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A.3. Online Communities

One can read only so much before it comes time to join a discussion and ask some questions. There are two major venues for discussions about CSS, but each is concerned with a specific type of discussion -- so make sure you go to the right place.

A.3.1. comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets

This Usenet group, often abbreviated as ciwas (pronounced "see-wass"), is the gathering place for CSS authors. A number of vertical axis, adjacent margins are said to be collapsed. In otherwords, the smaller of the two margins is eliminated in favor of thelarger. Figure 7-16 shows the difference betweencollapsed and uncollapsed margins.

Figure 7-16

Figure 7-16. Collapsed versus uncollapsed margins

Correctly implemented user agents will collapse the verticallyadjacent margins, as shown in the first list in Figure 7-16, where there are 15-pixel spaces between eachlist item. The second list shows what would happen if the user agentdidn't collapse margins, resulting in 25-pixel spaces between experts in the field check this newsgroup regularly, this author among them, and all are there for one primary reason: to help new CSS authors over the hurdles that learning any new language will generate. The secondary reason is for the spirited debates that occasionally erupt over some aspect of CSS, or a browser's implementation thereof. Rather unusually for a newsgroup, the signal-to-noise ratio stayed fairly high for the last few years of the 1990s, and will with any luck continue in that vein.


Anyone who wishes to be involved in discussing the future course of CSS, and to clearing up ambiguities in the specifications, should subscribe to this list. The members of the list are all, in one fashion or another, interested in making CSS better than it is already. Please note: www-style is not the place to ask for assistance with writing CSS. For help with CSS authoring problems, visit ciwas instead. Questions beginning with "How do I ... ?" are frowned upon by the regulars of www-style and are usually redirected to a more appropriate forum such as ciwas. On the other hand, questions that begin "Why can't I ... ?" or "Wouldn't it be cool if ... ?" are generally welcome, so long as they relate to some ability that appears to be missing from CSS.

Messages to www-style are only accepted if the sender is already subscribed to the list. In order to subscribe, send email to with the word subscribe in the subject of the message; to unsubscribe, send email to with the word unsubscribe in the subject of the message.

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P {font-size: 12px; line-height: 1.5;}SMALL {font-size: 66%;}BIG {font-size: 200%; line-height: 1em;}


Anything this useful has to have a drawback, right? As it happens,Internet Explorer 3.x willtreat scaling factors as though they were pixel units. Just try toimagine a paragraph with a line-height of1.5px . It isn't pretty.background-repeat, the background image may tileindefinitely, or only along one axis, or not at all, and the startingposition of the tiling is dependent on the value ofbackground-position.


BODY {background-image: url(bg41.gif);}H2 {background-image: url(;}


BODY {background-position: top center;}
Figure 4-58

Figure 4-58. Suppressing the underlining of hyperlinks


Although I personally don't have a problem with it, many usershave a tendency to get violently annoyed when they realizeyou've turned off link underlining. Obviously, it's amatter of opinion, so let your own tastes be your guide -- butremember that if your link colors aren't sufficiently differentfrom normal text, visually impaired users may have a really hard timefinding hyperlinks in your documents.

look. However, it's probably easier to simply leave the paragraph and line break tags right where they are and simply SPAN the headings:

<SPAN CLASS="head">Heading</SPAN><BR>


The danger in using SPAN instead of logical elements like headings is that pre-CSS browsers won't recognize the SPAN element. Also, indexing robots won't be able to make any sense of SPAN as a