[whatwg] sic element, was: Re: Exposing spelling/grammar suggestions in contentEditable

Martin Janecke whatwg.org at kaor.in
Thu Dec 30 12:55:22 PST 2010

Am 30.12.2010 um 02:47 schrieb Ian Hickson:

> On Tue, 30 Nov 2010, Martin Janecke wrote:
>> I support this idea and I'd certainly use it. For example, I'm currently 
>> copying an old rhyme book to hypertext and would love to mark 
>> historically correct (but now incorrect) spelling, spelling 
>> intentionally done wrong for better rhyming (yes, people did this in the 
>> past) and unintentional errors from the book semantically. I think it is 
>> important to note where those errors are done intentional (by me, the 
>> publisher of the web page) in contrast to errors accidentally added by 
>> me that differ from the copied book.
> <mark> is the element for this purpose.

I don't think <mark> is appropriate for what I meant.

I as the publisher usually don't mean[1] to point a readers attention at spelling errors by someone I quote, I just want to be able to add semantic markup that identifies a part of text as deliberately published just the way it is published. Here's an example of a webpage quoting the US constitution http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Section_2:

"The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers"

I'd like to be able to code this as

"The House of Representatives shall <sic>chuse</sic> their Speaker and other Officers"

to record that I intentionally wrote "chuse", not "choose", as "chuse" is exactly what the constitution says. But I wouldn't highlight "chuse" to the reader. The fact that there's archaic spelling in the constitution is not what the page is about and irrelevant[1] to the common reader e.g. in context of learning about the US legislative branch, and hence not worth being marked with <mark>.

Using <mark> on the original author's spelling errors, idiosyncrasies etc. would often even distract[1] readers from what is to be expressed with a quote. Consider a reader who searches for the term "speaker" at http://en.wikisource.org/ -- clearly the term "speaker" is of major importance to him, "chuse" is not. The returned search result should look like this:

Constitution of the United States of America:
... House of Representatives shall <sic>chuse</sic> their <mark>Speaker</mark> and other Officers ...



[1] compare with http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/text-level-semantics.html#the-mark-element:

The mark element represents a run of text in one document marked or highlighted for reference purposes, <mark>due to its relevance</mark> in another context. When used in a quotation or other block of text referred to from the prose, it indicates a highlight that was not originally present but which has been added to <mark>bring the reader's attention</mark> to a part of the text that might not have been considered important by the original author when the block was originally written, but which is now under previously unexpected scrutiny. When used in the main prose of a document, it indicates a part of the document that has been highlighted <mark>due to its likely relevance</mark> to the user's current activity.

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