[whatwg] sic element

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Wed Aug 10 21:54:23 PDT 2011

11.08.2011 00:10, Bjartur Thorlacius wrote:

> On Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 5:42 AM, Jukka K. Korpela<jkorpela at cs.tut.fi>  wrote:
>> Bjartur Thorlacius wrote:
>> [...]
>> Please note that this isn't about favoring HTML over presentational markup
>> languages; none of the alternatives mentioned is a markup language at all.
> RTF, TeX and text/enriched are. Consider them before choosing HTML.

It's debatable and irrelevant in this context what RTF, TeX, and 
text/enriched are. The issue is whether HTML can express simple things 
like bolding in quoted material - or, rather, whether such simple 
expressivity is to be declared obsolete and an error (even though 
browsers are required to support it).

> The fact that speech renderings preserve neither bolding nor
> italicization implies that implementors have not interpreted <b>  and
> <i>  to mean bold and italics, respectively, but as hints as to
> appropriate visual renderings

Speech renderings cannot present bolding and italics at all, so the 
argument does not stand. It's not a matter of being hints versus 
essential markup but a matter of limitations of the medium.

> that happen to map quite reliably to aural renderings

No they don't, and speech renderings do not work consistently, even 
though some of them may, at least with some settings on, let <b> and <i> 
affect the rendering somehow. Bolding and italics are traditional 
devices of print typography, with multiple uses, and many of those uses 
(like italics for foreign words) do not involve any emphasis that should 
be expressed in speech.

> HTML was not designed for this, but could arguably be stretched to
> fulfill the use case, considering existing visual implementations.

This is not about stretching anything. The B and I elements were 
introduced at the same time as STRONG and EM, so they were clearly meant 
to have a different meaning, namely indication of physical presentation. 
The historical draft
says this clearly, and it says:

    Some of these styles are more explicit than others about how they
    should be physically represented.  The logical styles should be
    used wherever possible, unless for example it is necessary to refer
    to the formatting in the text. (Eg, "The italic parts are

> The preferred
> solution would be a new HTML-compatible markup language (say, a
> structural and presentational subset mandating a new doctype), or one
> of the existing typeset file formats.

It does not sound good to tell authors to move away from HTML to a 
completely different data format just because there is a need to express 
bolding. And regarding new markup languages, well, they can be designed 
if desired, but we would need to allow several years for delivery, and 
while waiting for that, can we just keep using the well-defined 
classical tags, please?

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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