03 April 2007

Discourse as lists

i never cared for
sgml/xml/xhtml's insistence on
text as strict hierarchies
of containers

especially when
entirely notional
are granted positions of
(undeserved) honor
in those hierarchies

but lately i've been pondering
the ordering principles
(alphabetical chronological best-first etc)
by which we sequence

broadly generalising the narrow concept
of list
until suddenly the prospect
of text
as hierarchies of
lists within lists

has become attractive

formatting styles, of course
are vastly irrelevant here
(a list can be just
two words

the emphasis should instead be on
ordering principles
and set-membership principles

lists offering choices
lists exhausting domains
lists sampling subsets
lists specifying procedural steps
lists structuring arguments

lists arbitrarily
prefixing and postfixing
auxiliary text materials
like headers and footers
and sidebars