b and i

Jelks Cabaniss jelks at jelks.nu
Sat May 15 02:17:45 EDT 2004

John Gruber wrote:

>     As <CITE>Harry S. Truman</CITE> said,
>     <Q lang="en-us">The buck stops here.</Q>
>     More information can be found in <CITE>[ISO-0000]</CITE>.
> According to the W3C, the `cite` tag can be used for citing
> anything, including people, not just for the titles of publications
> and works of art. And you certainly wouldn't want to italicize
> Truman's name in the rendered output for the above markup.

I found the W3C's example puzzling the first time I read it years ago, and I
still think it's unhelpful (to be charitable).  If you follow their line of
thinking, you could end up marking up every reference noun as a citation!  

The original HTML 2.0 specification said:

    The <CITE> element is used to indicate the title of a book
    or other citation. It is typically rendered as italics. For

    He just couldn't get enough of <cite>The Grapes of

I suspect a few folks there tried to get clever and "expand" the definition.
Anyway, most people just ignore what the HTML 4 Rec. says and use `<cite>`
the way &Deity; intended -- for the title of a work.  
> And I just don't see the point of the `cite` tag, period. MPT argues
> that it's useful for semantically savvy HTML parsing software, but I
> don't see how that's so. 

`grep` & Co. aren't semantically savvy, but they sure help after
transcribing works in building references to the cited material.  It's also
helpful to mark up all titles as `<cite>`s during the initial
transcriptions, then later search them out to convert some of them as
appropriate to links.  I suppose we could use `<span class="citation">` or
some such, but ... ugh!  :)

> In conclusion, I'm more convinced than ever that Markdown should
> only offer shortcuts for `em` and `strong`, and that `i`, `b`, and
> `cite` should be left to raw HTML if you want them.

I flip-flop between wanting MD to have more or less only what it has now,
and wanting a more or less 100% textual representation of the entire HTML


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