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Re: [xml-dev] Do you enjoy neighborhoods where every house looksthe same?

Thank you for providing a classic ideological response: largely polite, 
but assuming that all sophistication and structure is somehow on the 
side of expert culture.

On 8/28/13 10:17 PM, Toby Considine wrote:
> While we are indulging in so many mixed metaphors, and not a smooth
> mix, but chunky (think chocolate chip and nuts in cookie dough, where
> the un-mixed parts are the most interesting)
> I think of fashion ,wherein it has long been considered that one
> needs basic, without which that single accent, whether a jewel, or a
> scarf, or a custom vest, works, because it is laid against a
> background of basics.
> I think of dance, wherein all twerking looks pretty much the same,
> but creativity within, say, an Argentinian tango offers creativity
> and uniqueness far beyond that offered by unstructured dance…
> Or even essential commerce, wherein one can get clothes from any
> seamstress, but the notion of pants (two legs, inseam, waist) creates
> a market in which creativity can flourish

None of the metaphors you suggest resemble in any way the construction 
of XML vocabularies.

* All have design components, but all are cases where styles emerged 
independently and continue to evolve.

* None of them developed from any kind of standards process.

* Tango has loose formal criteria for some competition purposes; the 
others remain basically unspecified.

Ruskin, Morris, and Alexander do not propose an assault on structure or 
sophistication.  They assault the way we've developed structure over the 
last few centuries, the top-down approach that leads to both inferior 
work and the 'degradation of the workman'.


And then the leap...

> No standards, is a chaos of miscommunication and small scale and, as
> observed earlier in this thread, uneconomic results.

That assertion doesn't connect to the metaphors at all, but it clearly 
reflects your fears.

> Knowing when to
> break the standards is the essence of the creativity that this thread
> claims to seek.

That may be Roger's purpose.  I can't speak for him, though he is 
certainly trying much harder to blend existing standards culture with 
these proposals.

The "essence of the creativity", however, is about working with a 
minimal set of standards and tools to include as much creativity from as 
many different people as possible by valuing context over standardization.

That's not at all about breaking standards.  It's about working with the 
smallest set of standards that will support the conversation (with the 
people actually having the conversation in their live contexts) and 
building appropriately from there.

Markup syntax is a convenient minimal standard for supporting electronic 
communication.  There are useful tools for manipulating it.  Standardize 
and improve the tools for manipulating markup, rather than trying to 
lock down what is said with markup.

> Not having any on the first place would put all on
> this thread out of work.

It is always good to remind people that their existing paychecks may be 
threatened by proposals that would restructure a business to include 
many more people.

Also note that I've never proposed having no standards at all.  Minimal 
standards does not equal "not having any in the first place."

> Simon’s assertions are a great conversation piece  and force one to
> think of the benefits of transgression. Embracing them without
> consideration is unwise.

Let the peasants dance, but don't let them form cooperatives!

As I said in my talk, XML has long acknowledged a place for such 
proposals, and insisted that they stay in the corner for just as long. 
Slide 20 referred to this as "Contains anarchy by treating it as 

Thank you for the confirmation that this viewpoint is alive and well. 
Slide #5 is for you.


Simon St.Laurent

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