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Florent V.

The WHAT-WG changed a few definitions and now you can’t micromanage insignificant semantics the way you wanted to. This is really sad.


- The idea that there should be a defined semantic construct for everything in HTML is flawed.

- DIALOG was removed because of that. If HTML5 defines DIALOG, then it is entitled to define roughly 50 more semantic constructs inherited from existing print or online publications. BIBLIOGRAPHY, COMMENTS, WHATEVER. The choice of the WHAT-WG is to not offer specific semantics for every relatively popular use case out there, as that would make the spec more bloated (and most authors would just ignore those constructs and never actually use them). I think that’s a sound decision.

- Obviously the spec still has some strange constructs. The transformation of DT and DD as a generic means to associate text content to an element (text to text, text to image) is a strange move. Is such a generic construct was needed, creating it would have been better in my opinion.

- I won’t cry over the restriction in meaning of CITE. I was already using it for publications only, not people. One difference between people and publications is that you will want to always tag publication names with CITE, while you won’t want to always highlight a person’s name. Highlighting a person’s name is a more discretionary move, so resorting to neutral elements (SPAN) or an occasional STRONG element is a good move in my opinion.

- I consider your use of an OL list to be some kind of abuse of that element. Likewise for the use of UL/LI for marking up comments in this very page. We should stop putting OL and UL everywhere because it’s “more semantic” (ha!). We shoud think about the benefits and inconveniences of the (loose) semantics we use when doing that. One funny thing about that trend of over-using lists is that’s it’s mostly done by English-speaking writers and coders, while the French ones don’t seem to do it (or not as much). I think it may come down to a few articles in English by influential HTML-CSS bloggers.

I’ll respond to your riot incitation with another: stop obsessing over semantic micromanagement, people! Also, test in screen readers, that helps avoiding problematic semantic constructs (though screen readers may be wrong, too).