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RE: On validation

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 11:25:43 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'Henri Sivonen'" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "'Sam Ruby'" <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Cc: "'HTMLWG WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <05e101c9ede6$d1d24850$7576d8f0$@edu>
Ian Hickson wrote:
> Is selling a map or a compass to a camper or explorer "intended to
> explorer behavior" or is it "intended to help explorers stay within safe
> boundaries"? I think this is more or less the same thing.

As a former boy scout and avid camper, it is interesting that you use this
analogy.  The compass is a tool, which, given a specific instance could be
used for either: you sell a compass to a boy scout, so that you can teach
him how to use it properly - thus "modify explorer behavior" (armed with
the compass and the knowledge to use it correctly, the boy scout will no
longer head off into the woods unprepared)

So while it is simple to suggest that a compass is used for "... help[ing]
explorers stay within safe boundaries", the real answer is much more
complicated than that.

Continuing on with the compass analogy... if nobody teaches you that a
compass points to magnetic north, rather than true north you could, by
extension presume that following the needle to "north" will ultimately
land you at the north pole (work with me here...) - which trained users of
compasses know to be false.  Yet if you stopped 25 random people on the
street and asked them whether following a compass needle would take them
to the "north pole", chances are a significant number would guess yes.  

Does this then suggest that compasses are broken?  Perhaps their
interfaces should be adjusted so that when the needle points to magnetic
north, it is 'corrected' to point to true north instead, to better serve
all users of compasses?  Or do we take navigators, cartographers and other
"compass experts" at their word when they say that it is better to leave
compasses pointing at magnetic north, and focus instead on better
educating the community on the difference between magnetic north and true
north, and on the fact that compasses point to magnetic north.

I'm just saying...

Received on Monday, 15 June 2009 18:26:21 UTC

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