Jeffrey Zeldman has written a weblog entry An angry fix about Björn Hörmann‘s message on his reasons for leaving the group doing the development of W3C validators. He made a few points in his message which will be certainly discussed by the Web communities in the following days.
Jeffrey starts his message with:
Some of the best minds working in web standards have been quietly or loudly abandoning the W3C. Björn Hoehrmann is the latest.
Björn is neither leaving W3C nor being abandoned by it, quite the opposite. He has, for example, just accepted a role as invited expert within the CSS working group. He says it in the conclusion of his message:
Well, that’s it for me then; more time to work on the CSS and WebAPI specifications. He’s saying that it seems for him difficult to be able to continue to develop the Markup validator (on the HTML side) bearing with issues in HTML specifications which are not answered by the HTML WG.
Jeffrey touches a few issues about the possible levels of participation to W3C:
Alas, the organization appears unconcerned with our needs and uninterested in tapping our experience and insights. It remains a closed, a one-way system. Like old-fashioned pre-cable TV advertising. Not like the web.
Writing that the W3C is a “one way system” is not a very accurate characterization. Centralized, perhaps, and it is true that W3C working groups prefer receiving feedback rather than hunting for it in thousands of individual weblogs, but the feedback system W3C provides could hardly be called closed:
- Comments are opened on the first Working Draft which are published by any working groups.
- New Working Groups often also starts their activity with a requirement documents which collect the needs and what the technology should be and people can send comments to those as well.
- … and all of above is generally made on public mailing-lists
Not many other organizations have such a level of openness. Of course it could be made better, and the W3C as a whole is trying hard to listen to everyone – thus creating and animating such informal discussion and information places as this QA blog.
Jeffrey is then praising for coherent specifications and interoperability.
We require coherent specifications based on our and our users’ actual needs. Upcoming accessibility and markup specifications fail on both counts. We require validation tools that work and are kept up to date. Instead, tools are still broken years after problems are reported.
Yes we all do. There are a few issues to solve for achieving this which I hope we will find an answer. Small closed communities are a lot easier to manage. The problem is often how do you reconcile conflicting user needs in an open large organization like W3C.
Any suggestions are welcome.