W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Re: Comments on IRC log

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 05:45:01 +0000 (UTC)
To: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@ncbi.ie>
Cc: foliot@wats.ca, "'Patrick H. Lauke'" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.0708020531590.9342@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Thu, 26 Jul 2007, Joshue O Connor wrote:
> > > 
> > > # [07:52] <Hixie> the most annoying thing for me in public-html is 
> > > the way most people jump to a solution rather than determining the 
> > > problem
> 
> Thats not true. People try their best to answer related threads and 
> contribute. If there is frustration about this then it should be made 
> more explicit that there is an expectation or preference for problem 
> determination rather than problem solution. That will totally confuse 
> the kids.

I'm not sure exactly which part of what I said you think is not true, but 
for what it's worth I've already posted several times to this list being 
extremely explicit about the fact that what we need are descriptions of 
problems, not solutions:

   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Jun/0003.html
   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Jun/0863.html
   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Jun/0946.html
   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Jun/0953.html

To this day, though, people focus on solutions before fully describing the 
problems they are trying to solve. This isn't an effective language design 
strategy, and would IMHO be ultimately doomed to failure if we followed 
it. As editor, I have been ignoring, and intend to continue to ignore, 
solution proposals that are not first backed with separate and detailed 
descriptions of problems, with related research.


> > > # # [07:55] <Lachy> like in the whole headers="" debate, I tried to
> talk about how we could make tables accessible without needing headers,
> and basically got accused of ignoring the needs of the accessibility
> community
> > > # # [07:55] <Hixie> yeah
> > > # # [07:56] <Hixie> it's ridiculous
> 
> This is slightly alarming as it seems to say that - we tried to ask you
> what you thought but we didn't like the answer we got so we may not ask
> again in the future.

The headers="" debate resulted in significant progress in terms of getting 
solid research, but sadly the relevant wiki page:

   http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/IssueTableHeaders

...is still very much focussed on the solution rather than the problem. It 
includes a lot of research, which is really great, but, for example, the 
header of the page is "Headers Attribute" (as opposed to "associating 
header cells with data cells" or some such), the very first sentence in 
the issue description basically describes the problem as the lack of this 
attribute (the second sentence is better, though vague), the "Rationale" 
section is all about the headers="" attribute, etc.

It would be much more helpful to work from a problem description. As of 
today, this page goes much more in this direction:

   http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/LongdescRetention

...despite the name of the page, the actual description of the problem is 
solution-agnostic.

HTH,
-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 2 August 2007 05:45:23 UTC

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