[whatwg] <comment> and <ad> elements

Shaun Moss shaun at astromultimedia.com
Sun Sep 4 13:25:37 PDT 2011

Hi John! (Or Rand.)

I hadn't heard of the <comment> tag from IE before, and I've been 
authoring HTML since 1995. So I don't think it would be confusing, 
certainly not more so than any of the new definitions for <b>, <i>, or 
any of the other repurposed tags. As you say, it would allow robots to 
distinguish <comment>s from the <article>s that they relate to; and it 
would be easier to style them.

<comment> elements could be used to refer to any comment added to a blog 
post, article or discussion forum. You could call it something else, 
like <post>, but this would be more confusing I think, since they're 
called "comments" everywhere on web pages ("Post a comment", "Add a 
comment" "Login or sign up to post comments", facebook "Like - Comment - 
Share", etc., etc.). I use Drupal a lot as well (apparently 2% of the 
world's websites now run on Drupal) and comments are a core feature, as 
they are of any community site.


On 2011-09-05 5:41 AM, Rand McRanderson wrote:
> 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.
> Thanks,
> Shaun
> ------------------------------
> 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.

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