[wp-hackers] Post style buttons

Martin Sturm msturm10 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 25 11:51:16 GMT 2007

2007/2/25, Robert Deaton <false.hopes at gmail.com>:
> Okay, so, I'm going to wrap up replies to various people in here in a
> single mail.
> First off, I agree with the original e-mail. I believe the text of
> buttons should be kept as it currently is. In addition, I believe that
> the buttons need to be switched away from using <strong> and <em> and
> moved to some other tag such as span with a class added to it, or
> potentially even just a class added to each of the above elements.
> Here's my justifications.
> Familiarity. Let's not go confuse the living crap out of the users who
> don't know that "strong" and "em" are apparently (but not really)
> synonyms for bold and italicize. People are familiar with this method
> of textformatting from everywhere on their computers, from simple word
> processors to Microsoft Word to their mail clients to picking their
> font in any old application. The buttons as they are have meaning,
> let's not make them senseless to anyone who doesn't know their HTML
> tags.

So, you're saying, because Word an e-mail clients doesn't enforce the
user to think semantically about its text, but instead force them to
only influence the presentation, WordPress should do that also? I'm
not agreeing with this. In fact, I think th use of bold, italics and
so on in Word (and other apps) is wrong. The real question is, why
want users to get their text italic or bold? Not because they think
'oh, I want that italic', no they want to emphasize a word or a

> Formatting text vs Formatting language. To me, WordPress is not the
> place to format language, which is what the strong and em tags are
> really made to do. They're made to denote varying levels of emphasis,
> and consequently _most_ visual browsers will display the emphasized
> text as bold or italicized, but this is not a requirement. In reality,
> you are not telling the browser that you want your text to be bold or
> italicized, you're telling it that that portion of the text is meant
> to be emphasized in some way. A browser for the blind may change the
> pitch and tone as it reads the emphazied part of the text, to show
> that emphasis through audio.

I cannot imagine that there is a real use case where a user wants to
get its text italic, just for the sake of it. In 99,9% of the use
cases, they want to emphasize their text.

> When I click those buttons, I have no intention of marking up my
> language as having emphasis. If I was mentioning the title of a book,
> play, film, or other items, and wanted that to be italicized (or
> underlined, depending on preference), I don't want any sort of
> "emphasis" on the text, I just want it to be formatted differently.

Yes, you want to format it differently, because it should be distinct
from the 'normal' text, i.e. you want to emphasize it.
Suppose there is a theme which renders text of posts by default in an
italic font, then you would see no difference when you specifically
marked your 'special text' as being rendered italic. The theme should
render that italic marked text in a different font/font-decoration in
order to emphasize it. So, in my opinion it is better to mark the text
as emphasize and not as 'italic' or 'bold' (because the user doesn't
want that).


> If people want to markup their language and not their text, I think
> the buttons need to be separate. They are two separate tasks and they
> should not be jammed together into one button.

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