[thelist] The myth of Common Knowledge

Randal Rust randalrust at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 09:23:01 CDT 2006

On 10/2/06, Christian Heilmann <codepo8 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't know if you discovered the same, but I recently got the
> impression that less and less information is being shared on forums,
> mailing lists and chats.

Hey Chris. Interesting topic. I used to be heavily involved in WDL,
CSS-D, and, to a lesser extent, this list. I grew disinterested when
it seemed like all of the same questions and issues came up over and
over and over.

> The larger part of any discussion seems to be
> about implementation issues or wishing that things were different than
> they are (CSS sucks, JavaScript sucks, Browsers suck...).

Yeah, exactly.

> I blame a misconception of "Common Knowledge" for this.

I agree to some extent, but I think that it's because too many people
don't actually take the time to familiarize themselves with the
Standards. It is, like it has always been, an education issue.

> developers seem to be too scared to give out small tidbits as they
> consider them already known.

In my case, I just shook my head and stopped answering the same
questions about CSS layout (or whatever) for the millionth time. So I
got tired of it and pretty much stopped reading any of the emails. All
of these lists have archives, but people don't seem to use them.

> I propose now not to hold back with your small gems of information
> (much like the tips of faq bits here) and blog about them. Simple
> "Problem -> Solution -> Possible Pitfalls" posts and tag them with the
> tag "webdevtrick".

While I think that's a good idea, I think an even better idea is to
write articles like you did about the Yahoo UI panels. I have been
trying to dabble with these DHTML libraries, but the documentation is
not all that great (or nonexistent).

Your UI panels article really helps someone like me understand how
that whole Yahoo thing works.

Rather than rehashing the old stuff, I'd probably rather see articles,
etc. that showed how to do animations in the various DHTML libraries,

So I don't necessarily think it's a situation where information isn't
being shared. I'd say it's more along the lines of the right
information isn't being shared that keep the veterans interested in
being involved.

Randal Rust
R.Squared Communications

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