[whatwg] <comment> and <ad> elements

Rand McRanderson therandshow at gmail.com
Sun Sep 4 12:41:15 PDT 2011

I could say from a robots perspective, a comment tag might be useful since users sometimes want the option to view comments but not necessarily that as a default. 

For example many blogs/cmses offer a comment feed, also many news articles will have a default of no comments with a trigger to show comments. Also consider Discus as a model where comments and content are separated.

But I think from an author's perspective a "comment" tag would be confusing (they might think this is a revival of the ie method). The "commentary" tag might work, though it is a long tag + I feel like commentary implies something longer and more formal than a comment on the web. However, I can't think of any intuitive, more concise tag names.

- John Thomas

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Today's Topics:

   1. <comment> and <ad> elements (Shaun Moss)
   2. Re: <comment> and <ad> elements (Jukka K. Korpela)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2011 16:14:40 +1000
From: Shaun Moss <shaun at astromultimedia.com>
To: whatwg at lists.whatwg.org
Subject: [whatwg] <comment> and <ad> elements
Message-ID: <4E631750.4030606 at astromultimedia.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Hi all

I've joined this list to put forward the argument that there should be 
elements for <comment> and <ad> included in the HTML5 spec.

These are both extremely common features of many web pages; I would say 
at least as common as "article". At present there is no obvious semantic 
element for comments and ads. To use <article>, <section> or <aside> is 
a kludge at best.

I would love to hear people's thoughts on this idea, as I'm sure it 
would have been discussed before. Please also let me know the process 
for submitting a formal proposal to the WHATWG or the W3C about this.

I'm the founder and CEO of IWDA (International Web Development Academy), 
and currently writing a course in HTML5.



Message: 2
Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2011 21:23:09 +0300
From: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela at cs.tut.fi>
To: whatwg <whatwg at lists.whatwg.org>
Subject: Re: [whatwg] <comment> and <ad> elements
Message-ID: <4E63C20D.6090607 at cs.tut.fi>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

4.9.2011 9:14, Shaun Moss wrote:

> I've joined this list to put forward the argument that there should be
> elements for <comment> and <ad> included in the HTML5 spec.

IE recognized <comment> and ignored it in display, so it was like a 
comment declaration (<!-- ... -->). It seems that they dropped support 
at some stage (perhaps in IE 7). So maybe the old effect and usage would 
not disturb much, if you wanted to define a completely different 
semantic meaning for it. I guess what you mean is semantics like 'the 
content of this element is a commentary' (perhaps with a for=... 
attribute to indicate what it is a comment on?). But if introduced, I'd 
still call it <commentary>.

> These are both extremely common features of many web pages;

I have no strong feelings about this, but I don't think commonness is 
sufficient for introducing a markup element. For example, almost all 
HTML documents contain verbs, and yet nobody has proposed a <verb> 
element. Just ease of writing isn't really a good motive, especially 
since any new element would have the problem that some relevant browsers 
do not even let you style an element unknown to them - for example, if 
you wish to style <article>, you need to teach it to IE with a little 
JavaScript. It's simpler and safer to keep using <div class=article> for 
some years, no matter what people might write in the specs.

There's a real argument in favor of <article>: it lets robots detect 
pieces that might be eligible for syndication. What would <comment> be 
useful for?

For <ad>, there's the obvious potential usage of setting

ad { display: none !important }

in a user style sheet. I don't think this possibility would make <ad> 
popular among authors.

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


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