[SPEC] Backwards-compatible metadata in Gemini

Oliver Simmons oliversimmo at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 15:43:22 GMT 2021

On Tue, 23 Feb 2021 at 15:10, raingloom <raingloom at riseup.net> wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Feb 2021 09:05:46 +0100
> Stephane Bortzmeyer <stephane at sources.org> wrote:
> > Using this "alt text" feature is tempting, and it allows the metadata
> > proposal to avoid any change in the specification. But, currently, as
> > far as I know, there is no registry of possible alt texts. (I don't
> > ask for an official registry in the spec. Any widely recognized
> > registry will do.)
> Alt text is for accessibility, not metadata.

Alt text itself is a form of metadata, but that doesn't mean it's ok
to include other metadata inside it.
Someone with a screen reader wouldn't want to have that read out to them.
In Gemini it's intended to be used for things such as code or ASCII
art to describe what they are.

The spec says this about alt text:
>  Alt text is recommended for ASCII art or similar non-textual content which, for example, cannot be meaningfully understood when rendered through a screen reader or usefully indexed by a search engine. Alt text may also be used for computer source code to identify the programming language which advanced clients may use for syntax highlighting.

Preformatted text is for text that shouldn't be formatted by the client.
Meaning it should be shown to the user as-is, using it to add metadata
would be wrong, see section 5.4.4 (Preformatted text lines):
=> https://gemini.circumlunar.space/docs/specification.gmi

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