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What Experts Are

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 13:07:01 -0800
Cc: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Message-Id: <C1D52F51-4C55-11D8-8401-000393AF2932@idyllmtn.com>

On Wednesday, January 21, 2004, at 08:45 AM, Joe Clark wrote:
>>   I have spent far too many hours being yelled at for disagreeing with
>>   Zeldman, and being told I should listen to my betters to even 
>> attempt
>>   to shake the fatigue that Mr. Clark's words bring.
> Speaking of fatigue: YAWN. Experts can disagree. Pikers shouldn't get 
> into
> pissing contests with experts, though.

There are different types of experts, though, because there are
different fields of expertise.  For example, Zeldman knows a lot
about the Web from the standpoint of a designer, but when it comes
to -- say -- accessibility by screen reader users, he may be a piker
compared to David Poehlman.  But David may be a piker when it comes
to nifty CSS tricks.  (I have no idea on this, myself.)

The truth is that a lot of time the "experts" are just people who are
best at self-promotion, networking, or maybe just being in the right
place at the right time.

Some people would consider me an "expert" on CSS because I wrote a
book about it.  I do know more than most, but there are plenty of people
whose CSS knowledge far exceeds mine, and lots of other people who may
have equivalent CSS skills but they are better at graphic design
skills.  One example of the latter is a fellow named Minz Meyer, who
has been a student in my Web accessibility techniques class.  He kicks
ass at using CSS to make creative designs which are way past my
artistic ability -- see his work at Dave Shea's CSS Zen Garden --
and his assignment pages are an absolute delight to grade, because they
are gorgeous.  Me, I'm impressed when I can create rectangular boxes
with drop shadows (http://kynn.com).

But really, the only reason I can claim to be an "expert" in CSS is
because I was willing to write a book about it instead of, you know,
getting paid to do CSS work for someone else.  I think I wrote a decent
book, because I'm a good teacher, but I am far from the best CSS
designer in the universe.  I just happened to be at the right place
at the right time -- a publisher asked me if I know CSS.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
Shock & Awe Blog                                http://shock-awe.info
Inland Anti-Empire Blog                   http://inlandantiempire.org
Received on Wednesday, 21 January 2004 17:44:17 UTC

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