Teach a Man to Fish

Twitter is abuzz (and not in a good way) over an article that was posted yesterday at econsultancy.com on HTML5. The issue is that the article is passing around inaccurate information about what HTML5 actually is. Like this little tidbit:

Those cool bouncing Google homepage balls everyone was talking about last week were an example of HTML5, but if you want to see an example of what the format can really do, take a look at this.

When the first couple of commentors questioned the accuracy of the information, she responded by stating that:

According to numerous sources, the balls were indeed in HTML5, specifically CSS3, part of the standard.

Now as most developers will tell you, CSS3 is most certainly not a part of the HTML5 spec. They’ll also be quick to tell you that Google didn’t actually use HTML5 for that logo—it was in fact just a series of divs (a poor structural decision).

Here’s the thing though—she’s right. There were articles that said that Google was using HTML5 for the logo. There are also articles that imply that CSS3 is a part of the HTML5 spec. It’s just an example of how much confusion there is around the spec and what it consists of. Whether that confusion matters (I think it does) is a topic already discussed.

Granted, there should have been someone doing some technical editing on an article like this. Still, I think it’s unfortunate that our immediate response is to criticize instead of inform. She’s taking a beating in the comments and on Twitter, but her intent wasn’t to misinform. She had read a few articles, seen some examples, and thought she could trust those sources.

How is it more constructive for us to condem than it is educate? Telling people they’re wrong doesn’t fix the situation. Informing them about why they are wrong might.