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Subject: Re: [dita] How should the spec handle statements about rendering expectations?

I agree with Eliot but have an even stronger feeling about how to separate OASIS from implementation concerns. The <q> element text is a good example:

On 2/9/2016 8:40 AM, Kristen James Eberlein wrote:
Authors should not add quote punctuation manually when using the <q> element.
That statement is pure specification: this point ensures that the resulting authored content is interoperable with any DITA-based process, whether rendition, translation, editing, or more. I would expect this to be normative because it affects the quality of the DITA source.

Processors that render the <q> element SHOULD add appropriate styling, such as locale-specific quotation marks.
This statement however is purely implementation and has no impact on the source itself--you could say "should make it flashing blue on a reverse magenta background" and it would not affect the spec or require OASIS 'SHOULD' treatment. Even HTML5 tends to say "send the q element on through to the browser and let your locale-dependent CSS take care of the punctuation" (although there are issues with full stops in quotations -- .</q> vs </q>. -- that may need explication in the spec).

But because this sentence was in the spec, it was easy for someone to scan and to flag as requiring OASIS differentiation, which I argue is pointless here because this is not part of the language specification and therefore could even be relocated into a non-normative implementation document that we've discussed before (my preference now being something that could be maintained and freely extended on a community wiki like dita.xml.org).

The main point here is just the consideration of "interoperable source" as a way to sense normative from non-normative (and in this case, potentially relocatable) discussion.

Don R. Day
Founding Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
LinkedIn: donrday   Twitter: @donrday
About.me: Don R. Day   Skype: don.r.day
"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"
--T.S. Eliot

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