W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > January 2002

Re: "valid [X]HTML x.x!" icons are Evil

From: James Ralston <qralston+ml.www-validator@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 15:29:13 -0500 (EST)
To: Nick Kew <nick@webthing.com>
cc: www-validator <www-validator@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0201301518440.16277-100000@pcmy.sei.cmu.edu>
[My apologies for the looooong delay before getting back to this...]

Nick, I don't have a problem with the badges you describe, provided
that they don't make validity assertions about the pages they're
placed on.  (E.g., "click here to validate this page", not "this page
is valid".)

My point was simply that it's a horrible idea for the W3C validator to
encourage web authors to slap "this page is valid!"  badges on their
web pages, when the W3C *knows* that the definition of "valid" may
change.  This is a terrific betrayal of trust, and the eventual
backlash will be aimed not specifically at "this page is valid!"
badges, but at the concept of validation in general.

James Ralston, Information Technology
Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

On Thu, 20 Dec 2001, Nick Kew wrote:

> On Thu, 20 Dec 2001, James Ralston wrote:
> > On Mon, 17 Dec 2001, Nick Kew wrote:
> > > Isn't the purpose of the icon to propagate the notion that
> > > validation, or more generally standards-compliance, is a Good
> > > Thing?
> >
> > Yes, and it's a noble goal, but asking web authors to propagate
> > that notion by *explicitly advertising their pages as being valid*
> > is a horrible injustice, when the W3C darn well *knows* that a
> > future change of theirs might invalidate countless of pages with
> > the "valid [X]HTML x.x!" icons on them.
> That kind-of implies a rather high degree of self-awareness on the
> part of W3C, which I suspect (though I am of course open to
> correction) comes only in the wake of this months discussion.
> > I'd really like to see someone from the W3C comment on my original
> > "'valid [X]HTML x.x!' icons are Evil" post.  (Perhaps it's being
> > discussed, but from my point of view, all I hear is crickets
> > chirping...)
> Maybe you should try #validator on IRC, which is the other forum for
> this.  The trouble with official pronouncements is that they do
> require rather more preparation than a post by you or me.
> Would you still say the badges were a bad thing, if they were
> accompanied by a service that would email you a report listing
> invalid pages on your site, with links to the tools to fix it?  This
> is not a hypothetical question: it's an element of the Site Valet QA
> programme.
Received on Wednesday, 30 January 2002 15:30:51 UTC

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