Jens Oliver Meiert

How to Uncover Pseudo-Standardistas

Post from November 20, 2008 (↻ December 12, 2016), filed under .

This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved e-book: On Web Development.

There’s a growing and annoying group of developers that don’t quite help healthy 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 entire 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 (some people won’t appreciate this) and surely an advanced requirement (as some “real” experts don’t bother linking to several style sheets out of their pages’ markup, either), but nonetheless a “red flag” when it comes to maintainability.

There are definitely more giveaways to 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 “aggressive self-promotion and marketing” (heck, it’s Europe’s equivalent to Barack Obama writing this post), but we need to ask ourselves if that’s in the best interest of our industry.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a developer (O’Reilly, W3C, ex-Google) and philosopher. He experiments with art and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Amazon. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

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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Last update: December 12, 2016

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