[tei-council] Fwd: Re: Notes on chapter 11 (part one)

Martin Holmes mholmes at uvic.ca
Thu Nov 10 17:08:34 EST 2011

Hi Lou,

On 11-11-10 01:39 PM, Lou Burnard wrote:
> On 10/11/11 12:15, Sebastian Rahtz wrote:
>> I am with Gabby. the varying use of "it", "i", "italics"  in @rend values just looks sloppy to me.
>> I am sure our readers don't have the degree of sophistication which I think Lou assumes - they'll
>> take what they see as a recipe, no more no less.
>> --
> you guys are SO predictable! (I expect you think I am too)
> Just to prove the point, no I don't think we should impose a bogus
> uniformity on the @rend values used throughout the Guidelines examples.
> I say "bogus" because there is no consensus as to what values we should
> propose and plenty of evidence that different projects choose to make
> their own rules on the matter. So the Glines really ought to demonstrate
> that there is a variety of practice in the matter.

The point really is that there should be uniformity within one project, 
and the Guidelines is one project. I know the examples are supposed to 
be drawn from hither and yon, and some are, but most of them are just 
made up, I think; and once they're subsumed into the Guidelines I'd 
argue that they become part of that project, and should exemplify the 
uniformity we would expect from such a project.

In one of my own projects (Mariage), we had several instances of new 
encoding assistants who couldn't remember what they were supposed to be 
using for @rend="italics", and rather than going to our own 
documentation (which was admittedly a bit inadequate at the time), they 
went to the Guidelines, searched for italic, and picked the first value 
they found, assuming it was standard. Yes, I know my schema should have 
been enforcing a closed value list, but it was early in the project and 
we weren't yet sure what we needed. One of the reasons I switched to 
using pure CSS in @rend is because I got tired of this kind of error. 
They can look up a CSS prop-val pair in any good CSS guide, and I can 
validate the CSS; meanwhile if they need to handle something 
never-before-seen in the project, they can use never-before-used CSS, 
and it will work and validate if they get it right.

> The implication that our readers are too unsophisticated to understand
> this is particularly objectionable. Maybe you'd like P6 to be rewritten
> in Basic English with all the big words taken out too?

Some of our readers are naive enough to believe that example code used 
in the Guidelines is recommended and blessed by the Consortium. I 
thought so myself for a long time.

And I certainly don't mind big words being taken out if shorter, simpler 
words can do the same job and be less challenging to non-native 
speakers. We're not trying to impress people with our erudition; we're 
trying to help them understand something that is actually very 
complicated, and we don't help them when we display arbitrary 
inconsistency in our example code.


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