Specification For HTML Meta Element with Name Value Audience


Section 1: Introduction

This is the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “audience” and first published on the WHATWG wiki MetaExtensions page in . This is version 2.0.2 of this specification.

This is not the specification for the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “audience”, first published on the WHATWG wiki MetaExtensions page in , and deleted from the WHATWG wiki MetaExtensions page in . Except as otherwise specified, this specification is only about the value so published in . Non-normatively, it is noted that the publication of was probably made in error, because the name attribute value should have been different from the name attribute values for all other HTML meta elements.

HTML is the HyperText Markup Language, which is a commonly used, perhaps the most commonly used, non-natural language for pages hosted on the World Wide Web. HTML is generally written approximately in accordance with specifications that have been revised several times. Two of those HTML specifications are the HTML Living Standard (as updated and (One-Page Version treated here as if authoritative) (<https://html.spec.whatwg.org/>, as accessed and )) and HTML 5.1 (version of ) (<http://www.w3.org/TR/html51/single-page.html>, as accessed before and on ). The HTML Living Standard is maintained by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and HTML 5.1 is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Each of those HTML specifications specifies numerous elements and, in section 4.2.5 of each such HTML specification, one such element is the meta element. For that element, each of those HTML specifications specifies attributes including the name attribute, specifies some names that can be values for that attribute (limited to one such value per such attribute per such element), and provides, in section 4.2.5.2 of each such HTML specification, a means by which extensional or additional names may be proposed to be values for that attribute, each such proposal to include a link to a specification for that extensional or additional name. This specification may appropriately be linked to from such a proposal.

This specification, as published on this page and which, except as otherwise stated, is normative, shall also apply, insofar as compatible, to any specification of the HTML Living Standard or of HTML 5.1 other than those referenced above and of any version preceding or succeeding HTML 5.1; except that it shall not apply to any page authored before this specification was first published (the date of such first publication being stated below).

Sec. 1.1: Definitions and Construction

The words and phrases must, must not, required, shall, shall not, should, should not, recommended, may, and optional in this specification and regardless of capitalization are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 (also known as BCP 14).

An audience is a ‘set of persons or other entities by whom or by which consumption of the page is ultimately intended by the publisher, creator, or author of the page’. The balance of this paragraph is non-normative. For example, a person may consume the page without being in the intended audience; and a search engine robot may consume the page and yet will almost never be an intended ultimate consumer and thus would not be in the audience as herein defined. A person who would otherwise have been a member of the intended audience and who received an expression of the information on a page without having personally consumed the page itself may have gained a benefit from that expression but is not thereby a member of the intended audience.

In this specification, if a string, including a null string and a non-null string with no visible or displaying characters, is rendered (including being displayed) with or surrounded by single quotation marks which are curved when a font in which this specification may be displayed has single quotation marks as both straight and curved or is rendered (including being displayed) with or surrounded by double quotation marks which are curved when a font in which this specification may be displayed has double quotation marks as both straight and curved, then the quotation marks that may thus be curved are, unless otherwise stated in this specification, not part of the string. Thus, generally, the string represented by “example” is only seven characters long, not nine.

Sec. 1.2: Problem Being Solved

This specification is intended to aid search engines in classifying World Wide Web content and to aid directory compilers; and other uses are not forbidden by this specification. The balance of this paragraph is non-normative. Identifying the audience intended for a page may be helpful toward search engines and directories providing users with more useful results. Subject matter may not be a good clue. For example, an analysis of children’s literature may be directed to teachers. Identifying the intended audience may be helpful both for pages that may be retrieved by the general public and for pages that an institution makes available only to limited people and wishes to limit even further by use of a machine-readable string that could be used by a mechanism to prevent rendering of the page by an unauthorized user.

Sec. 2: Method

There may be one or more HTML meta elements with the name attribute value set to “audience” (herein referred to as “such meta ‘audience’ element”) and, if any such element is present, its content attribute value shalll be set to one or more strings listed or described below and only if appropriate for the page. Two or more such strings in the same such attribute shall be comma-separated.

If a value is not exactly applicable but is near enough for the purpose of the page, it should be a value of the element’s content attribute unless this specification otherwise specifies.

