Lest anyone think I’m not an equal-opportunity ranter, I’ll pull this out of my comments:
The default WordPress theme includes vertical bars in the “postmetadata” section, between the category (and the “Edit this” link if you are logged in) and the number of comments, with
which, as I said, would seem to be trying to say as semantically as it can, “No, really, dude, I mean it: vertical bar!”
Repeat after me:
<strong> is not a “better”
<em> is not a “better”
<i> still appear in the DTDs for XHTML 1.0 and XHTML 1.1’s Presentation Module, they are not deprecated or worse than their semantic cousins with the same usual screen presentation, they are different. If you want to say something strongly or with emphasis, use the appropriate element, but if you only want it to be bold or italic, again, use the appropriate element. Screen readers should not be told to read “Posted in carping VERTICAL BAR fifteen comments.”
And, yes, this time I did file a bug rather than just ranting.