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barcamplondon5 slides – enrich the web with comments

Old content alert!

Thanks very much for visiting my blog. Always happy to have people read my stuff but just thought I should point out this post is years old. If it's about technical stuff there is a possibility that it is no longer relevant, if it's a bug report/fix I'm hoping that it should now have been fixed.

Of course if this is what you're looking for and it does work then great, just don't say I didn't warn you...

So yesterday I posted my slides from barcamplondon5 to slideshare and as cool as they indeed are I’m pretty sure that the serious points are easily missed without some supporting information – which is why I am writing this post right now.

The main point I was trying to get across is that the web contains a lot of great content; but it also contains a lot of shit. To ensure that the good stuff gets the credit and exposure that it deserves and likewise so that the bad stuff gets highlighted as bad I believe that we must all comment on the bad that we see so that less experienced people don’t just blindly copy, paste and use it in their projects. This is even more of a necessity if the article is being promoted as a good one to read either through a good Google ranking or being linked to from a large magazine site or mailing list.

I outlined a number of rules that I think should be followed when making comments:

  1. outlined and explain best practices that aren’t outlined in the article; if required link to a blog post supporting your points. If we can send people from a bad article to a good one I see this as a win
  2. be nice!
  3. no personal attacks
  4. be constructive (which is basically a repeat of rule number 1)
  5. focus on getting the basics right first – we need to ensure people are learning this correctly
  6. don’t target and abuse source code – there may be reasons that it sucks balls (generally WYSISWYG)

Along with this I also included a number of examples of the kind of articles that I was “targeting”. These can be found at delicious under the tag “article-fail” and I’ll soon be including these on the homepage here. If you want to follow my findings you can subscribe to the article-fail RSS feed for instant updates! It currently contains things such as CSS techniques that don’t allow for text resizing and a JS technique that inserts a table into the mark-up because writing tables into your mark-up is stupid!

I hope that people start up with my “movement for web quality” – it should be a fairly painless process but the good that it can lead to should be massive (like in “jungle is massive”). It’d be great to think that people can start using the web as a legitimate learning tool again and not learn bad practice (the stuff we learn is generally the stuff that stays with us for life).

I have other plans for how this can be improved but that’s another post…

  • Neil Crosby

    This article sucks balls!

    But seriously, the advice here is something we should all listen to. Those of us who have been in “the business” for a while and who rode the first wave of Web Standards can often find ourselves thinking that the war is won and that the right messages are now being written. The problem is that that isn’t always the case.

    To often I’ve read an article, not agreed with the way it was saying to do things, but then not offered constructive feedback. I should leave that feedback. I’m going to try and leave that feedback. You all should do so too.

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  • Five Minute Argument

    Hi Ross,

    Of course, you can guess why I’m ‘here’ :-) Obviously, I can’t really disagree with your motivation here: content published on the web should indeed be scrutinised and criticised, both positively and negatively. I’d really like to see what you have to say about my ‘progress bar’ article, something that was written as a pretty quick response to a question that arose on the css-d mailing list.

    I’d like to see what form your response will take. Of course, you can leave a comment against the article, or publish your thoughts right here, but I’d like to see a bit more detail than “tis shite”, either way! ;-)

    Please realise, I’m being totally ‘cooperative’ here; I want to take on board any comments you have, and improve the technique/article in any way that I can. It’s quite tempting to bow to righteous indignation and spew forth a load of bile that will result in a pointless flame-war, but you appear to be someone who wishes to discuss things in a mature, open, and constructive way.

    Look forward to hearing from you. Much love,

    - fma