[whatwg] Using <em> for Meta-Content

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Jul 13 04:22:15 PDT 2009

On Thu, 18 Jun 2009, Smylers wrote:
> HTML 5 currently defines <em> as being for "stress emphasis of its 
> contents", noting that:
>   The placement of emphasis changes the meaning of the sentence.  The
>   element thus forms an integral part of the content.
>     -- http://www.whatwg.org/html5#the-em-element
> I'm not sure this definition is wide enough to encompass the use that 
> HTML 5 itself puts <em> to, using it for the "This section is 
> non-normative" bits at the start of sections, such as:
>   http://www.whatwg.org/html5#introduction

That shouldn't be <em>. I've changed those to <i> in the spec.

> This meta-content use seems similar to an article by a guest author 
> being prefaced by an italicized paragraph from a regular author 
> introducing the guest.  Or editoral comments inserted into somebody 
> else's work, which are often in square brackets and italics as well as 
> having "- Ed" at the end.  Mainly it's just indicating some kind of 
> separation from the main text.

Yup. <i> is appropriate for those -- it's a different voice.

On Fri, 19 Jun 2009, Nils Dagsson Moskopp wrote:
> > 
> > I suggest that either the definition of <em> is broadened to include 
> > this sense, or these normativity designators are instead marked up 
> > with something like <i class=normativity> or <i class=other>.
> I suggest broadening the <small> element, mainly because it is already 
> spec'd to contain some kind of meta-information (legal text).

<small> is more for side comments than a different voice.

> Editorial comments can be marked up using the <ins> element, as I 
> understand it.

<ins> would be for the actual change, rather than a note about the change.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
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