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Re: [groff] 19/25: [docs]: Be specific re: default vertical spacing.

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: [groff] 19/25: [docs]: Be specific re: default vertical spacing.
Date: Sun, 03 Apr 2022 07:32:34 -0500

[log entry:]
>     It was probably unnecessary to hedge against future changes in standard
>     typographical vertical spacing.  The 120% ratio convention is older than
>     I am and I expect it to long survive me.
[added text:]
> +In ordinary circumstances, this quantity is 120% of the type size.  The

This sentence feels a little misleading.  As your commit log entry points out, 
this is the *typographic* convention.  But this sentence appears in groff 
documentation, and nothing in groff makes this 120% "ordinary": the user must 
explicitly specify a .vs value that is 120% of her .ps value in order to make 
this true in troff.  Just as likely, the user will specify both of these values 
as integers (e.g., 12p and 14p), which works out to close to but not precisely 
120%.  (As noted in the discussion, groff 
itself and many full-service macro packages lack a built-in mechanism to set 
the line spacing as a given percentage of the type size; -me and -mom are two 
exceptions that do enable this.)

The ratio of the startup values of these two quantities is 120%, but I don't 
think "by default" and "in ordinary circumstances" are synonymous; the latter 
phrase can be construed as saying that groff, in at least some circumstances, 
maintains this percentage after a change to the type size.

One alternate way to phrase this (if you're not happy with reverting to the 
original wording) could be, "Traditionally, typesetters have set this quantity 
to 120% of the type size."  This acknowledges both the typographical precedent 
you cite in the commit log, and the fact that the user must explicitly make it 
happen in groff.

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