I’ve just paged through the comments on Aaron and Eric’s articles on version targeting, and I’m absolutely amazed at the amount of anger and frustration conveyed at the mere suggestion of this change.
The comments thus far are varied and range from the helpful and specific (“I understand, but…”) at the top end, down to the baffling and unfounded (“What a load of … How much did you get paid for bedding with Microsoft?”) at the bottom. Yet, despite what we think, an opinion is an opinion and editorially it has to be taken into consideration regardless of what the editorial staff personally thinks.
Yet, when left alone with my own thoughts, I just wish that the initial response to new ideas was not so entirely hostile. Is it okay to suggest change? Is it okay to think outside of the four walls of our cotton-lined cubicles and try to see what it is we are railing against? Can we step outside of our meta tags and hex values for a moment? Okay, enough of that.
Change is good. Say it with me. Change is good. You may not like it, you may not understand it, but put down the hostility for one minute and ADD your voice to the discussion. Contribute your positive, constructive criticisms. If you have problems or concerns, great. Let them be voiced and a solution will hopefully be addressed. Perhaps you will be the one to come up with the solution. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but taking in all of the commentary and mulling it over might lead to the answer in the next week, month or (given the current state of decision making in the web standards community) year. But don’t shout into the Abyss only to hear the echo of your own voice. It doesn’t help in the long run.
I’ve read the original articles, I’ve read the commentary on Wasp, on Snook, on adactio and a variety of other sites that have chimed in, and I’m still not sure what I think about version targeting. But what I do know is that all the positive change we have seen in this field has come not from one, mass, collective decision to move in a singular, unified direction. If that were the case we wouldn’t be here talking about how to enlighten people about web standards. There would be no need. No, change has come from a few individuals who have proposed new ideas (that were generally not well accepted) and fought, kicking and screaming to get us to where we are today. That is change, plain and simple.
And yet, I cannot help but wonder whether this method would have gotten the torch treatment if the word “Microsoft” had not been in the equation?