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

[HDP] Rename "Pave the Cowpaths" to something less analogy-prone

From: Andrew Sidwell <takkaria@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 23:16:02 +0100
Message-ID: <46CCB5A2.9050507@gmail.com>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
CC: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, public-html <public-html@w3.org>

Julian Reschke wrote:
> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>> ...
>> Julian Reschke wrote:
>>> A cowpath is a sign that many people want to achieve something. But
>>> just paving it may be the wrong solution. 
>> That comment doesn't make sense.  The first sentence correctly
>> describes the concept of a cowpath, but the second sentence seems to
>> miss the point.  Paving the cowpathts is just about addressing
>> existing use cases and practices using whatever the best solution is,
>> not necessarily the existing solution.
>> ...
> Well, I think it does.
> What I wanted to say is that it may be better not to pave the cowpath,
> but to pave something nearby (solving the same problem, but not
> necessarily exactly the same way) -- for instance because paving it
> as-is may be in conflict with other design principles (accessibility,
> I18N, security...).

I think it would be useful to rename or reword the principle
so as not to talk of cows or paths at all, but rather to say
exactly what it means.  At the moment, it seems to encourage
talking via analogy, which would not be an issue if everyone
used the analogy in the same way - but they don't.

If Lachlan's rewording of the principle was to be adopted, I
would suggest renaming it - to "Meet the desires of authors"
or similar.

Just a suggestion.  Feel free to ignore it. :)

Andrew Sidwell
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 22:16:25 UTC

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