What is the best way to show something is less important than the
surrounding information (e.g. the date of a post or article,
supplementary information at the bottom of a post or article)?

Really there's no element other than <small> which comes close to
helping out here; otherwise it really is just a case of using CSS and
that's not adding semantics, just style.

In typical western communication, people do refer to "fine print" for
supplementary information. The implication of small text is often that
it has to be there but nobody expects you to read it. In actual fact
the small text is often extremely important but full of legal mumbling
that the average reader won't understand anyway. I wouldn't expect
that same implication for the date of a post though.

So in my culture at least, <small> sort of does what you want. But I
have no idea at all if the "smaller text" paradigm translates in the
slightest for other cultures. So it's just a tad weak, semantically
speaking :)

HTML5 does add semantics for <small> but again the semantics described
do not work for the date.


--- <http://www.200ok.com.au/>
--- The future has arrived; it's just not
--- evenly distributed. - William Gibson

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