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Re: Does anyone like microdata?

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 18:40:11 -0500
Message-ID: <4A4950DB.40805@burningbird.net>
To: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
CC: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Doug Schepers wrote:
> Hi, Shelley-
> I read and reread this thread, and I have to say, I do understand 
> where Jonas is coming from (as do others, clearly).
> I am hardly a person with admirable restraint, myself, and I would 
> count myself among those who have a problem with how Hixie seems to 
> make irrevocable decisions based on his own biases (which I do not 
> share).  I frequently disagree not only with what he has decided, but 
> how he has done so, and the rhetoric he uses.  So, I think I'm in a 
> relatively good position to be objective here, in that I am --in some 
> sense-- on your side.
> Reading through your email, the points you raise are all decent and 
> reasonable.  You rightfully questioned whether Maciej had framed the 
> question correctly, and the audience he selected, and whether he drew 
> premature conclusions.  I also agree that we might consider giving 
> people who don't comment on the list less weight than those who who 
> do, because they aren't supplying rationales.  (However, we can also 
> assume that for each of those who do speak up, there are others who 
> feel like their own thoughts are represented by the opinions already 
> expressed, and it's reasonable for Maciej to assume that there are 
> more people who do like microdata.)
> So, overall, I agree with your points.
> But when I read your email, the thing that jumped out at me was not 
> the salience of your critiques, but the tone.
> Phrases like, "I beg your pardon," "So I'm sorry", "their opinions are 
> irrelevant", and calling out Maciej by name and repeatedly using an 
> indicative "you"... all of these things strike an accusing, combative, 
> dismissive tone.  Likewise, your sarcasm at the close put the cap on 
> it; I have little doubt that it was merely intended as humor (and I 
> admit that I've also used a similar sardonic tone), but such jokes are 
> almost certain to fall flat in a tough crowd like this.  At this 
> point, the HTML mailing list is a powderkeg, so you are more likely to 
> get positive results if you simply take out the heated words and use a 
> more objective tone.
> But it's not just the tone of one email.  This tends to have a 
> cascading effect: when one email goes negative, that tends to beget 
> more negative emails.  So, when someone reads that single email, they 
> get a feeling a dread... they know that the rest of the thread is 
> likely to be transformed into a battle zone.  You'll notice that none 
> of the many replies to your email really discussed the issues, or even 
> commented primarily (or at all) on the fine points you raised.  It 
> veered off into negametaland.  I would much rather discuss your 
> analysis on its merits.
> FWIW, I re-sent your email to my fiance to read over, giving her the 
> impression that I wrote it.  She had exactly the same reaction I did, 
> in exactly the same parts that I did; she said it sounded angry.  So, 
> in this case, there was no bias about the gender of the writer, as you 
> seemed to have suggested on Twitter.  (I sometimes have her read my 
> emails for tone, and this has helped, especially when I'm passionate 
> about an issue.)
> I'm writing this email because I think you have a keen mind and a 
> valuable perspective, and I want to see the representation from "my 
> side" have more effect on the spec.
> Regards-
> -Doug

I appreciate the feedback Doug.

I will not deny I was angry at Jonas' email. And I'm not going to 
apologize for being angry at his response, or anything I said in return. 
Jonas' email was offensive.

My response, though, to Maciej was reflecting a defensiveness based on 
other ongoing discussions. So I apologize to Maciej for coming across 
as  confrontational.

As to comment as to tone that was made earlier, that was made to a 
different thread. Again, I don't feel any inclination to apologize for 
"tone" in that thread. I did regret the use of some words, because 
they're trigger words. But I stand by everything else in that thread, 
tone and all.

Note, also, that I don't belong to any side here. I've tried to make 
that as clearly as possible, that I speak for myself, and only for myself.



