New issue

Have a question about this project? Sign up for a free GitHub account to open an issue and contact its maintainers and the community.

By clicking “Sign up for GitHub”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy statement. We’ll occasionally send you account related emails.

Already on GitHub? Sign in to your account

Victory? #50

Closed
paulirish opened this Issue Apr 25, 2013 · 21 comments

Comments

Projects
None yet
8 participants
@paulirish
Copy link
Owner

paulirish commented Apr 25, 2013

Two and a half years later, I think we can call W3Fools a success.

  • W3Schools has fixed nearly all of the errors we pointed out. And appear to take their content more seriously.
  • They have added a report error form to all pages. I've run experiments with these and reported additional problems. A year ago they were still taking a while to fix things, but now it's much better.
  • We also have stronger online docs with Web Platform Docs and MDN holding it down.

W3Schools is indeed, more friendly to beginners than existing documentation sites, and I don't think that'll change soon. The important thing is that beginners are learning good information and I feel much better than W3Schools is disseminating that, rather than what we saw a few years ago.


I'd like to wind down the tone of the site and use it to share positivity. We can recommend evaluating your learning sources, prioritize testing over trusting, and point to how to better develop your knowledge and participation in the community.

Does someone want to take a crack on some new prose or suggest the page edit?

cc @pamelafox @angus-c @nimbupani @bentruyman @ljharb

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Apr 25, 2013

They certainly have changed a lot over the past few years. Even doing better in some places than other resources.

Recommending how to evaluate learning resources could be tricky, since the people really paying attention would already know how to do so. Going to a more positive outlook is much needed though since it currently sits in a pretty bad state with a gloomy outlook. A new (brighter) design could also help make things feel more welcome.

How about making W3Fools (either in addition to the proposed changes or as the main point) a place for people to recommend what we as a community want in documentation? Set a neutral baseline standard for what is needed for both productive experienced developers and for people who are just starting the outrageous adventure of web development/design.

Update: Here is a quick outline of what could be a possible update.

@ljharb

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

ljharb commented Apr 25, 2013

While I like the idea of changing the tone, and making sure w3fools is a good resource to branch out to other good resources, w3schools still teaches many bad practices (document.write, inline event handlers, etc). I still think it will be useful to maintain the list of errors/mistakes/misleading info/etc, if only to continue to attempt to hold them accountable.

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Apr 25, 2013

They aren't really teaching though. Just documenting what is available. Not
to mention the HTML5 boilerplate uses document.write. So can we really hold
them to a higher standard than ourselves?
On Apr 25, 2013 1:31 PM, "Jordan Harband" notifications@github.com wrote:

While I like the idea of changing the tone, and making sure w3fools is a
good resource to branch out to other good resources, w3schools still
teaches many bad practices (document.write, inline event handlers, etc). I
still think it will be useful to maintain the list of
errors/mistakes/misleading info/etc, if only to continue to attempt to hold
them accountable.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com//issues/50#issuecomment-17025758
.

@ljharb

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

ljharb commented Apr 25, 2013

MDN documents what's available. Tutorials means they're teaching.

Good point though, document.write should be removed from everywhere :-)

@angus-c

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

angus-c commented Apr 25, 2013

Stoyan Stefanov uses document.write for non blocking JS downloads :-)

On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:31 AM, Jordan Harband
notifications@github.comwrote:

While I like the idea of changing the tone, and making sure w3fools is a
good resource to branch out to other good resources, w3schools still
teaches many bad practices (document.write, inline event handlers, etc). I
still think it will be useful to maintain the list of
errors/mistakes/misleading info/etc, if only to continue to attempt to hold
them accountable.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com//issues/50#issuecomment-17025758
.

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Apr 26, 2013

Mozilla Dev Network links to tutorials from other resources as well as doing some of their own. So they are just as responsible as W3Schools. Also in a few places W3Schools mentions that some things are depreciated where the MDN docs have yet to bring it to peoples attention. It is a give-and-take for what is proper or not between them.

Although it is still appalling that W3SChools offers certification when they have no authority nor is it recognized by anyone.

@nimbupani

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

nimbupani commented Apr 26, 2013

Although it is still appalling that W3SChools offers certification when they have no authority nor is it recognized by anyone.

This is exactly the reason why I would think our work is not over. It is appalling that they would exploit the ignorance of those who are unable to know better.

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Apr 26, 2013

We can bring that to peoples attention though in the new format. But the entire thing doesn't need to be a complete bashing when they are offering at least nice starter technical information. We could even go as far as still not recommending W3Schools, but encouraging people to not be fools and really understand how the technology works by learning from resources that web developers recommend. Continuing to bash W3Schools after the past two years of effort they have put in really doesn't go too far. I think our efforts are better focused on teaching people proper/trusted resources over exploiters.

@paulirish

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Owner

paulirish commented Apr 26, 2013

Yeah, I think it's mostly a 1) they're not associated with w3c. 2) their
certifications are NOT worth your money 3) they don't have full-time
developers consulting on their content, so beware.

but do that and strike the blow-by-blow of content issues.

On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 5:34 PM, Jonathan Garbee
notifications@github.comwrote:

We can bring that to peoples attention though in the new format. But the
entire thing doesn't need to be a complete bashing when they are offering
at least nice starter technical information. We could even go as far as
still not recommending W3Schools, but encouraging people to not be fools
and really understand how the technology works by learning from resources
that web developers recommend. Continuing to bash W3Schools after the past
two years of effort they have put in really doesn't go too far. I think our
efforts are better focused on teaching people proper/trusted resources over
exploiters.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com//issues/50#issuecomment-17049192
.

