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Martian Mindsets

Joel Spolsky: 98% of the world will install IE8 and say, “It has bugs and I can’t see my sites.” They don’t give a flicking flick about your stupid religious enthusiasm for making web browsers which conform to some mythical, platonic “standard” that is not actually implemented anywhere. They don’t want to hear your stories about messy hacks. They want web browsers that work with actual web sites

Boy do I miss Mark “pleasesirmayihaveanother” Pilgrim.  For now, this will have to do:

Update: Mark delivers.


And when was the last time that anyone had to close their standards-compliant browser and fire-up good 'ol IE to get some work done? It doesn’t happen any more. The web is not broken. It works just fine.

Posted by Dean Edwards at

Yeah, his statistics are crap, but that wasn’t my favorite part.  “DOCTYPE is a myth” is an awesome tagline, but even that wasn’t my favorite part.  This was my favorite part:

So you have to “test” in your own head, purely as a thought experiment, against a bunch of standards documents which you probably never read and couldn’t completely understand even if you did.

This is just a variation of the argument that “open source” is worthless if you can’t audit the code yourself, or that “faith” in science is no more well-founded than “faith” in religion unless you can personally reproduce all the experiments.  A clever variation, but just as specious as ever.

Followed closely by this part:

the way the web “should have” been built would be to have very, very strict standards and every web browser should be positively obnoxious about pointing them all out to you

HonkSnort.  Did somebody mention thought experiments?  (Ironically, the standard he beats on the most for being incomprehensible is CSS, but his CSS is perfectly valid.)

Posted by Mark at

I just wish Joel would have come out as either a Moron or an Asshole instead of trying to pose as an Angel. It’s a well known fact that Angels don’t actually exist.

Posted by Ryan Tomayko at

I can’t even write here what I wanted to after reading this sexist, condescending, fucking prick’s writing.

If I wrote what I wanted to write, you’d have to delete it for the language.

Posted by Shelley at

In case others are wondering exactly who Shelley is referring to above (Mark, Sam, Joel, Me?), I think her comment is in regards to the following from Joel’s article:

Mmhmm. All you smug idealists are laughing at this newbie/idjit. The consumer is not an idiot. She’s your wife. So stop laughing.

I noticed it myself when first reading Joel’s piece, seeing as I’ve been similarly insensitive in the past and was rightly called on it (although not with quite as much style).

Posted by Ryan Tomayko at

It’s a well known fact that Angels don’t actually exist.

“Standards are tough!  Let’s go shopping!”

Damn, now I have to fisk him and use that as my post title.

Posted by Mark at

Joel Spolsky: Crap is Good

Joel Spolksy just spent several thousand words and accompanying diagrams saying one thing: we did things crappy in the past, and we should continue doing things crappy in the future because crap is easy. Where do I start? This upcoming battle will...

Excerpt from Bb's RealTech at

I’ve been similarly insensitive in the past

Huh, in your case it didn’t strike me as very condescending or sexist at all: you seemed to be recounting an actual conversation (if embellished) with a specific person, rather than conjuring a cliché. Was I mistaken?

Joel, in contrast, is quite clearly sexist, and doubly so – not only conjuring that cliché, but also making an assumption about the reader’s sex.

Posted by Aristotle Pagaltzis at

[from rtomayko] Martian Mindsets

Sam Ruby filling in for Mark Pilgrim (and featuring Mark Pilgrim in the comments) skewers Joel Spolsky over his “Martian Headsets” piece on the IE8 standards-mode dilemma. I use the word “skewered” in the nicest way possible, of...

Excerpt from del.icio.us/network/akent at

To be fair to Joel, the tooltip over the text “She’s your wife” reads:

Please don’t email to yell at me for being sexist. That’s a quote from David Ogilvy.

If you follow the link, it’s pretty clear he’s quoting David Ogilvy.

Sexism by proxy, perhaps, but it’s not fair to omit this detail.

Posted by Naoh Slater at

Wow, what a moron. I wonder why he doesn’t have comments turned on. I wonder if his ears were burning when he hit the submit button, or does he actually believe that crap?

And besides, as World of Warcraft players would say... “TL; DR”.

Posted by Dave Clayton at

Huh, in your case it didn’t strike me as very condescending or sexist at all: you seemed to be recounting an actual conversation (if embellished) with a specific person, rather than conjuring a cliché. Was I mistaken?

