Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Web Users Own the Method of Presentation, Not Publishers

Author:Rogers Cadenhead
Posted:9/28/1999; 9:24:04 AM
Topic:Windows apps on Linux: the real reason
Msg #:11525 (In response to 11482)
Prev/Next:11524 / 11526

I just posted this on Third Voice (imagine the horror -- I must be one of those mental midgets desparately craving attention who is hell-bent on driving Dave Winer off the Web). I'll repeat it here for those who aren't inflicted with the plug-in, and expand on a few ideas because this Web page is easier to use than the teeny post-it note window offered by Third Voice.

A Web site publisher does not own the context in which the site is viewed. Though Microsoft and Netscape have done their best to jettison the principle, HTML is a platform independent markup language. The same Web site should be presentable as text and graphics on a monitor, text on a handheld computing device, and spoken audio for blind users.

By now, Web site publishers should be accustomed to the ways their sites are torn apart and put back together by different presentation software. There's even a Designers-Be-Damned button in my browser -- the current Opera for Windows -- that lets me read the current Web page without any background image and in plain black letters on a white background.

Web users' desire to view sites in any context they like is more in the original spirit of HTML than a Web publisher's desire to be free of public annotation. If users want to view all sites through the lens of annotation, they should be able to do that. The original site remains intact for anyone who wants a clear look at it, just like the original background colors and fonts I'm inhibiting through the use of Opera's Designers-Be-Damned filter.

Dave Winer's campaign against Third Voice reminds me of the kvetching we heard from graphic designers when they realized the Web could not be used for WYSIWYG design. Some people are always going to resist change for the sake of resisting it.

(Besides, the biggest problem with Third Voice isn't the principle of the thing. It's the application -- the plug-in crashes more often than a narcoleptic on sleeping pills.)

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