[rfc-i] tt and quotes-in-text, or you can't make fixed pitch fixeder pitch

John Levine johnl at taugh.com
Thu Aug 26 18:36:33 PDT 2021

It appears that Martin Thomson  <mt at lowentropy.net> said:
>Authors will look at the output (text or html or both) and adjust their input to get the outcome they desire.  Inconsistency in presentation between
>formats makes this process unreliable.  If authors only look at one format, that will dictate their inputs and the other will suffer.
>If quotes are desired, then it is reasonable and appropriate to have authors type quotes into to the source.  That leads to less reliance on the
>automatic decoration and pushes toward fewer decorations for different semantic elements.  It means that the ugliness innate in text renderings is less
>obvious differentiation for different "decoration" elements (<tt, <em, <strong, <aside, ...).

After thinking about it for a while, this is where I ended up, too.
The <tt> tag was clearly a mistake, both because no two authors agree
about where to use it, and because there is no way to render it in
text that's already fixed pitch without adding confusion. (See
yesterday's IANA message asking about whether to include the quotes.)
If you really care about font changes and superscripts and the like,
we have two other lovely renderings you can use.

This is also a hint that it is not a great idea to write drafts in a
way that needs fancy typography to make sense. Beyond the text
rendering issues, it's also an issue for screen readers and other
accessibility tools.


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