Singular and plural forms have the same meaning.

If there are more than one such elemment and their content attribute values conflict in whole or in part, a user agent shall ignore such content attribute values that so conflict. Non-normatively, it is noted that a page author should be careful to avoid authoring such a conflict.

Sec. 2.1: Content Attribute Values

Sec. 2.1.1: General

A content attribute value is only public or private.

If more than one such meta “audience” element with the content attribute value lacking the token “private” are present, all such content attribute values shall be processed as having no additional weight due to duplication of such meta “audience” element or of a content attribute value.

Any such meta “audience” element with the content attribute value not including the token “private” may include the caseless token “public” space-separated from any other token in such content attribute value. The meaning of the token “public” is the same as the meaning of the absence of both of the tokens “private” and “public”. Both of the tokens “private” and “public” shall not be in the same such meta “audience” element and if both of the tokens “private” and “public” are present in the same such meta “audience” element then the two such tokens in such meta “audience” element shall have the same meaning as if the token “public” was absent. Non-normatively, it is noted that the token “public” is offered for stylistic consistency and for convenience in discussing any such meta “audience” element.

Spellings that are erroneous or slightly different from a recognized value should not be interpreted by a search engine or directory editor as representing a recognized value. Non-normatively, while interpretation as a recognized value was formerly supported, a page author should always have avoided erring or spelling slightly differently.

A user agent or search engine shall process the value of the content attribute in its entirety, not at all, or by reference to the existence of the value and shall not truncate it. Such reference may be by notice to a user that the value is present and how the user may attempt to perceive it.

Sec. 2.1.2: Public Values

  • Public content attribute values shall be only one or more of the following public tokens:

  • — “all” and “everyone”, which have the same meaning; if either of these values are appropriate but an emphasis on another value is also appropriate, either of these values should be a content attribute value along with one or more other values as multiple content attribute values (for example, non-normatively, “all, teacher” for a page criticizing education from a student’s perspective but not for a teacher’s list of answers to a student quiz for which only the “teacher” value would be appropriate)

  • — “adult” and “mature”, which have the same meaning, may depend on a precise minimum age boundary, and are for page content that a nonadult and the immature should not access even if desiring to do so; either of these values is not the same as “grownup”; either “adult” or “mature” excludes the value “all” or “everyone”; however, any person or other entity responsible for preventing a nonadult or the immature from accessing the page content should not rely on either or both of these values to do so without another means

  • — “child” and “juvenile”, which have the same meaning

  • — “teen”

  • — “grownup” is not identical to “adult” or “mature” in that “grownup” shall not imply a precise age boundary but is approximately any person who may be able to understand and appropriately apply the content (for example, non-normatively, car driving instruction that may be read by a minor not yet old enough to drive a car but who would likely benefit from somewhat early exposure to the instruction)

  • — “older” including retiree

  • — values using any numbers in the form of “3-6 years old”, whether a range or a single-number value and if a range whether the range includes a hyphen or an en-dash

  • — values using any year, decade, or century in the form of “born in 1970”, “born in 1970s”, “born in 20th century”, or “born in century 20”, respectively (whether a decade begins with a year ending in “0” or with a year ending in “1” is not determined by this specification) (a value such as “born in 2000s” expresses only the decade of the 2000s and not the whole 21st century while the whole 21st century can be expressed with “born in 21st century” or “born in century 21”)

  • — “parent” to include guardian and temporary caregiver, a babysitter or nanny being a temporary caregiver

  • — “teacher” to include professor and ad hoc instructor

  • — “elementary school student” to include any student below high school (this is based on the education model prevailing in the U.S. and the value should be interpreted for an equivalent education level outside of the U.S. regardless of education terminology and organization in use there)

  • — “high school student” (this is based on the education model prevailing in the U.S. and the value should be interpreted for an equivalent education level outside of the U.S. regardless of education terminology and organization in use there)

  • — “elhi” to include any student in elementary school through high school (this is based on the education model prevailing in the U.S. and the value should be interpreted for an equivalent education level outside of the U.S. regardless of education terminology and organization in use there)

