[uf-discuss] Jeremy's inline friend link pattern

Jeremy Keith jeremy at adactio.com
Fri Dec 7 05:22:30 PST 2007

Paul Wilkins wrote:
> it makes no sense to have a citation all by itself.
> As time goes on, people have been using the cite element for more and
> more inappropriate uses.

I agree with you there. But the abuse I see is more along the lines  
of using the CITE element where a Q or BLOCKQUOTE would be more  

> The developers understand this and have been
> providing more accurate descriptions of how the CITE element is to be
> used.
> HTML 5 says the following

Um. That's HTML 5. I'm talking about today's specs. As Scott says:
> HTML 5 isn't necessarily a definitive source on semantics in HTML 4  
> and XHTML

That said, I take your point that using the CITE element to mark up a  
person/place/thing/object without any context is really pushing it. I  
think you're right when you say:

>> <cite>Gone With The Wind</cite> is a film.
> You could say it, but you'll be wrong.

However, I don't think that every use of the CITE element *requires*  
an accompanying citation (using Q or BLOQCKQUOTE). I think that Scott  
is write when he says that context is the key criteria:
> A source is where something comes from, so we have to have that  
> something in order for the referenced object to be a source.  That  
> something isn't necessarily a specific quote, but it has to be at  
> least a vague description.

So, for the case that sparked off this discussion—mentioning people  
in blog posts—I think the CITE element will often be appropriate:

	I was chatting with <cite>Tantek</cite> yesterday.

That, in my opinion, is appropriate (though it's certainly on the edge).

That would probably be marked up as a hyperlink in a blog post:

	I was chatting with <cite><a href="http://tantek.com/">Tantek</a></ 
cite> yesterday.

Then there's the use of ABBR that Thom was talking about for  
mentioning friends by their first names:

	I was chatting with <cite><abbr title="Tantek Çelik"><a rel="friend  
met colleague" href="http://tantek.com/">Tantek</a></abbr></cite>  

Which is easily turned into an hCard:

	I was chatting with <cite class="vcard"><abbr class="fn"  
title="Tantek Çelik"><a class="url" rel="friend met colleague"  
href="http://tantek.com/">Tantek</a></abbr></cite> yesterday.

So, quick straw poll: does that look a reasonable use of the CITE  
element? Does anything think that SPAN would be a better/safer option  
in this case? I suppose it would probably depend on the rest of the  
paragraph or blog post but usually you wouldn't mention someone in a  
blog post without some reason that probably involves referencing  
them, right?

Michael MD wrote:
>> The CITE element is not a CITATION element.
> no wonder I don't see it used very often -- that is too confusing  
> for people in the real world!

Agreed. It's as confusing as the ADDRESS element.



Jeremy Keith

a d a c t i o


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