[whatwg] the cite element
ian at hixie.ch
Fri Jun 5 00:53:47 PDT 2009
On Wed, 3 Jun 2009, Andrew W. Hagen wrote:
> The cite element should be slightly changed. Under this proposal, the
> cite element should be used only for titles of works, but may be used
> for other things that web authors may wish to cite. This conforms with
> how the cite element is used in practice.
> In the current HTML 5 specification, the cite element can only represent
> a title of a work. This has several negative implications. First, it
> goes against what the word "cite" means. The common English usage of the
> word "cite" includes making reference to non-titular authorities. For
> example, a writer may cite Aristotle. See
> Furthermore, the current restriction makes the cite element useless for
> works which do not have a title. See a list of such works at
> Trying to enforce a "titles-only" rule for the cite element is
> impossible. The best that can be done is for small bands of advocates to
> ringingly criticize any web author who breaks the rule. That is herding
> cats. It is not as if browsers will refuse to render <cite
> style="font-style: normal">Lincoln</cite> or that validators can
> distinguish that from Gore Vidal's <cite>Lincoln</cite> (a historical
> novel). The restrictive rule cannot be enforced.
> Finally, HTML 5 has a broad definition for some elements, such as kbd.
> The kbd element can represent any form of user input, even if it is not
> made with a keyboard. In current-work, one example is given of
> <kbd><kbd>Shift</kbd>+<kbd>F3</kbd></kbd> for Shift+F3, even though in
> that keyboard chord, the user would not actually input the "+" character
> on the keyboard. It is so broadly defined that
> <kbd>Shift</kbd>+<kbd>F3</kbd> would also be valid. Some elements, like
> kbd, are very broad.
> Logical consistency cannot be perfectly maintained when specifying the
> next version of HTML, but it should be a goal, and we ought to regret a
> logical inconsistency between the cite element and elements like kbd.
> One is narrow. The other is broad. Broadening the definition of cite
> will not cause harm. It would only allow web authors to fully embrace
> the cite element.
> This solution is workable. The cite element's default style is italics
> in display mode, and this proposal would not change that. If a web
> author writes: <cite>Aristotle</cite>, the web author can live with it
> or re-style the cite element as desired.
> To conclude, slightly broadening the cite element would improve HTML.
I don't really understand what problem this is solving.
HTML4 actually defined <cite> more like what you describe above; we
changed it to be a "title of work" element rather than a "citation"
element because that's actually how people were using it.
I don't think it makes sense to use the <cite> element to refer to people,
because typographically people aren't generally marked up anyway. I don't
really see how you'd use it to refer to untitled works.
Thus, I don't really think it makes sense to make the change you propose.
Ian Hickson U+1047E )\._.,--....,'``. fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/ U+263A /, _.. \ _\ ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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