Camen Design Forum

Re: "Me, Myself and I"

append delete Hugh Guiney

So I was reading your redux to the <abbr> article, which I've often found myself referencing when in doubt about my own markup, and while I like the new rules in theory, there are a few potential issues I see.

Firstly would be that what you have defined for <dfn> conflicts with the spec.

whatwg.org/…

"If the title attribute of the dfn element is present, then it must contain only the term being defined."

Which means that explanations of terms, rather than the terms themselves, would technically be invalid use of @title.

Secondly, does <cite> belong inside <blockquote>? Again I turn to the spec -

whatwg.org/…

"The blockquote element represents a section that is quoted from another source."

The attribution for the citation is not a part of any section from the work that is being quoted; it is being added in by the referencing work's author.

Lastly, you state that we *should* use <cite> for blogs/articles, but not for website names. Aren't these often the same thing? And why not website names, anyway? I've always sort of seen them as the digital equivalent of books. Some more than others, of course—Although they are both content outlets, I wouldn't use <cite> for Twitter, which is largely a service (and perhaps more akin to software), but I *would* use it for Engadget, which is a proper online publication.

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append delete #1. Hugh Guiney

Just noticed those links don't work because I added colons after them which were interpreted as part of the URLs. Might be something to address in the forum software.

append delete #2. Kroc

Firstly, what applies to all of my following comment is that these rules are personal guidelines developed from the large amounts of text I've written for the website. Obviously, they are not canon, but I do believe them to be beneficial to authors who are not getting the most out of these elements--adjust to suit.

1. What is a dictionary, if not defining terms? A dictionary does not spell out acronyms only, it defines a term in full text.

"If the title attribute of the dfn element is present, then it must contain only the term being defined."

That doesn't state that you must only use an exact word-for-word expansion of the acronym, it just says to keep your definition to the thing inside the element. If I want to write a full dictionary definition of a term, that's still valid, I just can't discuss bacon when I'm defining garage doors.

2. This gets complicated because unfortunately the spec is woefully unrealistic and unhelpful. The cite attribute of blockquote says that it only allows URLs, which is totally useless for quoting things that are not on the Internet, or exist on networks outside URI schemes (like e-mails and such). Because of this authors have just had to violate the spec in spirit to find something that suits them. For me, this is putting a cite element within the blockquote.

Authors can and _should_ violate the spec when it is not serving their needs. This is how it evolves, just as Shakespear was not bound to the limits of the English language at the time. Consensus should be guidence on usage.

Alternative markup could be to use a blockquote in a figure, so that the figcaption can be used for citation.

3. As for not using cite for website names, this one is a little tricky to explain, but comes out of common writing patterns. When you link to a particular blog post, it is because it is somehow involved in what you are discussing i.e you are replying to that particular blog post's content, not the blogger's whole website! I found that in my writing, when I was linking to a website wholesale, it was not forming a meaningful citation, yet when I linked to specific articles, they were. If the individual articles could be analogous to books, then the website is analogous to the publisher--and you wouldn't use cite if you were naming a publishing house, because you are not referring to any actual content!

There's nothing stopping you from using cite on website names of course!

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As for URLs, : and ) are completely valid URL fragments; there's no real way to tell if they are part of the URL or part of the text. What if a URL actually does end in : or ), should I break those?

I think the solution is to just ignore : and ) on the end of URLs because I think URLs that end as such are rarer than the occurance of people putting punctation at the end of their URLs and not expecting them to break.

append delete #3. Martijn

To fix the URLs, maybe update to a better regex? daringfireball.net/…

append delete #4. Kroc

@Martijn: My regex is actually better than that ;)

append delete #5. JJ

I agree with Kroc about @cite. I've found it utterly useless in so many situations. I suppose it's good for quoting anything you can somehow put into a uri. (Does it accept any URI or just URLs??)

e.g. If you're citing a book you could do: <q cite="urn:isbn:whatever-number-here">. That's the good thing about ISO numbers, they qualify as URNs. So, I guess that does cover a lot of works. But as Kroc said, it still doesn't apply to things like emails, etc. But now that I think about it more, how could it?

I suppose @cite could represent a URI and a new @citedesc attribute could be added.

e.g. <blockquote citedesc="An email from Joe">.

This could be useful to the reader by doing:

blockquote::after { content: attr(citedesc); font-style: italic; }


As for the cite element.

<cite> can technically be used in closing in a <blockquote> if it is referencing a work, however, it shouldn't be used to quote a person.

(The html5 spec makes it a point of saying, "A person's name is not the title of a work — even if people call that person a piece of work").

Using <cite> for website names is an interesting question. To me, I don't intuitively see websites as "works", but if you are using a website as a source in some kind of essay or piece of literature, do you not cite it? I guess it depends on the content. Would you *ever* use Twitter as a source for anything? Probably not.

But then again, when you do cite a website in an essay/treatise/whatever, you're not just citing the site, you're citing the web page itself. You're citing an individual *document* on a web site.


Kroc is *very* right about not always obeying the spec. (To mention dictionaries again in this post...) Dictionaries describe and define words based on peoples' general usage and consensus definition of them, *not* the other way around -- Why has the html5 spec allowed trailing slashes on self-closing elements even when it does nothing in most html parsers right now (aside from Opera)? What did they add semantics to <i>, <b>, and <hr> based on? What did they change the semantics of <header> and <aside> for? It was all based on the authors' general usage of those elements.

append delete #6. JJ

Sorry, another double post.

I suppose better than to add a @citedesc element, maybe define extra semantics for @title on <blockquote> and <q> in the same way @title has extra semantics defined for it on <abbr>, <link>, etc.

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