W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > site-comments@w3.org > October 2009

Re: New W3C Web Site Launched

From: Enrico Franconi <franconi@inf.unibz.it>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 12:00:34 +0200
Cc: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, site-comments@w3.org, chairs@w3.org, w3c-ac-forum@w3.org
Message-Id: <925FBC6D-3FFA-4A84-BAFD-DF5895AACC00@inf.unibz.it>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
having first thanked everybody for the excellent restyling resulting  
in a nice and usable web site, I still believe there is a bad message  
Are we really saying to the real world that the standards that W3C is  
setting up are not really helpful in the real world? Is the real world  
going to take us seriously after that? If there is a perception of W3C  
being too theoretical/abstract/detached from the real world, then  
either we explicitly agree that it is so (and so we are authorised to  
have a web site not using or complying to our standards) or we at  
least pretend that is possible to do everything following our  
standards, albeit with a bigger effort, which is then repaid by  
--e. - AC rep for UniBZ.

On 15 Oct 2009, at 10:48, Michael Hausenblas wrote:

> Dan,
> Thanks for the background information. Please let me ensure you (and  
> Ian)
> that I very much appreciate the work the team has invested. Great  
> effort and
> I'm now even better aware of how hard it was to achieve.
> Indeed, I have expressed my concern with my DERI AC Rep hat on. Not  
> because
> I think this makes the statement stronger or more important than a  
> personal
> opinion, but because I discussed with my colleagues here first and  
> it is my
> duty to communicate these concerns.
> Now, summing up - very nice work, especially given the tight (if  
> existent)
> budget and the legacy as outlined by you. I'm sure with the great team
> around Ian we will see even more advances and even more W3C  
> standards being
> used on w3.org and we are happy supporting the team (esp. regarding  
> RDFa ;)
> Cheers,
>      Michael
> -- 
> Dr. Michael Hausenblas
> LiDRC - Linked Data Research Centre
> DERI - Digital Enterprise Research Institute
> NUIG - National University of Ireland, Galway
> Ireland, Europe
> Tel. +353 91 495730
> http://linkeddata.deri.ie/
> http://sw-app.org/about.html
>> From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
>> Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 10:23:18 +0200
>> To: Michael Hausenblas <michael.hausenblas@deri.org>
>> Cc: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, <site-comments@w3.org>,  
>> <chairs@w3.org>, W3C
>> Members <w3c-ac-members@w3.org>
>> Subject: Re: New W3C Web Site Launched
>> Hi Michael,
>> On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 9:50 AM, Michael Hausenblas
>> <michael.hausenblas@deri.org> wrote:
>>> Ian,
>>> Indeed, very nice job re design and usability. However, I think we  
>>> should
>>> also take into account what our 'customers' think [1], [2]:
>>> "so, are #semanticweb standards too complicated when even the new  
>>> #w3c site
>>> doesn't use them? #stopsnakeoil"
>>> "@iand apparently all of them: No (obvious) RDF export, no SPARQL  
>>> API. Just
>>> some (broken!) hCalendar items."
>>> This is indeed a poor message we send out - why don't we eat our own
>>> dogfood? We have a couple of nice standards (RDFa, GRDDL, etc.) in  
>>> this area
>>> and should well be able to demonstrate that we are able to use  
>>> them, IMHO.
>>> Sorry for spoiling the party, but given the broad uptake of semantic
>>> technologies in the governmental area (US, UK), the eCommerce domain
>>> (GoodRelations), linked data stuff and Google and Yahoo! processing
>>> structured data, I can't seriously explain to my colleagues or  
>>> other W3C
>>> customers why we don't have structured data (preferably in RDF)  
>>> available at
>>> the new W3C site.
>>> Thoughts, anyone?
>> I appreciate your passion for SemWeb deployment, but I suspect you
>> have underestimated the massive amount of work involved in getting us
>> to this first - major - milestone in the modernisation of www.w3.org.
>> The team who got us this far deserve only thanks. Perhaps also beer
>> and cakes.
>> W3C's site is amongst the older major Web sites in continuous
>> operation, certainly the only to take link maintainance seriously  
>> over
