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Opened 15 years ago

Closed 15 years ago

Last modified 15 years ago

#3606 closed defect (bug) (wontfix)

[B] and [I] buttons shouold insert bold and italic tags

Reported by: nickshanks's profile nickshanks Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Severity: normal Version: 2.1
Component: Administration Keywords:
Focuses: Cc:


Those new funky button things on the top of the Write Post input box don't insert the right HTML tags.

There has been a lot of discussion about the benefits/failures of semantic <strong> and <em> and their visual counterparts, <b> and <i>. The general concensus was that for WYSIWYG editors to be inserting <strong> and <em> is wrong, because users have already done the conversion from semantic meaning to visual representation in their heads, and clicked the Bold or Italic button as appropriate. By outputting <em> when a user wants to, for example, give a book title is wrong, but users will still click the [I] button for italic styling, even if the book title now has <em> instead if another tag (such as <cite>) surrounding it.

Basically by outputting <em> without knowing *why* the user wants italic text, you are breaking the semantics of the element, and just turning into a synonym for <i>.

Change History (7)

#1 in reply to: ↑ description @foolswisdom
15 years ago

Replying to nickshanks:

The general concensus was that for WYSIWYG editors to be inserting <strong> and <em> is wrong

I don't have a strong opinion either way, but the current behavior seems consistent with other blog editors and web site editors. It would be interesting to look at it from what is in practice.

I like this comment:

"I use <strong> at work and <b> at home.


because I have different versions of dreamweaver at home and work. One, by default, uses the <b> tag when I go to bold text in the wysiwyg editor and the other, by default, uses the <strong> tag in the same scenario."

#2 @Viper007Bond
15 years ago

<strong> > <b>

#3 @markjaquith
15 years ago

I think the reasoning is thus:

  • most of the time, <strong> and <em> are semantically correct
  • most users don't know about <strong> and <em>, but do know about b and i from word processors
  • people who know the semantic difference will likely just hand-code it anyway

Of course, this solution does keep the ignorant masses ignorant. But then again, I don't know if it's really the job of a WYSIWYG HTML editor to teach HTML semantics to people who haven't given the topic a moment's thought before now and just want to write a blog post about how their boss is <em>such</em> a butthead.

#4 follow-up: @Viper007Bond
15 years ago

No opposition to screwing with the WYSIWYG (the ignorant users are already using it, so they won't care), but please leave the poor normal quicktags alone.

I mean, when you click the bold "b" button and <strong> pops out, you'd think it'd be pretty self-explanatory.

#5 in reply to: ↑ 4 @fergbrain
15 years ago

I made this comment in the wp-hackers list about this, but I'll reiterate it here:

In terms of looking toward the future, I believe that <b> and <i> are going to be depreciated in XHTML 2. I'm not sure of the release timeline for XHTML 2, but it doesn't make sense to me to update WP to reflect what the buttons are now when the tags will have to change shortly any way.

#6 in reply to: ↑ description @foolswisdom
15 years ago

  • Resolution set to wontfix
  • Status changed from new to closed

Closing WONTFIX for now.

Replying to nickshanks:

The general concensus was that for WYSIWYG editors to be inserting <strong> and <em> is wrong

This was discussed again this month in [wp-hackers] Post style buttons, and no general consensus was reached.

In that thread I appreciate Andy Skelton comment and Mark Jaquith's comments, pramatic, but either side of the coin.

#7 @Nazgul
15 years ago

  • Milestone 2.2 deleted
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