At first, I thought it was a pretty crazy allegation because it was based on a real conversation and I definitely wasn’t trying to make any generalizations. But there’s at least 50 comments with people saying they were offended and I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t needlessly offend people whether you agree that they had the right to be offended or not. The post could be edited to be a bit more sensitive and it wouldn’t take away from it one bit, that’s all. I just don’t know what I should do with all those comments, were I to revise it.

Posted by Ryan Tomayko at

Wow, and there was me thinking that IE8 was only in beta. Let me know when Joel releases beta versions of his own software for the general public to use.

Posted by Phil Wilson at

Martian-Mindsets

[link] [comments]...

Excerpt from programming: what's new online at

This is his periodic slashdot-aiming rant, to increase traffic before publishing some advertisement or other, and you are all biting like mad. Joel for teh win!

Posted by Giacomo at

Absolutely: it would work just as well if it said “These consumers are not idiots. They’re your grandparents.”

Wait... is that ageist now?

Posted by Laurie Cheers at

“This is his periodic slashdot-aiming rant, to increase traffic before publishing some advertisement or other, and you are all biting like mad. Joel for teh win!”

It’s not difficult to see slashdot fodder. Does that mean, then, that we sit back and let such statements be, because we don’t want to give any attention to them? Or do we act honestly and without regard for whatever might be Spolsky’s “agenda”, because it’s the right thing to do.

Spolksky, like others who have come out in favor of Microsoft’s mechanizations, has a following. If those who respect these individuals see these writings greeted by silence, we may defeat the intent, but not the words.

Posted by Shelley at

“Sexism by proxy, perhaps, but it’s not fair to omit this detail.”

Doesn’t matter the origination of the words. What mattered was the intent of using that specific quote. And even then, he couldn’t live up to the act, popping up that silly little text when the cursor is over the link.

If his post was about David Olgivy it would have made sense to use that quote. No, this was wanting to use an outrageous term, but not accept responsibility for the action. If he is as good a writer as he seems to think he is,  a hundred other sentences could have worked without isolating women--both as people not able to understand browser technology, and as people who actually read his writing.

Posted by Shelley at

Shelley:"Does that mean, then, that we sit back and let such statements be, because we don’t want to give any attention to them?" — if the alternative is this sort of knee-jerk reaction, yes, silence would be much better.

Posted by Giacomo at

“if the alternative is this sort of knee-jerk reaction, yes, silence would be much better.”

Typically one has to jerk one’s knee when kicking someone in the butt. It’s a question of human physiology.

Posted by Shelley at

Martian-Mindsets

[link] [comments]...

Excerpt from programming: what's new online at

A post every developer should read about IE 8

Joel has written a fantastic post about web standards and IE 8. Really, read this if you write code and really, really read it if you build websites: Standards are a great goal, of course, but before you become a standards fanatic you have to...

Excerpt from Tim's Internet Web Log at

“Joel’s argument works both ways.  Why can’t Google Maps developers be pragmatic, touchy feely, warm and fuzzy engineering types?”

Because there is only one IE (or 3 or 4 counting the major versions in use separately) and there are millions of websites, many of which were written years ago and are unmaintained or maintained by people who didn’t write them and have no idea how to modify them. This is actually explained pretty clearly in Joel’s original article.

“Web pages like Google Maps work on other browsers.”

Because other browsers don’t give them the version of the page that is full of hacks for old versions of IE. Sites do browser detection and feed up an IE-specific and non-standard compliant version of the page to IE, meaning that the situation they are in is not like other browsers at all.

Posted by anonymous at

Yes, there are millions of websites.  Many of them written before IE7 was released.  Many of them will work just fine on IE8 in standards mode.  Who is to say that IE7 is the one and true and right default for each of these web sites?  I’ll bet that a number of them were developed for IE4.

Browser detection?  Could be solved by IE8 choosing a different value for the User-Agent header.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Ryan:

I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t needlessly offend people

Yes, good point. However, that is purely a question of diplomacy. Your case still differs fundamentally from Joel’s in that his is not a matter of interpretation. Your turn of phrase was taken to be sexist, even though it wasn’t; his indisputably is. (He even tacitly acknowledges this himself!)

Laurie:

Wait… is that ageist now?

Of course it is.

