[whatwg] Element-related feedback; attribution element

Jim Jewett jimjjewett at gmail.com
Fri May 14 17:20:13 PDT 2010

In http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2010-March/025549.html
with a subject of "Element-related feedback", Ian Hixie quoted me and

>On Fri, 1 Jan 2010, Jim Jewett wrote:
>>     Evil Lawyer:  So, when did you stop beating your wife?
>>     Defendant:  Never!
>> "Evil Lawyer" and "Defendant" aren't pronounced.  Their meanings (and
>> silence) are deduced from English conventions about punctuation.  I
>> would prefer a semantic tag.

> Why? What problem would a semantic tag solve? The default styling here
> seems to not need any particular element; the above is perfectly
> understandable as is as far as I can tell.

For written output, yes, the convention works.

Ideally, a screen reader should *not* read the attribution labels --
but it should use them to switch voices.

>> I'm expecting [scripts] to do something like increase the font size or
>> change the background for lines *I* have to memorize for *my* character
>> [based on the semantic marked in the page identifying the character], or
>> for cue lines that I have to recognize.

> Are there any examples of this in the wild? Since this is technically
> possible today, if it's a use case important enough that we should address
> it, it should be easy enough to find examples of this.

> I'm very reluctant to provide features for hypothetical problems that
> don't stem from a real market need. (If we start solving such problems, we
> would fast find ourselves on the path to feature bloat.)

I haven't acted much since finding the internet.  I have seen plenty
of printed scripts in which this was done manually with a highlighter
for rehearsals.  I would expect today's equivalent to be done at time
of printing, rather than by a helpful web site.

So the need is there; the question is whether the need is too
specialized (like the various poetry elements) ... if the only use
were scripts, I would say that it was too specialized, but I would
also use it for photo credits (the italicized captions), etc.  Whether
that then makes it too much of a catchall element -- maybe.

>> > You're still not saying why you want this element. What would <attrib>
>> > be good for? What UI would it trigger? How would users or authors
>> > benefit?

(Per above, the UI would change voices in a screen  reader, and could
be used as a hook for user style sheets in scripts.)

>> I would expect it to be used in License checkers that some organizations
>> would deploy to ensure they aren't violating copyright.

> Wouldn't the Work microdata vocabulary be a better solution to this
> problem?

Possibly.  I find that more complicated, but the precision may be
worth the complication.

>> I would expect it to be used by some scrapers looking for stock photos.

> I'm not sure what you mean. Wouldn't fingerprinting the photos be more
> effective?

I was thinking of scrapers acting on behalf of a consumer --
collecting a bunch of photos that you would be allowed to use.

>> I would expect it to be used with custom CSS for some users, who are
>> really looking for a model or photographer rather than an existing
>> photograph.

> I don't understand this case. Can you elaborate? Maybe an example of this
> use in the wild would help.

Some of the original <cite> examples from the wild were really credits
-- they listed the photographer and the model.  Plenty of model and
photographer websites are largely devoted to finding each other; I
assume that this is because photographers are looking to find (and
then contact) models with a particular look, while models are looking
to be photographed by photographers skilled in a certain style.
Again, this seems like a fairly specialized need, but I've seen in on
several sites, and it again gets met by an attribution or credits

[On why <cite> should really be read as <title_of_work>, but still
called <cite> for historical reasons]

> > > Why would it be wrong to have an element to style titles [for titles
>> > of works]?

>> Turning around your favorite question, what is the semantic value?

> It provides a way to have appropriate default styling (italics, in the
> visual medium) for a typographic feature that is widely used, while
> allowing it to be easily restyled independent of other uses of italics.
> This is the same benefit <em>, <strong>, <mark>, etc, have.

I think "title of work" is itself a fairly rare case.  Normally, it is
enough to just put it in quotes or italics.  The times when you care
that it is a title aren't really more common than the times that you
care about attribution.


More information about the whatwg mailing list