[whatwg] Citing multiple <blockquote> elements in HTML5

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Sun Nov 30 19:50:42 PST 2008

On Mon, 1 Dec 2008, Calogero Alex Baldacchino wrote:
> Ian Hickson ha scritto:
> > On Sun, 30 Nov 2008, Calogero Alex Baldacchino wrote:
> >   
> > > I'm not sure I'm understanding the whole function of the <cite> 
> > > element, and perhaps I'm bothering again with ids and references, 
> > > but the relationship between a <cite> and a quotation could be 
> > > disambiguated by coupling an id and a reference to that id.
> > 
> > Why is the ambiguity a problem?
> Well, it depends on the uses the <cite> element is targeted to. If the 
> 'only' purpose (and such can be enough) is to provide the semantics of a 
> citation in a media-independent manner and as well a stronger fashion 
> than a 'general purpose italic' can do, but regardless of the actual 
> subject taken from the cited source (which finds in the <blocquote> and 
> <q> elements a proper, independent semantics), the ambiguity shouldn't 
> be a problem: the end (human) user consuming the document should be able 
> to correctly relate the cited source to the quoted subject just by 
> extrapolating it from the surrounding prose, unless such text were 
> really unintelligible (but even in this case, disambiguation would be 
> out of the <cite> scope, with the above semantics).

I agree. The question is, is there any other purpose? So far, nobody has 
really made a compelling case that there is.

> Otherwise, if there were any good reason to explicitly relate the source 
> to the subject, or viceversa, i.e. to make it intelligible to a user 
> agent (perhaps a bot grouping and joining in one document all contents 
> taken from the same source, by parsing a series of articles? - surely 
> there must be some better ways to accomplish that, but perhaps such 
> could make sense for a somewhat purpose), then the ambiguity concern 
> might be addressed by the mean of a well defined relationship in terms 
> of html semantics. I just tried to suggest a solution to a concern I 
> thought you and Sam Kuper were discussing for some reason, since there 
> is no way to correctly define such a relationship in terms of relative 
> positions, as you pointed out.

I agree that if we wanted to make an explicit relationship, we could make 
one (e.g. using for="" on <cite>, or adding a second attribute to go along 
with cite="" on <blockquote> and <q>).

But it's not clear to me that it is useful enough to be worth it.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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