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The Web's Full Potential (Was Re: experts)

In a message dated 28/03/01 08:18:43 GMT Daylight Time, ricko@allette.com.au

The problem is not experts/trenches, but how to have systems that allow
different people with different personalities or cultures to participate.
And the #1 manifestation of this is not that $5000 keeps Simon out of
W3C WGs but that the Web process is utterly dominated by the North-Western
hemisphere: by people who have the skills to use English, relate to men,
argue, and fit in socially with 35+year-old US white male corporate society.


The W3C slogan is "Leading the Web to its Full Potential ...".

Two important facets are left unstated:

Potential to what?

For whose benefit?

Whatever the answer to those two important questions, I believe we will see
huge differences over the next few years in the matters which you raise.

When I first had access to the Web (in the UK) in 1994 it was markedly
USA-centric. In the last 2 years or so I see that changing.

The Web hitherto has also been English-language-centric. Arguably not in
principle, but in practice it has been, in my view.

Your comment raises the thorny issue of what W3C *should* be. Is it a trade
organisation/cartel? A "standards" organisation? For the benefit of large
corporations? For the benefit of users? Some novel hybrid?

These are big questions which, I guess, some would prefer were not discussed.

I commented in an earlier post that W3C was pretty centralised, but out in
the real world W3C members are having to become increasingly
customer-focussed. I envisage W3C going the same direction, but don't imagine
that there won't be some kicking and screaming along the way. :)

In 5 or 10 years I expect to see a much more customer-focussed,
customer-responsive W3C.

As the (apocryphal?) Chinese curse says, "We live in interesting times!". :)


Andrew Watt