[whatwg] the cite element

Gordon P. Hemsley gphemsley at gmail.com
Tue Oct 6 12:52:49 PDT 2009

(I'm ignoring all of the unproductive back-and-forth that has occurred
thus far. This is meant to start the discussion off fresh.)

I was discussing the <cite> element with TabAtkins on IRC and I
proposed analyzing the actual word 'cite'. Using it as a verb, the
definition of 'cite' applies to quotes/quotations, titles, and people,
depending on the context. TabAtkins noted that the first use case is
so far off of legacy implementations, that it wouldn't even be worth
considering for <cite> (especially because we have other elements that
function as such).

That leaves usages of 'cite' for both titles of works and authors of
works. Putting aside the issue of styling for a moment, these two
pieces of data both fall under the semantic meaning of 'cite'. Thus,
they should fall under the semantic meaning of <cite>. If an author
should have the need to differentiate between the two, I propose that
they use <cite class="title"> and <cite class="author">.

Thus, I propose the following (which TabAtkins generally agrees with):

Leave the default styling of <cite> to be italicized for legacy
implementations and allow any reference to any work or author, with
the granularity decided by the individual web developer.

I also propose allowing parenthetical citations and footnote markers
(as is used in the various W3C/WHATWG specifications) to also be
marked up with <cite>, though I'm not sure if TabAtkins agrees with me
on that point.

I hope this message can help bring the discussion back to a neutral
zone that will lead to an amicable resolution of this long debate.


Gordon P. Hemsley
me at gphemsley.org

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