for AT, pronunciation and a scent of
> semantics?
I'd agree that it *is* basically useless.  You can infer that something is
an acronym from context - that's how we operate when reading anything else,
after all!

The ambiguity of some acronyms with actual words is, I would think, far less
of a problem than the ambiguity of honest-to-god homographs in our natural
languages, which we can generally deal with just fine.

Plus, who actually wants to mark up every instance of an abbreviation?
That's a ton of work for next to no reward, and apparently isn't something
that can be automated (since there are conflicts between abbreviations and
actual words).  Mark it up once to expand it, and if you want to refer to
the original abbreviation again, give it an id and link to it.

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