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

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Sun Oct 2 15:36:32 PDT 2005

Molly and Ryan, you've both made great points.

Molly, in particular, please do reach out to Joshua Porter.  As someone who
is focused on helping the *user* Joshua will likely find the appeal of the
"humans first" approach of microformats.

I've reached out to Randy Charles Morin on a number of occasions, and have
had no luck.

There's basically a set of "XML zealots" that actively dislike semantic
(X)HTML, I'm not sure how else to put it.

For these folks, I've learned that the only way to convince them is to go
off and succeed with real working examples, rather than to try to spend time
educating them.  They don't *want* to be educated.  Heck, they don't think
they *need* to be educated, they think they are already experts on semantic
markup (never mind that typically none of their web pages are valid).

I mean, if anyone does want to spend time educating them, please, by all
means do so.  I've just decided that my own time is better spent making
microformats succeed rather than fighting/arguing/educating XML zealots.
I've already spent *plenty* of time doing in various W3C contexts to know
the apparent success rate there, at least for me.



On 10/2/05 3:24 PM, "Ryan King" <ryan at technorati.com> wrote:

> Molly-
> I'm so glad you're here. I somehow didn't realize you were on the list.
> Your analysis below is great. I think we (myself especially) can be
> rather myopic, assuming that others' have the same technical
> background and experience. I think we also treat others as
> adversaries, where it would be more productive to treat them as
> "opportunities for education" or "opportunities for community building."
> I know there's several people on this list (and they probably know
> who they are) that I was, at one point, tempted to treat as
> *adversaries,* but who I now count as friends and collaborators.
> -ryan
> On Oct 2, 2005, at 1:49 PM, Molly Holzschlag wrote:
>> 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
>> goals.
>> Molly
>> 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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>> h
> --
> Ryan King
> ryan at technorati.com
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