[whatwg] sic element

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Fri Jul 29 11:57:06 PDT 2011

29.07.2011 20:05, Ian Hickson wrote:

> The point is just
> that <u>  is used to explicitly annotate some text without saying why in a
> textual manner. This makes it quite distinct from [sic], which is an
> explicitly articulated annotation.

I fail to see how [sic] would be more explicit than underlining.

Anyway, aren't you saying that <u> says "this text is annotated but no 
annotation is given"? In that case, saying that <u> draws attention to 
its content might be more appropriate.

But the whole idea of transmogrifying the old <u> element, one of the 
simplest elements of traditional HTML, to some purportedly semantic 
element without saying what it _really_ means, is just doomed. Of 
course, it's not compatible with existing practice where <u> means 
underlining (and is therefore physical markup). But it also makes 
people's minds dizzy (to no avail) if they try to take the specs seriously.

I wonder what speech-based user agents are supposed to make out of <u>. 
The good old <u> is simple: you can either ignore it (saying that 
underlining has no recognizable meaning that could be conveyed in 
speech), or you can interpret it as some kind of emphasis, expressed by 
a change of voice somehow. But if the new <u> is supposed to be 
semantic, can it be ignored in speech? How do you express an explicit 
but completely unspecified "annotation"?

This really sounds like an odd game where HTML specs are meant to say to 
authors and to vendors of authoring software that they can keep using 
<u> as before (and pass validation), but when interrogated, they are 
supposed to tell that it does not mean underlining but... eh... explicit 
annotation without explicitly articulated annotation.

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

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