[whatwg] 'Main Part of the Content' Idiom

Simpson, Grant Leyton glsimpso at indiana.edu
Fri Jun 4 10:18:06 PDT 2010

But wouldn't we create a situation where the main content tag is misused and essentially then we'd recreate the situation with <body>?


On Jun 4, 2010, at 12:39 PM, Daniel Persson wrote:

I am not advocating ad-tags. The idea of globally structuring content on the web is very appealing, it would make it easier for a lot of things and a lot of people. Let's do it!
...but I can't see it happening where <body> would be main content + ads + anything there is not a sensible tag for + anything a lazy/stressed/unconscious author didn't tag otherwise. Let's just have a main content tag or a strong main content strategy.


On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 6:07 PM, Ashley Sheridan <ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk<mailto:ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk>> wrote:
On Fri, 2010-06-04 at 18:03 +0200, Daniel Persson wrote:
Some websites are very crowded. I have no particular example. Blogs and easily accessible CMS's, people trying to make a buck from excessive advertising on their site, people cramming a lot of info/screen unit. Companies too, old media: http://www.aftonbladet.se/ (major Swedish paper, watch your eyes) . <body> will hold a lot of stuff that is not main content, other content will spill over into <body> (unless there is a conscious author, and vast use of <aside>).
It should be easy for authors to define main content. It s a pedagogical issue, where authors not too concerned with standards compliance, should have an easy escape of at least defining the most important on the site.


On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 5:10 PM, Ashley Sheridan <ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk<mailto:ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk>> wrote:

On Fri, 2010-06-04 at 17:05 +0200, Daniel Persson wrote:
If i view the html-web as it is now, inside <body> there are so much irrelevant content (where else to put it?). In order for <body> to be the main content, there has to be tags for everything else. This will be very hard for authors to implement (I am talking real world, amateur, do-it-yourself, stressed professionals). It is IMHO very beautiful code-wise, and organisationally, to state that everything in <body> is main content, but it will not benefit a structurally marked-up web.


On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 4:37 PM, Ashley Sheridan <ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk<mailto:ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk>> wrote:

On Fri, 2010-06-04 at 16:27 +0200, Daniel Persson wrote:
I am the one posting the question on the help list. To me, the lack of html5 definition of main content, ie body copy in paper publishing, is a big mistake. Imagine the amount of sites where "everything else" includes a lot of unimportant extra, or peripheral, content. Content which is not necessarily hierarchically legible by a machine. Getting authors to be disciplined about defining main content is more important than being disciplined about <nav>, <footer>, <header>, <section> etc, in order not to negate the meaning of html5 structural mark-up.

Suggestion <bodycopy>... or, preferred, <bread>.


On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 1:55 PM, Smylers <Smylers at stripey.com<mailto:Smylers at stripey.com>> wrote:
The HTML5 spec should define how to mark up the main content on a page
(even if the answer is "by omission"). This is something that many
authors ask about, the latest example being today's thread on the help
mailing list:

Please could this be added to the 'idioms' section, perhaps giving
examples of when <article> or <section> might be appropriate as well as
one in which the main content is simply that which isn't in <header>,
<aside>, etc.



It's my understanding that everything within the <body> tag is considered body content, and the new <header> and <footer> tags, etc, are just there to give more meaning about the type of body content.


The fact that there is so much irrelevant content inside the <body> tag is because some people consider that body content. Do you have a more specific example of this?


I believe there was a proposal for an <advert> tag purely for adverts (I don't remember where I heard it) but it wasn't a realistic idea. If we could easily identify content we didn't want to see, and could strip it out before it even got to our browser, what incentive would people have to use it if the adverts are their only source of revenue? As such, it's not very feasible to distinguish between different types of content, and even if there were tags, a lot of people wouldn't use them because it would have a negative impact.


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