  • — values using any integer or decimal number with only one digit to the right of the decimal point in the form of “grade 8” or “grade 6.4” including to refer to a reading comprehension level (non-normatively, it is noted that this generally will not exceed 12 and might be meaningless above 20 so, normatively, values too high to be meaningful shall be interpreted as the highest meaningful value)

  • — “college student” including graduate and professional school but should not include trade or vocational school or an employer’s education program for its employees

  • — “business” including management, finance, and prospective customers (this should include e-commerce and investor sites)

  • — “health” including any health care provider including alternative and ad hoc

  • — “patient” for any health care recipient

  • — “lawyer” including judge, paralegal, and jailhouse lawyer

  • — “law client” for any prospective recipient of a lawyer’s service, with lawyer including paralegal and jailhouse lawyer but typically not judge

  • — “craft” for any craftworker including laborer and artisan

  • — “artist” including musician, actor, dancer, and sculptor and including creator and performer

  • — “military” including paramilitary

  • — “news” including any consumer of rapidly-developing news

  • — “introductory” and “beginner”, which have the same meaning

  • — “intermediate” and “midlevel”, which have the same meaning

  • — “advanced” and “advance”, which have the same meaning

  • — “scholarly” and “scholar”, which have the same meaning

  • — “popular” generally referring to a writing style

  • — “viewers” for when content (such as a silent movie or, for example, non-normatively, often a non-silent movie) is intended almost entirely to be seen rather than read

  • — “listeners” for when content (such as music but not sheet music) is intended almost entirely to be heard rather than read but not generally including text-to-speech support

  • — “institution” including from corporation to conspiracy (for example, non-normatively, for management advice)

  • — “government” including agencies and prospective politicians

  • — “tts”, “text-to-speech”, or “text to speech”, which three have the same meaning and which are for a page that has substantial support for TTS or that will be readily understood through TTS without need for that support (non-normatively herein, TTS is often aided by, for example, pre-resolving in source code a pronunciation ambiguity that off-website TTS technology may not correctly render)

  • — “data-. . .” where the ellipsis as replaced is not a recognized value but is an unrecognized private value, as described below

Additional tokens may be proposed to the creator or author of this page. Non-normatively, contact information with respect to this specification is provided through a link on the page where this specification is published.

Sec. 2.1.3: Private Values

Non-normatively, private values may be enforcable so as to limit access to a page, such as on an intranet by adding such a capability to local user agents, but this specification does not provide a means for such enforcement. A non-normative example is of an organization limiting access to some pages to vice-presidents and higher or to janitors and lower.

If such meta “audience” element is on a page that is not to be exposed to the Internet, in the content attribute value any token may be present provided that “private” as a caseless token is also present and all of the tokens are comma-separated from each other. A creator may create or accept a private definition for any token other than “private” and an owner of an off-Internet intranet or single computer may, insofar as allowed by law other than this specification, require such acceptance of such a private definition. In the event that such meta “audience” element with such a content attribute value (including the token “private”) is exposed to the Internet, a user agent shall ignore the element.

Non-normatively, it is noted that authoring a page for exposure at one time to a user through the Internet and for exposure at another time to a user not through the Internet might be impracticable because it may be impossible or especially difficult for a user or a user agent to determine whether a request by a user agent for a file (or portion thereof) is transiting or will transit the Internet. Therefore, the balance of this paragraph is normative only if such determination can be made in an instance with respect to a file (or portion thereof) on which such meta “audience” element is present. If a page may be exposed to the Internet at one or more times but not at one or more other times, there may be on such page at least two such meta “audience” elements with at least one such meta “audience” element having the content attribute value set for exposure to the Internet and at least one other such meta “audience” element having the content attribute value set for no exposure to the Internet. If a user or user agent determines that the page (or portion thereof) was retrieved not through the Internet, the user agent shall not process any such meta “audience” element from which in the content attribute value the token “private” is absent. If a user or user agent determines that the page (or portion thereof) was retrieved possibly through the Internet, the user agent shall not process any such meta “audience” element in which in the content attribute value the token “private” is present.

