[whatwg] <time> element feedback

Aryeh Gregor Simetrical+w3c at gmail.com
Wed Sep 1 09:22:35 PDT 2010

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 4:19 PM, Ashley Sheridan
<ash at ashleysheridan.co.uk> wrote:
> Because as I mentioned, content authors tend to be quite lazy, and leave default settings on. So lots of English people end up using American spelling, and American date formatting, because that's what their software does by default. I could find you 10 people who didn't know how to change this setting in MSWord for every one you found who did.
> However, I think readers should be given the choice still with this. If the content authors don't want their precious dates to be read as dates, then don't mark them up as such. A date should be something that can be understood by a variety of media, including search engines, screen readers, even as part of a web snippet that seems to be a popular thing at the moment. If it's in an ambiguous format then there's no point it even being marked up as a date at all.

I don't follow what you're saying.  How does this relate to
auto-rewriting dates according to user preference?  I don't think I
said anything about marking up dates, beyond that they should not be
rewritten according to user preference.

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Martin Janecke <whatwg.org at kaor.in> wrote:
> However, there's no need to make this unfavorable. The localized display of
> times and dates can be realized via tooltips for example, as it is often
> seen with abbreviations in texts. The localized date doesn't have to be a
> replacement for the original date string but can be a helpful, explaining
> addition.

In principle, I guess that would be harmless.  But returning to the
original point of this discussion, the question is whether
<time>2010</time> should be allowed.  I don't think "the browser could
add a localized tooltip" is a good use-case here, because it's not
obvious why users would actually want the browser to do so, and it's
not obvious that any implementer would be interested in making their
browser do so.

> Furthermore, browsers should not force a localized version upon their users.
> Users should be able to configure their prefered format, just as they can
> set a preferred language or a default charset.

This assumes that users actually choose their browser settings.  In
practice, most users have no idea how to reconfigure their browser;
they probably don't want to even if they do know how; they often use
other people's browsers; and if they did reconfigure the browser, it
might have been by mistake or long ago.  So you can't assume that the
browser configuration actually reflects what the user wants.  (This is
the basic idea behind programs that try to minimize configurability,
like Chrome, or indeed most Google products.)

On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 10:37 AM, Smylers <Smylers at stripey.com> wrote:
> Even so, that still doesn't help. You _also_ have to know whether the
> author just wrote the date in text or used the <time> element, in order
> to know whether your browser has already localized the date for you.

Right, I forgot that point.  So it's really just hopeless to try
rewriting dates like 12/1/2010.

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