Posted by Aristotle Pagaltzis at

What I stumbled over in the article is that it sounds as if Microsoft had Invented The Internet (everybody knows who that was, no? ;-)), and later players like Firefox came and implemented the standard interface MS defined in buggy ways.

This is especially interesting in the light of the fact that in the browser wars everyone deliberately tried to invent incompatible extensions to break the others' software...

Posted by Martin Probst at

What I stumbled over in the article is that it sounds as if Microsoft had Invented The Internet (everybody knows who that was, no? ;-)), and later players like Firefox came and implemented the standard interface MS defined in buggy ways.

Indeed, it’s hard to make any sense of his argument, without that presumption: that the existing standards are buggy codifications of Microsoft’s original implementation, and that other browser vendors are johnny-come-lately’s, producing buggy implementations of those flawed standards.

Browser detection?  Could be solved by IE8 choosing a different value for the User-Agent header.

That would solve a lot of problems.

Posted by Jacques Distler at

Interoperability by Friction

Interesting debate between Joel Spolsky and web standard advocates (read, for example, Sam’s reply). This reminded me of a question that Mitch Baker asked on her blog about “standards and interoperability” that I had in my to-do...

Excerpt from Stefano's Linotype at

“if the alternative is this sort of knee-jerk reaction, yes, silence would be much better.”

Typically one has to jerk one’s knee when kicking someone in the butt. It’s a question of human physiology.

This is one goes straight to my quotes file :)

Posted by Luka Marinko at

Joel's Poor Analogy

There are already some decent responses to Joel’s Martian Handsets article, but what the heck, here’s my addition to the flame: His analogy is conveniently simple. The reality is much more complex. Most specifically, Microsoft isn’t some innocent...

Excerpt from Cubicle Muses at

Coders are from Mars, Designers are from Venus

I wanted to respond to Martian Headsets , because it’s so, so wrong, but Mark Pilgrim did better than I could. I mean, really, after Joel harping on about “smart, gets things done”, would Joel accept “Those documents are super confusing” as an...

Excerpt from The Eighty-Twenty Solution at

links for 2008-03-19

ScrewTurn Wiki - Overview - ScrewTurn Software (tags: C# .NET ASP.NET Wiki lazycoder) Rob Conery » SubSonic: Taking a Look At The New Repository Base Class (tags: SubSonic database orm lazycoder) Rob Conery » My Personal Lambda Crusade (tags: .net...

Excerpt from Lazycoder at

Martin Grider's comments are also worth reading.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Reality Distortion Fields

Where Joel Spolsky’s analysis of the IE version targeting issue goes wrong....

Excerpt from Henri Sivonen’s pages at

Shelley, can’t you see it? You had won the battle against the IE8 bozo switch, you could have just ignored Joel’s piece. By giving it airtime, you are shooting yourself in the foot by reopening the debate. And meanwhile Joel is counting his Adsense money.

Posted by Giacomo at

Giacomo, of all the people who responded on this issue, my opinion probably has the least impact. On Spolsky, on this debate, on any money earned via adsense. About the only impact I’ve had, good or bad, is on Luka’s quote file.

Posted by Shelley at

HTML5 obs

As for all this debate about platforms - that’s what markets are for. Platforms are market makers. Standards are different - they’re forcing functions for markets. not market makers. Let’s look at some HTML5 spec text for forms instead. From the...

Excerpt from Bill de hOra at

The problems are really much simplier than everyone makes them out to be: (1) We don’t understand Postel’s law and (2) HTML was never designed for any of this in the first place. More detail in my response:

http://www.robbyslaughter.com/blog/?2008-03-21

Posted by Robby Slaughter at

IE-hate

There seems to be two camps on how IE8 should behave: MS & Joel: IE8 should be broken in different ways to previous IE releases, but it should nearly work on IE specific sites. Everyone else: It should be standards compliant, if sites built to work...

Excerpt from Feet up! : at

Only Trolls wear Martian Headsets

I wasn’t going to comment on Joel Spolsky’s Martian Headsets ramble for two reasons: it was an obvious troll-bait, and people much smarter than me already pounded it into the ground. But alas, the Spolsky FUD seems to have infected one...

Excerpt from Terminally Incoherent at

Sam Ruby: Martian Mindsets

spolsky is such a moron. it never fails to amaze how many people listen to a guy selling bug trackers....

Excerpt from del.icio.us/gregorrothfuss/stupid at

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