Sec. 2.2: Absence of Audience Meta Element

The absence of the meta element named “audience” defaults to a value of “all” but without necessarily overriding another indication of an appropriate audience arrived at by another means.

Sec. 3: Security, History, and Backwards Compatibility

This section is non-normative except as otherwise stated.

Sec. 3.1: Security

Only one security implication has been identified with respect to this specification. That implication is with content for which the audience is or includes that identified herein as “adult” and “mature” and the resolution thereof has been stated in the list item for “adult” and “mature”. Therefore, the same implication applies to an audience identified herein as “all” and “everyone”.

Sec. 3.2: History

The original author and editor of this specification, except as otherwise stated, was Nick Levinson, who can be contacted through a link on this page.

A version of this specification was first published on https://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/MetaExtensions on , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=3727 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=3727&oldid=3705); its version was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1 and should now be so known. Version 1 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=3810 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=3810&oldid=3732) into a version that was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.0.1 and should now be so known. Version 1.0.1 was revised on , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=3811 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=3811&oldid=3810); its version was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.0.2 and should now be so known. Version 1.0.2 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=4088 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=4088&oldid=3824) into a version that was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.1 and should now be so known. Version 1.1 may or may not have been revised, but probably was not, in the course of being moved on the WHATWG MetaExtensions wiki page at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=5908 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=5908&oldid=5604) into a version that was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.1.1 and should now be so known. Version 1.1.1 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=6432 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=6432&oldid=6431) into a version that was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.1.2 and should now be so known. Version 1.1.2 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=6557 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=6557&oldid=6519) into a version that was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.1.3 and should now be so known. Version 1.1.3 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=10012 (with the page differences at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=10012&oldid=10011) into a version that was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.1.4 and should now be so known. Version 1.1.4 was revised into version 2, which was published on this page on . Version 2 was revised into version 2.0.1, published on . Version 2.0.1 was revised into this version.

This paragraph is only about the HTML meta element with the name attribute value set to “audience”, first published on the WHATWG wiki MetaExtensions page in , and deleted from the WHATWG wiki MetaExtensions page in . A version of that specification was first published on https://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/MetaExtensions at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=9350 (with the differences page at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=9350&oldid=9339); its version was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1 and should now be so known. Version 1 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=9351 (with the differences page at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=9351&oldid=9350); its version was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.0.1 and should now be so known. Version 1.0.1 was revised at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=9352 (with the differences page at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=9352&oldid=9351); its version was undesignated but, normatively, it was implicitly version 1.0.2 and should now be so known. Version 1.0.2 was deleted at , at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&oldid=9421 (with the differences page at https://wiki.whatwg.org/index.php?title=MetaExtensions&diff=9421&oldid=9420) (deproposal by deletion).

Sec. 3.3: Backwards Compatibility

Backwards compatibility is intended.

Sec. 4: Intellectual Property For This Specification

Sec. 4.1: Copyright Status

Insofar as lawful, with respect to the CC0 1.0 Universal legal tool (herein “CC0”) (summarized at https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) (both URLs as accessed ) of the Creative Commons Corporation, Nick Levinson, the original author and editor of this specification, has, upon first publication of this specification, hereby become the Affirmer under CC0 and hereby elected to apply CC0 to this specification, to publicly distribute this specification, and to make this specification available all as provided for in CC0 and hereby waived, abandoned, surrendered, granted, affirmed, offered, and disclaimed all as provided for in CC0 with respect to this specification.

Sec. 4.2: Trademarks, Endorsements, and Associations

“Creative Commons” is a trademark of Creative Commons Corporation; use of such trademark does not imply endorsement by or association with Creative Commons Corporation.

“CC0” is a trademark of Creative Commons Corporation; use of such trademark does not imply endorsement by or association with Creative Commons Corporation.

Sec. 4.3: Other Claims

Except as otherwise referenced, the original author and editor of this specification, Nick Levinson, is not aware of any claim by any other person or entity to intellectual property adversely affecting this specification.

Sec. 5: Section Titles Not Restrictive

Titles of sections, including subsections at all subsectional depths, are provided solely for convenience and do not restrict the meaning of the content of the respective sections. Titles of sections include headlines of sections.