W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > February 2000

RE: Name namespace, namespaces and names in general

From: <rev-bob@gotc.com>
Date: 14 Feb 2000 09:18:20 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <20000214091952.SM01104@Unknown.>
> ** Original Sender: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
> On Mon, 14 Feb 2000, Jonny Axelsson wrote:
> > "Not used as originally intended" is not wrong. 
> I couldn't disagree more strongly.  The use is governed by a standard.
> Why have standards at all, then?  

Reality check, Arjun.  Nonstandard use *can be* bad, but that's also
where we get innovation.  You're coming real close to becoming the
Style Police, and that's not a step you want to take.

Take, for example, the original concept of the Web.  It was designed
as a way for scholars to exchange academic information.  However,
those same tools were put to unintended uses, leading to the vast
explosion of Web pages on all kinds of subjects that we see today.

Advocating that a tool be used correctly (hold the saw's handle, not
the blade) is different from mandating that a tool only be used for a
certain set of purposes (use the saw on pine, not oak).  Granted, in
this particular example, I agree with you that the proposed concept
is probably ill-advised - but with that last comment, you come rather
close to the "saws are for pine, not for oak" school of thought.  I say,
if the tool will do the job, use it.  There may be a better tool out there,
but "if it's stupid and it works, it isn't stupid."

> > Generally speaking, no worthwhile development or invention has
> > been used as originally intended.
> This is completely specious.

No, the statement is relevant - unproven, but plausible.  (For
instance, I consider the spork a "worthwhile invention" that has
only been used for its intended purpose.)  Sure, the statement's
*application* may be flawed....

> The "invention" in question - it's actually a *convention*

Careful, Arjun.  Conventions are practices followed because people
are used to them.  That doesn't make them good practices; in fact,
rather the opposite tends to happen.  Convention quite often calcifies
into obsolescence and bureaucracy.  Ever heard the story of the
woman who always chopped the end off of a ham before cooking it?

> - exists at all *only* because of a defining standard that had the
> good sense to provide for a necessary *and* useful concept.

So he wants to try putting that mechanism to a different use.  So what?
The worst he can do is fail - and the best he can do is find another way
to do something.  If he fails, he harms himself.  If he succeeds, we all

 Rev. Robert L. Hood  | http://rev-bob.gotc.com/
  Get Off The Cross!  | http://www.gotc.com/
Received on Monday, 14 February 2000 09:18:39 UTC

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