[whatwg] New <social> element (was: Various threads with feedback on HTML elements)

Bruno Racineux bruno at hexanet.net
Tue Oct 22 18:45:16 PDT 2013

On 10/15/13 1:00 PM, "Ian Hickson" <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>On Sat, 26 Jan 2013, Steve Faulkner wrote:
>> Lists are appropriate for indicating nested tree structures. The use of
>> lists to markup comments is a common mark up pattern used in blogging
>> software such as wordpress. The code verbosity is not dissimilar to the
>> use of article, less so even option end </li> tags are omitted.
>Indeed, that's fine too.
>> The useful information that is conveyed to users who actually consume
>> and benefit from it is provided by using lists , but not by using
>It's the exact same structure, the exact same information can be
>That's just a matter for implementors. Since <ol> is decades old and
><article> is a pretty recent addition, it makes sense that <ol> would be
>more reliably implemented and exposed.
>On Sat, 26 Jan 2013, Bruce Lawson wrote:
>> In short, why should the spec suggest any specific method of marking up
>> comments?

I haven't followed the discussion until now on this. But I think the
initial rationale for the addition of a <comment> element as mean of
replacement of <article> is the wrong way to look at it.

<article> is fine for a comment as syndicate-able and self-contained. Even
a LOL comment. People often publish full "articles" that are far less
useful or intelligible comment that a LOL. I just wish it was <art>.

I however propose a <social> element, to encompass the semantic of social
interaction around the context of the main article, which could be tweets,
comments, discussions, reviews, testimonials, forum feeds, rating etc.

What we need is not marking up individual comments differently, but a
semantic on the whole block.

Consider the case of someone using a screen-reader wanting to jump to
comments. The only way to do that right now, is to hope that a comment
link is around. But because there are no standards in terms of where that
would be he/she has to skip through links. I would think that jumping to
comments right away is potentially a slightly painful thing to do atm. And
there are no landmark roles for that either that I know of.

Comments don't seem to quite fit as an <aside> or <section>, nor it is a
very good fit for ARIA role:complementary because it's not separate enough.
It's a <social> context discussing or reviewing the main article inside
and attached to <main> though not quite a <section> of main...

Just as we now have social sections in Analytics or Gmail, I think the
semantic works and is broad enough, along with the accessibility reason.
Search engine or bots would also have an easier job to discern comments or
social context from everything else.

Thoughts? Any objection? Discuss? Please love it!? :-)

>In theory, to put an end to the very conversation we're having here. :-)

And that too. But unless I am mistaken, its worth noting that neither ARIA
nor Microdata nor the Microformat "rel" attribute have any notion of
"social" context or 'comments' whatsoever, which I always found lacking.

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