Onstage at An Event Apart New Orleans, 2008, event co-founder and CSS expert Eric Meyer explains why the W3C's recommendation to allow browsers to insert quotation marks doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense.

'Some browsers generate quote marks and others don't. So you either have "quote quote, quote quote" in some browsers and "quote quote" in other browsers, or you have "quote quote" in some browsers and no quotes in other browsers, okay? First problem. Second problem is that quotation marks [are supposed to be] localized. Not everyone uses the little quote marks. Different cultures use different quotation marks. But basically no browser does this. Maybe one. ... But there's this part of me that thinks, yeah, then when someone comes to my site using a mobile device that doesn't support CSS, and all the quotation marks are missing, how is that going to impact reading comprehension. Right? For the same reason that I would not use CSS counters to generate the numbers in online legislation, because there's lots of references to section numbers in legislation, and if I rely on CSS to label each section by the right number, and then someone comes in on a mobile device that doesn't support CSS, and there are no numbers, and they can't refer to the legislative numbers, and then they can't fight their parking ticket, and I end up in court for $20 million because, right? I don't need that kind of hassle. If it's important, it should be in the content. It shouldn't be generated.'


Shot by Bonnemaison (bonnemaison.com/) of Baltimore, MD.

Edited by Ian Corey.

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