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Re: Validity

From: Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2005 11:36:20 -0800
Message-Id: <ECAB8249-0EA4-41D6-ADF4-F6A4A5E0298C@bestkungfu.com>
Cc: Bruce Bailey <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
To: Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>

On Nov 5, 2005, at 10:34 PM, Gez Lemon wrote:
> On 06/11/05, Matt May <mcmay@bestkungfu.com> wrote:
>> Further, if anything, my position is counter to my own interests.  
>> It is in
>> my best interest as a skilled author of HTML (and part-owner of a  
>> company
>> which sells these services) for WCAG 2 to have a minimum  
>> requirement of
>> validity, because I am one of very few developers who is capable  
>> of reliably
>> achieving that standard. I maintain this position because of my  
>> awareness
>> through the time I spent working on standards and interacting with  
>> various
>> segments of my own field that a large majority of people wouldn't  
>> have the
>> first clue how to create valid content.
> With respect, Matt, I think you're overstating your skills. I have
> nothing but the greatest admiration for your skills, and would be the
> first to agree that you are by far outweighed by developers that
> couldn't match your skills, but I don't think those that do equal your
> talents could be described as "very few".

I would say that no more than 5% of any size group, whether it's 5  
out of 100, 50,000 out of 1 million, or 50 million out of 1 billion,  
qualifies in my view as "very few." That's not to say they can't get  
close, but close doesn't satisfy the validator.

Anyway, it's _conformance_ to the HTML spec that satisfies the  
requirements that have been specified, not just validation. People  
can fix validity errors without actually producing useful HTML in the  
process, simply by focusing on individual problems the validator  
points out, without thinking about what they mean or how to solve  
them. Often, their fixes complicate the overall problem. This is the  
cargo-cult way of doing things, and it's what we're trying to avoid.

> This also relates to your
> cargo cult argument, and your personal relationship with people that
> were involved in writing W3C specifications; elitism shouldn't be a
> consideration in these discussions, as all it does it shut out those
> that may have opinions that are worth considering.

While I can't insulate myself against claims of elitism, I can say  
that I'm not basing the core of my argument on it. What I have said  
up to this point is that most of the Web today is invalid; not enough  
tools exist to produce valid content consistently; and not enough  
people can reliably produce new, conforming content, much less repair  
the petabytes (that's 1 with 15 zeroes after it, or a million billion  
bytes) of content already in existence. I hope that asserting my  
knowledge, gained from working with the producers of a large number  
of authoring tools, both commercial and open-source, cannot so easily  
be discounted as "elitism."

Received on Sunday, 6 November 2005 19:36:28 UTC

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