Jens Oliver Meiert

Meiert’s Law of User-Generated Code

Post from August 4, 2015 (↻ January 10, 2018), filed under .

Whenever you allow users to edit any code of your website, you’re doomed. It’s only a matter of time until you need to rewrite the whole website—and, for an extra twist, alienate all those users.

Technically this has been the fate of MySpace, and it will be the destiny of Tumblr.

The reason is that user-generated and user-edited code jams the whole idea of constantly maintaining and improving our websites (web design is a process), and that users, left with HTML and CSS reign, write garbage code (no one can blame them).

Yet! This is all cool. Just as MySpace and Tumblr will have been aware of this problematique for their platforms, others will have consciously accepted this challenge, too. Sometimes what already helps is awareness, and once we are aware, we can do a little even about doom.

This is the first technical “law” I venture to coin (the only useful non-technical one is probably Meiert’s Law of Travel!). But, I’ve written much about web development and design over the years, and just published a little anthology with many things as good as laws: principles. Have a look.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of April 19, 2019.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a technical lead and author (sum.cumo, W3C, O’Reilly). He loves trying things, including in the realms of philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

If you have any thoughts or questions (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

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Last update: January 10, 2018

“No one is truly ‘well off’ if they are well off while others are dying.”