[whatwg] sic element

Silvia Pfeiffer silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 2 15:58:11 PDT 2011

On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:10 PM, Bjartur Thorlacius
<svartman95 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Şann şri  2.ágú 2011 09:04, skrifaği Henri Sivonen:
>> On Fri, 2011-07-29 at 22:39 +0000, Ian Hickson wrote:
>>>> Presentational markup may convey useful information, for example that a
>>>> quotation from printed matter contains an underlined word.
>>> HTML is the wrong language for this kind of thing.
>> I disagree. From time to time, people want to take printed matter an
>> publish it on the Web. In practice, the formats available are PDF and
>> HTML. HTML works more nicely in browsers and for practical purposes
>> works generally better when the person taking printed matter to the Web
>> decides that the exact line breaks and the exact font aren't of
>> importance. They may still consider it of importance to preserve bold,
>> italic and underline and maybe even delegate that preservation to OCR
>> software that has no clue about semantics. (Yes, bold, italic and
>> underline are qualitatively different from line breaks and the exact
>> font even if you could broadly categorize them all as presentational
>> matters.)
>> I think it's not useful for the Web for you to decree that HTML is the
>> wrong language for this kind of thing. There's really no opportunity to
>> launch a new format precisely for that use case. Furthermore, in
>> practice, HTML already works fine for this kind of thing. The technical
>> solution is there already. You just decree it "wrong" as a matter of
>> principle. When introducing new Web formats is prohibitively hard and
>> expensive, I think it doesn't make sense to take the position that
>> something that already works is "the wrong language".
> So you're arguing that a subset of HTML should be favored over
> presentational markup languages for marking up digital retypes of printed
> matter, with <b>, <i>, <u>, <font>, <small> and <big> be redefined to their
> HTML 3 typographical meanings. And perhaps <blockquote> standardized to mean
> indent.
> If you simply retype print without any interpretation of the typography
> used, a valid speech rendering would e.g. cue bold text with "bold" and
> "unbold" marks to convey the meaning: this text was bold. The current
> definition of <b> does not exactly hint at such renderings.
> If all you want is to suggest original typographic rendering, then (save for
> Excerpt/Blockquote, Nofill/Pre and Lang/@lang) CSS does the job, better -
> and is vastly more powerful.
>> I think the reason why Jukka and others seem to be confused about your
>> goals is that your goals here are literally incredible from the point of
>> view of other people. Even though you've told me f2f what you believe
>> and I want to trust that you are sincere in your belief, I still have a
>> really hard time believing that you believe what you say you believe
>> about the definitions of<b>,<i>  and<u>. When after discussing this
>> with you f2f, I still find your position incredible, I think it's not at
>> all strange if other people when reading the spec text interpret your
>> goals inaccurately because your goals don't seem like plausible goals to
>> them.
>> If if the word "presentational" carries too much negative baggage, I
>> suggest defining<b>,<i>  and<u>  as typographic elements on visual
>> media (and distinctive elements on other media) and adjusting the
>> rhetoric that HTML is a semantic markup language to HTML being a mildly
>> semantic markup language that also has common phrase-level typographic
>> features.
> The problem is that the facts that something was written underlined, spoken
> with a stress and that styles guides recommend underlining the text when
> printed to convey it's semantics are not all equal. They might all be
> conveyed in print by underlining the text, but the semantics differ and thus
> each needs an element of it's own. Much as authors must use <ol>, <ul> and
> <blockquote> to convey their defined meanings, even though some UAs might
> render all of them the same way.

I don't see why we need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. In
my mind,, HTML5 is good both for semantic markup (i.e. application
development) and for content presentation (i.e. document publication).
Some elements serve one purpose better than the other (such as <u>,
<b>, <i> being mostly presentational), others serve both purposes
equally (like <ul>, <ol>). It's been a mix from the start and both a
blessing and a curse. Trying to ignore that history will only give us
confused users, not better markup.


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