>> such periods of time. If you include its custody of the earlier
>> materials from the original CERN WWW site, it is also a gateway to  
>> the
>> Web's earliest days.
>> The W3C site is a living dinosaur, a treasure trove, and a
>> maintainer's worst nightmare. This isn't your ordinary Web site
>> update; it's like trying to plan a party on an archaeological site of
>> world heritage!
>> Have a rummage in
>> http://www.w3.org/History/1992/timbl-floppies/TimBerners-Lee_CERN/hype.tar.Z
>> for example. You'll find early copies of http://www.w3.org/People
>> (which is also related to the '94-frozen
>> http://www.w3.org/People.html). Imagine being the poor soul trying to
>> figure out what to do with HTTP redirects for a site with this amount
>> of historical baggage.
>> Also btw in
>> http://www.w3.org/History/1992/timbl-floppies/TimBerners-Lee_CERN/hype.tar.Z
>> btw you'll find other treasures hidden away, eg. a paper
>> 'hypertext/Conferences/HT91/Paper/Paper0.html' entitled "An
>> Alternative Architecture for Distributed Hypertext" by T. Berners- 
>> Lee,
>> R. Cailliau, N. Pellow, B. Pollermann. The last line of which is "We
>> hope that this situation will allow freer interchange of information
>> in the High Energy Physics community, and allow de facto standards  
>> for
>> interchange formats to arise naturally."
>> (...naturally arising standards, eh? :)
>> The Technical Reports page represents the interdependent and  
>> massively
>> interlinked work of thousands of person hours spanning decades,
>> records of fragile consensus and painstaking engineering. As the rest
>> of this thread demonstrates, it is not a site that can be edited
>> casually or whose many and varied stakeholders will sit quietly by
>> while things are changed.
>> W3C being W3C, every tag and CSS style, every use of javascript or
>> images or selection from competing (X)HTML flavours, is open to
>> massive and potentially endless scrutiny. The site has never been
>> backed by a content management system beyond CVS and there has never
>> been much centralised control of anything beyond the homepage. I have
>> only admiration for anyone brave and foolish enough to attempt to
>> bring this amazing pile of chaos up to date.
>> Obviously there's a lot still to do. It's a Web site, that's always
>> the case. But this is a huge improvement, and the start of something
>> very interesting...
>> Personally I hope the site will gain a bit more RDFa, of course.  
>> But I
>> suspect that's more likely if people like you come with some very
>> specific scenarios that will benefit users of the site. Perhaps  
>> making
>> some search utility with Yahoo SearchMonkey or Google Snippets, for
>> example. But there are also other competing priorities for the site,
>> and a team working with limited resources. I'm glad they shipped
>> things at this stage so that bugs can be fixed and the basics
>> stabilised. If RDFa is useful (and it is), it'll find it's way into
>> the site I'm sure...
>> And while I'm on my soapbox ---- to those who are routing their
>> concerns 'officially' via AC reps, I encourage you to just raise the
>> matters personally here, as individual and lets presume equally  
>> valued
>> members of the Web standards community. W3C is what we all make of  
>> it.
>> If we act as if all concerns need to be bubbled up through a rigid  
>> and
>> official hierarchy of contractually-backed relationships, we'll get a
>> W3C culture that emphases the corporate over the communal, and whose
>> structure neglects the individuals who make it special. If we act as
>> if we're all here because of a shared concern for improving the WWW,
>> W3C culture (alongside it's Web site) will slowly evolve towards a
>> more individual-centric approach. I see no evidence that the w3.org
>> Web team listen preferentially to "official complaints" from AC Reps
>> compared to those from "mere" members of the W3C standards community,
>> and every reason to believe that the Web team take every issue on  
>> it's
>> merits, and are doing their best to balance a very tricky set of
>> competing requirements. So, again, nice work!
>> cheers,
>> Dan
>>> [1] http://twitter.com/bengee/status/4856670048
>>> [2] http://twitter.com/bengee/status/4856830531
>> --
>> http://danbri.org/

Received on Thursday, 15 October 2009 10:01:10 UTC

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