W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2012

Re: Forums

From: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2012 23:20:02 -0800
Message-Id: <4DEF5E0C-1F1F-4C18-A942-62508934C116@gmail.com>
Cc: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
To: Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com>
On Jan 7, 2012, at 2:36 PM, Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com> wrote:

> I contest that the mailing list *is* a put-off factor. There are many designers out there who simply will not learn "back-end" stuff and likewise will not "faff around" with antiquated and unfamiliar communication set-ups when more familiar and user friendly alternatives are in common usage. And yes, you can say that this acts as a natural filter to get rid of people who don't put in an engineering type input. But, we don't just want engineers and people au-fait with kernels, protocols, and sysadmin tasks. The W3C is full of those people, by all appearances. What it lacks is designers. CSS is used by designers. We need the input of people who use CSS day to day to earn a living. People with design chops. People who know to what purposes the technology needs to be put in order to achieve design goals. Those are the people CSS is built for. Those are the people to provide use cases, goals, and report problems with existing spec.

I am a graphic designer who makes my living designing with CSS every day (well, weekdays anyway). I would count myself as one of those you describe, and I am in the working group as an invited expert. Yet I agree with Bjoern that everyday participation is easier through e-mail that is delivered to my e-mail reader every day than it would be by going out to a Web interface for it, even if that Web interface was as super for reading messages as my native email client is.

What I do find frustrating about using e-mail to discuss styling the Web, is the text-only emphasis. We have to do everything so it is still readable by the dinosaurs who refuse to use or even look at HTML and CSS in the very e-mail messages about how to progress CSS styling of HTML. It would be very easy for me to copy a CSS3-styled div or paragraph from Safari to paste into an e-mail, along with a screen shot of that div or paragraph, or to paste in a quick sketch captured from my Web cam or drawn with my finger on my iPad, but such things seem to frowned upon in favor of ASCII art, which only sort of works if you are using a mono spaced font as your default reading font (which is almost scandalous for a designer). We believe in rich styling, but not in our e-mail apparently. 

Maybe some of the reason is due to people who are saddled with MS Outlook and its horrible rendering of CSS (seriously; it's ten times worse than IE6), but also the www-style e-mail archive Web interface seems to be text-only too.

If our e-mails weren't stuck in the days of the teletype, we could even have a nice footer of common useful links and tags and such included by the list server, if it were capable enough. I'd love to see support for tagging messages that went beyond putting [[spec-name]] in the subject line. 

> Those people, are the people I believe are likely to be put off by the list aspect. Just look at the likes of Andy Clarke - renowned designer and very into CSS nuances and application - but who has famously throws his hands in the air the moment anything Terminal related appears, no matter how simple. He's not alone, and yet someone like that would have valuable input here. The people that do design are less likely to be the people who grok having to set up mail clients to expose mail headers that so many here seem to think is obvious. It's not obvious.

Well, I may not be renowned... but it really isn't that hard to view the headers and copy them. In the Mac's Mail application you just choose "show all headers" from the "Message" menu (IIRC... I'm on the iPad right now). No Terminal required. The bigger problem is that this particular header is missing from many of my www-style e-mails. That is maybe a gmail thing, I guess, or maybe not.

> With all of that said, the linked forum view from earlier in the thread answers a LOT of those issues and I would love to see that pushed as a main channel of "first contact" to the outside world as opposed to the existing archive. That, sprinkled with a decent tutorial on how to get involved and how to set up common mail clients to work with the list would go a very very long way in solving what is in essence a usability issue with www-style.
> And I agree that time and will is the most important thing people can bring. But to get that people have to buy in to what goes on here. To buy in people have to see what we do. People don't. Forums won't solve all these issues, of course not, but something like that forum-esque UI over the top of the list will make a damned good first impression on newbies compared with what we've got.

I would love to see our e-mail archives spruced up and modernized into something more nabble-like or better. But I don't know who would have the time and inclination to do that. I don't think the w3c would be willing to include a JavaScript tag linked to a third party ad-supported site to get that.
Received on Sunday, 8 January 2012 08:21:11 UTC

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