[whatwg] sic element
Jukka K. Korpela
jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Tue May 3 02:52:11 PDT 2011
Ian Hickson wrote:
> I think we use "[sic]" as a way for one human to tell another human
> that they are aware that the text has a mistake but that keeping the
> mistake was intentional, so that the other human won't tell the first
> to fix the problem. For this, plaintext "[sic]" seems to solve the problem
> quite adequately.
I think it is more common to use "[sic]" or "[!]" or some similar plain text
annotation to inform the _reader_ that some spelling is intentional, so that
he won't regard it as an error in a quotation and won't wonder whether the
text is corrupted. It might also be used to draw attention to a spelling
that deviates from the normal.
I don't think such annotations deserve a markup element. There are many
kinds of annotations that might be regarded as metadata, for which some
markup could be used, for various reasons, but there is little evidence of
practical benefits that would be gained by such markup in HTML.In the
future, if such evidence is presented, new design decisions might be made,
but then it would be best to consider various annotatíons in general and
pick up the types for which markup really produces useful effects.
But I'm afraid we cannot completely put aside the issue. The reason is that
recently the <u> element was promoted from obsolete physical markup to
conforming semantic markup, though with semantics that really confuses me:
"The u element represents a span of text with an unarticulated, though
explicitly rendered, non-textual annotation, such as labeling the text as
being a proper name in Chinese text (a Chinese proper name mark), or
labeling the text as being misspelt."
So the question "which markup should I use to indicate a word as
intentionally misspelt?" is currently "the <u> element". Misspelling is a
relatíve concept, and e.g. old spellings of words, though not really errors,
might be regarded as misspellings in modern texts. Perhaps the same might
apply to unusual spellings. So <u> would cover much of the common use of
This sounds somewhat unnatural, though, since in the absence of stylesheet
rules for <u>, and when styles are disabled, <u> is rendered as underlined
in visual presentation. This tends to draw attention more than is desirable
in most situations.
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