W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-archive@w3.org > June 2009

Re: Does anyone like microdata?

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 17:55:11 -0700
Cc: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Message-id: <BD4FE42C-D3D9-4DE6-86EE-2874DC683734@apple.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>

Removing public-html from the Cc list again, since Sam has asked to  
keep meta-discussion about tone off the list.

For what it's worth, Shelley, I found your tone reply to me needlessly  
hostile. After some clarification, it seems to me you didn't even  
disagree with my actual points on the merits. It was hard to even get  
that clarification across, because it was hard to find any reasonable- 
sounding statements in your email to reply to. It seemed like you  
injected an angry tone into a thread that had otherwise been polite  
and reasonable.

It seems this style of interaction has been a pattern with you over  
the past few weeks, and like others on the thread, I have found it  

In light of this, and since the chairs have not been engaging in much  
visible moderation, I found Jonas's reply to be reasonable and  


On Jun 29, 2009, at 4:40 PM, Shelley Powers wrote:

> 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.
> Thanks
> Shelley
>> 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 Tuesday, 30 June 2009 00:55:54 UTC

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