(Now with superspecial UPDATE!)   Elizabeth Spiers:

Jason Calacanis… was credited with saying that the “strikethrough” tag in HTML… was never really used prior to blogging. Now it’s used to correct reported information that turns out to be inaccurate, and it’s an open admission by the blogger that the information was inaccurate.

Yeah, strikethrough “was never really used” because it doesn’t even exist. There is a strike element (not “tag”) in HTML. You can still use it, but it is deprecated because we’ve got something better: del and ins.

  • strike, by spec, merely means “draw a line through this.” You can do that to anything with CSS – just use text-decoration: line-through;. strike says nothing about structure. Using it does not mean you are correcting an error!
  • del means the text was deleted. You can say exactly when you deleted it (via datetime="2005-05-19") and link to a source for the deletion or to a correction (via cite="URL").
  • ins lets you insert text, and you can use the same attributes as with del.
  • ins and del are both block- and inline-level attributes, so you can delete or insert entire paragraphs or individual letters, if you want.

Now, this is still crappy in some respects, because we have no way of marking up actual editing. But it can be used well by smart authors: Check the Google captioning entry.

If you don’t like your deleted text to appear struck through, and you don’t want your inserted text underlined, you can easily turn those off via CSS. I do, for some applications.

The correct way to indicate deleted text is del and nothing else. Knock off this “strikethrough” bullshit, please. If you’re trying to use a feature of HTML as a claimed superiority of the Weblogging medium, learn to use HTML right.

Isn’t it deliciously ironic that Spiers was talking about using HTML to indicate corrections when the HTML she indicated was incorrect?


Three minutes after I sent off a courtesy E-mail to Calacanis pointing him to this instalment, his response arrives: “sort of a dumb post.” (A later addition, ticcingly top-posted to me and people I never wrote to: “do you really think i care about html code?!?!?!”) I love it when Weblog entrepreneurs never actually give a shit about the underlying technology of the Weblog. Essentially, they’re musicians who cannot play their own instruments.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2005.05.19 13:23. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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