Jens Oliver Meiert

How to Uncover Pseudo-Standardistas

Post from November 20, 2008 (↻ June 10, 2021), filed under .

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There’s a growing and annoying group of developers that don’t help our attempts for more accessible, faster, more maintainable, and best practice web development: pseudo-standardistas. There are several ways to expose pseudos (apart from the hints Henri shared), the easiest being:

  1. Pseudo-standardistas claim to be member of standard bodies and organizations like e.g. W3C. However, a non-paper member participating in W3C work will usually have at least one results page of entries when searching for him or her, so try e.g. searching at Google for contributions on W3C mailing lists. (Searching does of course work for verifying contributions to other organizations, too.)

  2. Pseudo-standardistas like to point out how great valid HTML is (it is, however validation’s not everything). Try validating their site to see if they act accordingly (but be aware of HTML 5—<!DOCTYPE html>—which is not recognized by the WDG and a few other validators).

  3. Pseudo-standardistas make maintenance mistakes like working with presentational ID and class names, and using (maybe even recommending) Conditional Comments or multiple style sheet references in the markup. This is a tough call (not everyone will appreciate this) and surely an advanced requirement (many peers don’t find it problematic to link to several style sheets out of their pages’ markup), but still a “red flag” when it comes to maintainability.

There are more telltales of pseudo-advocates of modern web development (I feel reminded of “valid this or that” badges), but at least in German-speaking countries there’s an awkward tendency to rest on laurels not deserved yet. I don’t mind decisive self-promotion and marketing (heck, it’s Europe’s small answer to Barack Obama writing this post), but we need to ask ourselves if that’s in the best interest of our industry.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on April 29, 2020.

I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

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Comments (Closed)

  1. On November 20, 2008, 21:44 CET, Duluoz said:

    Have you ever heard the term armchair quarterback? These are typically individuals who might have, or not, played some high school football, who think they can do better than the quarterbacks they watch on TV in their recliners. Perhaps there is such a thing as armchair standardistas?

  2. On November 24, 2008, 12:55 CET, Jens Oliver Meiert said:

    David, no, unfortunately not! I like “armchair standardista”! 😊

  3. On November 27, 2008, 15:03 CET, Christophe Strobbe said:

    Regarding point 1: (a) the mailing lists of some working groups are not public; (b) some other contributions have no public visibility, e.g. filling in questionnaires through the W3C’s WBS; (c) when searching mail archives, check that those mails don’t just say “regrets” (in response to the announcement of a conference call): some people seem to send more “regrets” mails than anything else but don’t want to give up working group “participation” because it looks nice on their CVs (and book announcements).

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