W3C wrote:The ADDRESS element may be used by authors to supply contact information for a document or a major part of a document such as a form.
(Source: HTML 4.01: The ADDRESS Element.)
In WHATWG's HTML5, it's defined as this:
WHATWG wrote:The address element represents a paragraph of contact information for the section it applies to.
The address element must not be used to represent arbitrary addresses (e.g. postal addresses), unless those addresses are contact information for the section.
(Source: Web Applications 1.0: The address element.)
This seems to be quite a rare scenario to have an element dedicated to. If it were more general, surely the element would become more useful? Somewhat like <dl> being used for more than just dictionary-like definitions.
As examples (numbered for convenience):
- A general point of contact where messages would ultimately get passed on to the person responsible for the section where the <address> was found.
- People or departments responsible for more than that section.
- People or departments of the organisation the website is for, even if they are not directly responsible for the section in which the <address> occurs. (Example: Calthorpe Park School's contact page.)
- Member's profiles in forum and other social network systems, who have limited control over that section. (They can edit their own contact details and perhaps other personal information in that section, but don't work for the website.)
- Providing contact details of any type for any person or organisation.
Are there any implementations which rely on the current semantics? (AFAIK, there aren't.)
So then, should <address> be more general-purpose? (I think it should, if you hadn't guessed!)