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Re: Cleaning House

From: Tina Holmboe <tina@greytower.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 13:03:42 +0200
To: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>
Cc: Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@royal-tunbridge-wells.org>, www-html@w3.org, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070506110342.GF23727@greytower.net>

On Sun, May 06, 2007 at 12:38:18PM +0200, Anne van Kesteren wrote:

> >As a standards organisation, the W3C defines what /should/ be done,
> >rather than merely rubber-stamping what is an actually an artifact
> >of uninformed usage, poor tools, and a lack of concern for accessibility.
> 
> We have to remain realistic as well. If people more often incorrectly use  
> something it may be that just need to accept that. The language should be  
> designed for as many people as possible, uninformed or not. Ivory tower  
> viewpoints don't really improve the web.

  /Realistically/ speaking, if you take the time to actually study raw
  markup used on the web, means this:

   <div class="header1">

  and

   <b style="position: absolute ; top: 150px ;">Welcome!</b>

  So to answer the question:

> # Are the semantics defined solely by the specification (Prescriptivism)
> # or informed by actual use (Descriptivism)? For human languages,
> # linguists generally take the Descriptivist approach. This turns out to
> # be a more productive way to interpret artifacts in human languages such
> # as English.

  "Descriptivism" is of no use what so ever in defining standards and
  specifications. While humans may - and I say MAY - be able to understand
  gobbledegook, browsers are not.

  When one party "invent" interpretations of anything, another party
  cease understanding it. The Tower of Babel is a good myth to read up
  on for us who work with markup languages.

  The above markup examples are taken from real-life documents. As a
  sighted human I could easily infer that they were headers. As has
  been pointed out repeatedly: a non-sighted user does not have the
  luxury of precise guesswork based on visual clues.

  Linguists may study the way language change, but /teachers/ teach
  it the way it /is/, now, not the way it may become a decade from
  now when someone has made "fnuffr" to mean discussing in vain on a
  W3C mailing-list.


-- 
 - Tina Holmboe
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 11:03:46 GMT

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