[whatwg] The blockquote element spec vs common quoting practices

Tantek Çelik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Thu Jul 14 13:48:18 PDT 2011

In agreement with Jeremy, I too have found the blockquote/q cite
attribute to be nearly as ignored as the longdesc attribute, despite
having conducted talks and written tutorials about how to use the
cite="" attribute (makes me think that the non-visible-effect-URL
attributes on elements should be considered an anti-pattern, evidenced
by the fact that they (cite, longdesc, profile etc.) have all failed
to get any meaningful uptake among web developers).

On slightly a more positive note:

On Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 12:35, Karl Dubost <karld at opera.com> wrote:
> Le 14 juil. 2011 à 14:59, Kevin Marks a écrit :
>> If I was writing a detector for this pattern, <a> followed by a colon
>> and  <blockquote> would do it pretty reliably...
> yup unfortunately there are also many cases where you have more names in an introducing paragraph. It is happening when I'm writing, and the issue is then to tie the right person with the right blockquote/q
> I like the pattern id/for pattern of forms. We could imagine
> <p>
> <span for="quoteA" class="author">Sir John Typo</span>
> has written plenty of a wonderful thing
> in <cite for="quoteA">Amazing title</cite> very similar to those in
> <span for="quoteB" class="author">Susan Spellchecker</span>'s writings
> <blockquote id="quoteA">
> […]
> </blockquote>
> compare to <cite for="quoteB">Amazing title</cite>
> <blockquote id="quoteB">
> </blockquote>

I really like this pattern.

<label for="input-id"> is a known working and in use pattern.

Thus I feel much more confident advocating use of the parallel:

<cite for="quote-id">

With one concern - multiple blockquotes. Thus the for attribute should
be a space separated set of IDREFs. E.g. this pattern (often seen on
blog posts analyzing articles and other blog posts)

<cite for="quote1 quote2">Some quoted title of a work</cite>
<blockquote id="quote1"> one quotation </blockquote>
<p> .. intervening commentary .. </p>
<blockquote id="quote2"> another quotation </blockquote>
<p> .. more commentary ..</p>

Though that example is vulnerable to bad copy/paste errors. It
requires two markup updates (done consistently) for each copy/paste: a
new id on each new blockquote, and having to update the original cite
element for each additional blockquote.

That example redone with today's cite attribute would be:

<cite id="cite1">Some quoted title of a work</cite>
<blockquote cite="#cite1"> one quotation </blockquote>
<p> .. intervening commentary .. </p>
<blockquote cite="#cite1"> another quotation </blockquote>
<p> .. more commentary ..</p>

which is then much more copy/paste proof if/when the author adds more
blockquotes from the same source that they're commenting on - fewer
bits of markup (none) to update.

So I don't know. Perhaps <cite for> handles the 80/20 one cite / one
quote case better and that's good enough to add it, and then perhaps
we keep the old cite="" attribute for the one cite / multiple quote


http://tantek.com/ - I made an HTML5 tutorial! http://tantek.com/html5

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