[microformats-discuss] On Digital Web Article and Educating Others (was Web 2.0: Abused)

Molly Holzschlag molly at molly.com
Sun Oct 2 13:49:07 PDT 2005

I've been wanting an opportunity to pipe up and say hello to everyone, and
the comments on the Digital Web article provide a good opportunity to do
just that. 

Many people here know me but for those that don't, I am an author and
educator, Group Lead of the Web Standards Project, and an invited expert to
the W3C Internationalization GEO group where I work on outreach and
relationships in the internationalization area.
I believe in this case the authors have good intentions, and as the general
readership of the Digital Web audience is mostly IA and design folks, that's
why we end up with Tantek's assessment that this particular article could
have been written years ago.

That certainly makes sense to a lot of people here, but not all writers and
educators are great technologists, or understand the lay of the land as the
more progressive and visionary folks do. I'm certainly in that category, and
I'm sure that's a lot of the reason Tantek has always reached out to me - so
I can improve my understanding and skills in order to make the concepts and
practices more approachable to a variety of skillsets.

While constructive criticism is one way to handle this sort of thing and
ignoring it is another, I believe that drawing the people into the community
is even better if it's possible to do, and in this case it is. It's
especially important when writers are putting information out there because
educating them (as I am being educated and corrected every day) makes a
better product for the masses who visit sites of this nature and don't have
the depth of skill, experience and technical savvy as so many of the
readership here does.  Ignoring them should only occur when they turn into
complete asshats and are unapproachable, and we know who those folks are, or
rapidly find out.

Where I can contribute something here is to help improve the good info >
writer/educator > developer flow.

I happen to know one of the authors - Joshua Porter.  He works for User
Interface Engineering (Jared Spool's company in Cambridge, Mass) and only
learned to write XHTML and CSS within the past two years, when he first
attended a session Eric Meyer and I taught at their UI Conference. We'll be
presenting that session in less than two week's time, so I think  great way
to help shift perspectives into more contemporary thinking and more
practical articles and information to get people on track is to reach out.
That said, I'll do just that, and an invitation to join a list such as this
would be great.

Another way to help is for those of us writing and speaking and training
from the outside in as well as from within companies and organizations is to
start pushing some of the materials more aggressively. Again, one way to do
this is to bring people into the fold who are open to this.

Bottom line is that I don't want to see people who are doing education and
outreach to very broad audiences be ignored or criticized if instead they
can be educated, which in turn is good for everyone and all our common


Molly E. Holzschlag
Author / Instructor / Web Designer
About Me: http://www.molly.com/
About Web Standards: http://www.webstandards.org/
About W3C GEO Working Group: http://www.w3.org/International/geo/ 

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