CSS Eleven is an international group of visual web designers and developers who are committed to helping the W3C’s CSS Working Group to better deliver the tools that are needed to design tomorrow’s web.
Not because of what they are aiming to do — quite the opposite, in fact; I think it’s an excellent and much-needed ambition, and I’m glad someone has stepped up to do it — but because of the way it was presented. I felt — and, in fact, still feel — that the cinematic reference in the name and the first slide that was presented made too much of a deal of the participant’s names, and discouraged other people from getting involved.
To be frank, I felt it was a bit Bertie Big Bollocks; CSS not working? Super-developers to the rescue!
But what about other developers who take the time to read through the opaque specifications and report what they find? Aren’t they in danger of being overshadowed by the movie star CSS Eleven? Aren’t their opinions as valid? Is the CSS Eleven going to be in any way participatory, or will we end up lumped with what they decide is the best way?
Andy Clarke took the trouble to phone me today to explain the reasoning behind the creation of the group, for which I thank him profusely; although, as I’ve already explained, it wasn’t the group’s motives that were in question, it was their methods. There’s a fuller account of the project on his blog.
What made me more at ease was the confirmation that this would indeed be participatory; after an initial period in which the group will put together their initial findings, the results will be made public on a Wiki, with collaboration invited from interested members of the community. I think this is good news, and puts to rest most of my worries about the way it would be handled.
I still don’t like the presentation, though.