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My city's HTML is valid, how about yours?

From: Olivier Thereaux <ot@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 17:40:04 +0900
To: public-evangelist@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020812084004.GA12355@w3.mag.keio.ac.jp>

Long story short:

Food for thought : local communities, city hall, city library, school,
university, etc. might be a good target for punctual evangelism effort.

Long story not so short:

Yesterday I visited my city's website: http://www.city.shibuya.tokyo.jp/
Yes, I know, it's all in japanese, but did you see the icons? Yes, the
page is actually made with valid HTML and CSS.

At first I went "wow, my city's cool, I always knew it!". Then I figured
out how pathetic it was to be enthusiast just because, for once, I had
found a valid webpage that wasn't owned/written by a geek.

Why do geeks validate their webpages? Because they're cool. Sure, sure.
But certainly they did that because they know this guy who has a friend
who knows someone that has been at a conference with a speaker who
read a book by someone who once heard about the validator, or read an
article. Or something like that.

The point is, web geeks do validate because someone convinced them to do
so. Of course "web geeks" are easier to convince than "web designers"
(sorry if this sounds pejorative), but there are other ways to ease the
evangelism work than "good will". Starting with proximity. It's always
easier (sorry, this is my non-geek side speaking, won't happen again)
to convince someone when you can chat with this person face-to-face, in
front of a coffee. Those of us who have tried to explain "why this is
the right way" by sending a 'nice, polite, informative e-mail with loads
of links to comprehensive resources'(TM) know what I'm talking about.

The web doesn't want to grow up, because it's not funny becoming an
adult when everyone remains a child. In other words, if we want to beat
the "I don't care about valid HTML, no-one does" logic, we need to find
a base of sites that are likely to cooperate. "Public" sites are a good
target, for two reasons :
 - proximity : you can actually go see the person in charge of the web
 and offer to help (offer a coffee too, it helps ;)
 - quality constraints : it may sound manichean, but where the private
   sector is driven by marketing (hence the "go to hell, my customer
   base uses IE5/NS4/your-browser-here" typical answer), the public
   sector has some obligations towards quality. An obvious example is
   section 508 for accessibility of govt-funded sites in the USA.

There is space for a nice initiative where volunteers would (try to)
convince local authorities to improve the quality of their websites,
and possibly helping them to do so (there's no better argument to
convince public authorities than benevolent work offers :).

Annex project would be (yes, again) writing a little paper with key
information to explain to those "people in charge". I'm confident 
(maybe optimistic) that it wouldn't take a full business cases kit.

Thoughts, anyone?

Cheers. olivier.
Olivier Thereaux - W3C
http://www.w3.org/People/olivier | http://yoda.zoy.org
Received on Monday, 12 August 2002 04:40:06 UTC

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