Standard Argument

This post from Molly about HTML5 and the W3C, and the resulting comments, illustrate very well why the process of making or improving standards is so ugly, and why I don’t participate anymore. Discussions are dominated chiefly by people who have time to dominate discussions, which over time includes fewer and fewer of the people who actually should.

Open Source has the same problem and can usually survive it through things like rapid iteration, plugin systems, benevolent dictators, and easy forking. However I don’t know if those concepts could be successfully applied to a standards process, almost by definition.

5 replies on “Standard Argument”

  1. I also see an additional set of issues compounding the problem with advancing HTML5 today.

    Back in the early days when I was part of the Web Accessibility Initiative and working on the development of CSS and stuff like that, we had real problems with standardization and bastardization of HTML. Although the arguments were sometimes ferocious, the status quo was equally or even more intolerable.

    Today, what is the real consequence of failing to roll out HTML5? I mean I haven’t heard one developer complaining “I can’t make this Web application work with HTML4”.

    It has been my experience that urgency has a way of moving processes along, and without it they tend to stagnate.

    John

  2. Fear of AIR: Do you see potential risks from the Adobe Integrated Runtime? Reason I ask is that both Asa Dotzler and Molly Hozschlag showed concern about AIR recently, and I couldn’t quite get to the roots of their complaint. I suspect that both were “¬¶

  3. HTML5 sort of has a benevolent dictator in the form of Ian Hickson who makes decisions based on arguments from as many inputs as possible, including blogs (while trying to achieve consensus in the end).

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