> Shelley Powers wrote (on 6/29/09 5:55 PM):
>> Jonas Sicking wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 1:26 PM, Shelley
>>> Powers<shelley.just@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 2:59 PM, Maciej Stachowiak<mjs@apple.com> 
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> For the record, besides the on-list testimonials, I've received some
>>>>> off-list feedback indicating there are some others who like
>>>>> microdata but
>>>>> would rather not say so directly on the list.
>>>>> Overall, it seems like microdata has an audience of positive
>>>>> advocates, even
>>>>> though various people have reasons to dislike it.
>>> [snip]
>>>> So I'm sorry, but your search for feedback was extremely limited. I
>>>> would suggest broadening it, or refraining from making any conclusions
>>>> from the few feedbacks you have received.
>>> The only conclusion that I see Maciej making is that microdata "has an
>>> audience of positive advocates". It does not say anything about the
>>> size of this audience, and does not say anything regarding if there is
>>> consensus that it should be kept in.
>>> It further does not say anything about if the audience is happy with
>>> microdata as is, or if further technical discussions are needed.
>>>> As for people who do not respond on the list, their opinions are
>>>> irrelevant. Either people publicly commit their likes, or they go
>>>> uncounted. That is fair and appropriate, do you not agree?
>>> Why would people that say offlist that they are interested not count?
>>> Sure, it would be hard to take their technical feedback into account
>>> if we can't actually see their technical feedback, so their arguments
>>> are severely weakened.
>>> Or are you accusing Maciej or not being truthful?
>> No, I'm saying that people who are not willing to commit to the
>> specification, and voice their commitment, are people who are not part
>> of the discussion.
>> People mention in this group fairly frequently that decisions here are
>> based on scientific methodology. Well, hearsay is not a scientific
>> technique. It can't be measured, it can't be debated, it can't be more
>> minutely discussed.
>>>> Otherwise,
>>>> I've heard from thousands who feel positively ill at the sight of the
>>>> microdata section. No really, they just don't want to commit online.
>>> Have you really? If so that would be good feedback to get. If you are
>>> just making stuff up I'm starting to understand why you have such
>>> trust issues with other people on this list.
>> I was being facetious. Typically, understanding such requires
>> imagination. I will be more careful about using the more esoteric
>> communication techniques in this group.
>>> In general, I think you really need to stop your accusing tone on the
>>> HTML list. It was good to see you in a recent email say that you had
>>> been more critical of Ian than of his technical decisions. I had hoped
>>> that that would have led to the conclusion to stop attacking people
>>> personally and instead keep discussions on the HTML list to a
>>> technical nature.
>> I beg your pardon. As far as I can see, most of the personal attacks
>> today have been directed at me. I questioned Ian's judgment and biases,
>> because he is still the only author of HTML 5--his decisions are shaping
>> the specification. I have no intention of not continuing to be critical
>> of Ian's decisions, just more careful about word use. There are trigger
>> words, and I know better than to use them. Sometimes, though, I get
>> frustrated.
>>> This is the work environment for a lot of people and you are causing
>>> this environment to be very unpleasant at times.
>> I beg your pardon?
>>> Feel free to not agree with the technical decisions that people are
>>> making. Do counter those with technical arguments of your own.
>> I beg your pardon? Is this not what I've been doing?
>>> And feel free to disagree with the procedures that the working group
>>> is currently using. Do discuss this in *separate* threads, and direct
>>> them towards the *chairs* since they are the ones in charge of these
>>> matters.
>> I don't believe my issues with Maciej's statement, or Ian's decisions
>> are specific to the chairs. I don't need to run to daddy to intercede on
>> my behalf. I am more capable of holding my own in a debate, and in a
>> disagreement.
>>> And feel free to have trust issues with people. But keep those *off
>>> the list*.
>> And who has made the list unpleasant today? I would say your email was a
>> deliberate attempt to silence me and my criticism. That is something I
>> would never do, and have never done -- so who is really stepping over
>> the boundaries today?
>> I will continue as I began. If you wish to take this up with the chairs
>> to have me barred from the group, be prepared to have this discussed
>> more fully, not only in this group, but outside.
>> Now, can we return to discussion issues specific to the HTML 5
>> specification, and the decisions about the material included within it?
>> Shelley
>>> / Jonas
Received on Monday, 29 June 2009 23:41:04 UTC

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