[whatwg] use of article to markup comments

Adrian Testa-Avila whatwg at custom-anything.com
Fri Jan 25 07:37:26 PST 2013

On 01/25/2013 03:44 AM, Steve Faulkner wrote:
> Over on the HTML WG list [1] we have been discussing the use of the 
> article
> element to mark up comments.
> I have sketched out a few alternative possibilities to the current
> recommendation in the spec of using the article element as it has been
> indicated by users who consume the semantics that its use is suboptimal.
> I am bringing this over here as well as one of the suggestions I have [2]
> made may include implementation changes
> [1]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2013Jan/thread.html#msg109 
> [2] http://www.html5accessibility.com/tests/comments.html
I would be concerned that recommending the use of <ul> would simply 
confuse matters further, and lead to messier, unnecessarily verbose 
markup.  A clean list of comments is fine, but most comments end up 
tree-structured, not lists.  Tree-<ul>s are quite verbose compared to 
simply nesting <article>s.

(It makes some sense, I suppose, to think of comments as a "list", but 
*unordered*?  If you're going to group them at all, wouldn't the order 
be important?  Bruce Lawson ( 
observation that comments are "heavily dependent on context" would seem 
to support the idea that it *is* important, especially since some 
comments are responses to others.)

Robin Berjorn ( 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2013Jan/0115.html) made 
a suggestion to wrap comment <article> elements inside a <details> 
element, which seems like a good approach, both in terms of semantics 
and practical result.

*However*, I don't see anything wrong or confusing about nested 
<article>s.  I think it makes perfect sense.  Someone (can't find it 
now) wrote that the goal of AT applications is to "read the contents of 
the main article, without comments or other distractions" - the fact 
that a "comment" <article> is nested inside another automatically 
implies that it is *supportive*, and not  an integral part of the main 
article itself (it can be excluded without negative impact).

Adrian Testa-Avila
adrian at custom-anything.com <http://www.custom-anything.com/contact>
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