[whatwg] sic element

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Fri Jul 29 14:26:02 PDT 2011

29.07.2011 23:56, Ian Hickson wrote:

>> 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.
> The physical line is an annotation. It's just not articulated.

I think you are using the word "annotation" to mean something different 
from "a note added by way of comment or explanation" 
(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annotation). What would an 
annotation be without a note - without a comment or explanation?

>> 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.
> Doomed in what sense?

People won't take it seriously or, perhaps worse still, some people 
think they understand it and will start using <u> for something they 
regard as annotations. This implies that the default rendering is 
underlined, creating confusion with links.

There's nothing to be gained from adopting this new semantics for <u>. 
The suggested semantics has no solid ground on which browsers or search 
engines or other software could build their actions on.

> If you are concerned that people are going to use it
> for a different meaning that it has, then the whole language suffers from
> this problem

I'm not really concerned that way - rather, redefinition of <u> is an 
unnecessary complication to the language. I'm more concerned that some 
people may actually try to use <u> by the spec and cause confusion.

> If it's ok if it's entirely ignored, then it's presentational, and not
> conveying any useful information.

Presentational markup may convey useful information, for example that a 
quotation from printed matter contains an underlined word. Underlining 
also has specialized usage e.g. in some transliteration systems.

> A different
> voice, inflexion, auditory icons -- there are lots of ways of conveying
> this kind of thing in speech, just like there is in the visual medium.

I can't imagine how e.g. different voice would convey the meaning of an 
"annotation" that does not attach any note to anything.

> If you interpret the spec as saying that <u> is underline and it's fine to
> use it as before then you are misreading the spec.

I'm saying that people will keep treating it as underline, except for 
some souls that will get confused and won't know what it is.

It would be _so_ much simpler to keep <u>, <i>, <b> as physical markup, 
like they have always been and will actually be used. If you wish to say 
that authors must not use them, then say so (but it won't have much 
effect). It seems that there's the issue of wanting to disallow them 
(because they're physical markup) and wanting to allow them (because 
programs generate them). That might be a tricky situation, but trying to 
rescue them by artificial redefinitions can't possibly be the right way.

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

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