Last modified: 2013-08-06 00:36:52 UTC

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Bug 369 - '' should be interpreted as <i>, not <em>
'' should be interpreted as <i>, not <em>
Product: MediaWiki
Classification: Unclassified
Parser (Other open bugs)
All All
: Normal normal (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
: accessibility
Depends on:
Blocks: 367 semantic-html
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2004-09-03 13:38 UTC by Matthew "mpt" Thomas
Modified: 2013-08-06 00:36 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description Matthew "mpt" Thomas 2004-09-03 13:38:18 UTC
MediaWiki interprets '' as <em>. But most pages created 
with MediaWiki are for Wikimedia projects, which aren't 
like most other Web sites; most of our uses of italics are 
for citations of works <cite>, phrases in other languages 
<i lang="de">, taxonomical names <i class="taxonomy">, or 
mathematical variables <var>. Very, very few are for 
emphasized text. Since Wikimedia project contributors are 
unlikely to care about the distinction between <em>/<cite>/
<var>/<dfn>/etc, articles would sound more sensible to 
screenreaders if '' was interpreted as the neutral <i>.

(Possibly new syntax for emphasis, citations, and variables 
could be created later for those thoughtful enough to use 
Comment 1 Brion Vibber 2004-09-03 16:08:53 UTC
Can you give an example of a screen reader which reads <em> and <i> differently, and describe what the difference is?
Comment 2 Matthew "mpt" Thomas 2004-09-07 08:37:40 UTC
... No. According to e-mail from Joe Clark (who should 
know, if anyone does), currently most screenreaders 
piggyback on MSIE, which does not distinguish between <i>/
<em>/<cite>/etc. Disillusioned I am, yes.

So while we wait for more advanced screenreaders to 
arrive, I guess the main current problem is with people 
who use user styles [[Help:User_style]] to distinguish the 
various semantic elements. For example, em {font-color: 
#090} cite {font-weight: 550}. But I can understand if you 
have better things to do than a find-and-replace for their 
Comment 3 Michael Zajac 2004-09-09 23:49:47 UTC
I'd rather see a solution that adds CITE, DFN, VAR, etc. to wikitext, than to emasculate the EMs.  Adoption would take a while, 
but in time we'd have a semantically richer site.  The search engine could be enhanced to take advantage of these.

Might be useful to add some common shortcuts specific to particular disciplines, which render HTML like the following:

  &lt;i class="specific">Roadrunnerus fastus&lt;>
  &lt;i class="foreign" lang="la">e pluribus unum&lt;>
  &lt;cite class="novel">Crime and Punishment&lt;>
Comment 4 Brion Vibber 2004-09-09 23:55:04 UTC
<cite> and <var> are permitted HTML tags in wikitext, so if you _must_ use them you can 
use them directly.

<dfn> is not currently available, but the self-link->bold special case could/should 
perhaps output <dfn> instead of <strong>.

One issue is that these tags don't have a standard formatting, so the stylesheets may need 
to be careful about undoing 'weird' defaults in some browsers.
Comment 5 Brion Vibber 2004-09-11 08:41:54 UTC
Finally got around to this. Changed in 1.4 CVS.
Comment 6 Matthew "mpt" Thomas 2004-09-11 11:01:49 UTC
Thanks, Brion!

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