W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > April 2007

Re: HTML5 script start tag should select appropriate content model according to src

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007 23:44:29 +0300
Message-Id: <62F63B69-FD18-4FFF-B088-6CF6EBEC02CE@iki.fi>
Cc: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>, www-html@w3.org
To: tina@greytower.net

On Apr 29, 2007, at 22:17, Tina Holmboe wrote:

>   Call me prickly if you want, but is it really necessary to use
>   emotionally laden terms such as "markup purists" in a serious
>   discussion?

They are concise. I'm sorry if those terms offend you. I'll try to be  
more polite at the expense of concise expression.

>   My answer to the above is yes. If the tools, which people do  
> appear to
>   root for, become better. I would without hesitation say that an  
> author
>   who takes the trouble of manually writing markup both should and  
> ought
>   have learnt to use the features of the language.

That seems like a moral argument.

>   So let's have it. Are we going to bother with semantics, or are we
>   going to keep tossing "anti-presentationalists" and "markup purists"
>   around?

Personally, I'm not going to bother with profound and detailed  
semantics until someone convinces me that they'd be used on the Web  
to an interesting degree.

You are welcome to join the HTML WG and to try to bother with  
semantics. However, please consider the following:

Putting something in the spec carries little weight if you cannot get  
people to use it. All the semantics defined in a spec are useless for  
markup consumers if you can't get people to produce semantic markup  
*correctly* and in the quantity that makes it worthwhile for  
consumers to prepare to consume those semantics.

There are four general ways to get people to do something:
  1) Make it fun. Well, semantics don't seem fun for most people.
  2) Make people believe that they are morally required to do it.  
This works for a subset of authors, but it appears that moral  
arguments don't move the authoring masses.
  3) Threaten with enforcement that after possible levels of  
indirection reduces to a threat of violence. (E.g. fine people for  
non-compliance and have it known that refusal to pay up leads to guys  
with guns coming to take the offender to jail.)  Currently, there  
doesn't appear to be political will to use the government-backed  
enforcement apparatus to enforce certain Web authoring practices.
  4) Provide amoral incentives that make people do the right thing as  
the side effect of pursuing their self-interest. This seems to work.

Proponents of semantic markup are generally stuck with #2 even though  
#4 is more effective on the Web. The marketing pitch for semantic  
markup needs to answer the question "What's in it for me?" To date,  
the marketing pitches have most often focused on answering "What's in  
it for theoretical consumers?"

Henri Sivonen
Received on Sunday, 29 April 2007 20:44:25 UTC

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