W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa@w3.org > October 2001

Re: Conformance and Implementations

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 10:51:07 -0600 (MDT)
To: Andrew Thackrah <andrew@opengroup.org>
cc: www-qa@w3c.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.10.10110101018380.75109-100000@measurement-factory.com>
On Wed, 10 Oct 2001, Andrew Thackrah wrote:

> The W3C currently promotes the use of an online HTML validator. If
> a page is sucessfully validated the author is invited to display a
> small 'conformance' graphic on the page. This is a form of
> branding. What is the thinking behind this service? What is the
> W3C hoping to achieve by this?

I think we should distinguish the service from the 'conformance'

The validating service is a simple test suite. There were several
remarks on this thread supporting test suite development/promotion as
an important QA goal.

The graphic itself probably has a minimal positive effect, but we can
ignore it. AFAIK, anybody can:
	- put an icon on an invalid page
	- put no icon on a valid page
	- put a "W3C sucks!" icon on any page
with no significant consequences for W3C or the page. This is because
W3C does not protect the "W3C" trademark. I have tried to argue that
this "minimal positive effect" is the best we can do right now.

> One problem it may have is the kind of negative 'halo effect' that
> would come from a broken browser rendering a conformant page
> badly. The page, although technically correct, would look broken.
> If every page bearing a W3C brand looked broken (in that browser),
> there is the danger of creating a bad association with W3C.

Yes, there is a minor potential problem. My argument is that we should
leave it "as is" before we make it worse and real. The world is
imperfect. Not every problem can be solved, given the current
mentality of an average human. However, virtually every problem can
be made worse.

All "solutions" we have been hearing on this thread involve raising
legal status of W3C trademarks. If there is any legal document
attached to that icon or, worse, the test suite, I, as a small
developer, am much more likely to stay away from them because I do not
want to pay a lawyer for translating that document.

On the other hand, if somebody wants to start a company that will sell
legally binding "HTML/13.0 compliant" icons, that's perfectly fine.
Received on Wednesday, 10 October 2001 12:51:16 UTC

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