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Apr 26, 2013

So I updated my proposal with a new section for our continued issues with W3Schools.

Any critiques?

@tchalvak

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Contributor

tchalvak commented Apr 26, 2013

Ach! I am late for this fun train. So I just made a variety of edits to the current index.html of W3Schools, and modifying the html directly wasn't fun, and some of the W3Schools' links have shifted and... ...uh, yeah, pure, non-wiki html does not allow for easy maintenance of a critique of a site.

So, let's talk W3Schools:
They are insular, they don't connect themselves with the spec, they don't have a community, they don't have a way for the community to make contributions. We know we're not perfect ourselves, I couldn't build the w3schools site myself without repeating their mistakes. But we know how to fix the problem, which is to allow community contribution and correction. We need the site that takes the first hits in search engines for terms like "html div".
https://www.google.com/search?q=html5+article&aq=f&oq=html5+article&aqs=chrome.0.57j59l3.2497j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=html+div&oq=html+div&gs_l=serp.3..0i20l2j0l2.12880.17529.2.17606.4.4.0.0.0.0.213.401.0j1j1.2.0...0.0...1c.1.11.psy-ab.Gv6YDIF81eY&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45645796,d.dmg&fp=1ace3a3d17de33ee&biw=1615&bih=964

to be awesome not just passable, and to introduce new web developers to other people who can help them hone their craft.

W3Schools does not give back to the community, in terms of links or update speed or almost any of those things, yet will probably be the first resource that new developers encounter. And that is why we have to hold them to a higher standard than other sites in the same domain. Let's hold any other stie that takes high visibility to the same high standards until they're met.

I don't know about y'all, but imagining for a moment that W3Schools represents my craft to the outside world because of their visibility, I'm not satisfied with the image that they put out.

So, in summary, I don't think that the mission is done.

That said, I haven't read Garbee's proposal yet, so later I too will try to contribute to that and see if there's a better approach than "critique" to be had.

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Apr 26, 2013

W3Schools actually does have a community. They tend to stick to the forum though and don't really interact anywhere else. But, that is one thing Web Platform Docs is focusing against.

No one is saying we have completely one, that is far from done. But, keeping W3Fools in a non-prime state and continuing to use it as a reference is not acceptable. Further, using it to only bash W3Schools compared to trying to encourage activity within the development community (and trusted documentation resources) is a better use imho. That helps further the web as a whole compared to trying to destroy one sites reputation.

I personally started working on W3Fools to try and improve it from the stale state it was in. There are numerous broken links and outdated complaints. Looking over the material again to try and fix W3Fools showed me they have actually come quite a ways. Most of the site simply doesn't stand any longer which means to me that if it continues strictly as-is then it would be doing more harm to the community than good.

@tchalvak

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Contributor

tchalvak commented Apr 28, 2013

The w3Schools site
Hmmm, they do have a forum indeed, though forum software is often not the best community-growing solution, in my experience. I suspect that in this case the forum works much like the site: as a place new developers pop in to without research ask a single question about a problem that they have and receive out-of-date & incomplete advice. And unfortunately, that's not the type of community that will act to self-correct inaccuracies in the site and keep misinformation from spreading via that site.

Overall, I don't think that the w3schools site has changed enough. They've corrected some listed inaccuracies, did a massive update to their urls that renders many of the current links invalid, and performed a sitewide "html5" update to try to retain relevance for SEO purposes. I don't expect to see such an update again until html6 becomes a search term in 2025. Is that enough for us, for the sake of new web developers?

Not to my mind.

Now, that's independent of the fact that the w3fools site has lots of dead links, is hard to change in its current pure-html format, and probably would indeed benefit from a full refresh.

Here is what I propose as a compromise to the continued low quality of the w3schools site and the opportunity presented to us to change the w3fools.com approach:

Instead of a critique/criticism listing as currently, include a "w3schools challenge".

==The challenge for w3schools==

We challenge the w3schools developers to adapt and change their site to make it something that we can embrace and endorse.

  • Correct inaccuracies actively, and implement a comment system or added wikified content so that the developer community at large can assist in explaining potential inaccuracies and clarifying subtleties of usage.
  • Connect yourself to the developer community around the web, by linking to the actual spec, connecting to neutral developer hangouts, and additional web development resources so that developers can learn in greater depth than that provided immediately by w3schools.
  • Explicitly clarify that w3schools is not affiliated with the w3c, including in the w3schools certification pages, for full transparency.

If this challenge is risen to, w3schools will have grown to become not just an accurate reference, but one that will be able to be -kept- accurate by the passion of it's community members, and there will allow the site to rise above any individual inaccuracies.

Optionally, there could be another part to the challenge:
If this challenge is met (not for the benefit of w3fools, but for the benefit of developers as a whole, and indeed the w3schools site), then we will retire this site as no longer necessary. [ed note: perhaps redirect to a different domain with a completely different message, or whatever would make sense as a "completion" step.]

The above is just a rough draft, but I think you'll get the idea.

@reecekol

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

reecekol commented May 4, 2013

I would like to make this proposal. I started working on this project a couple days ago as a place for beginners to start Learning the basics.Rather than provide any content it provides links to leaders in the developer community as well as good free resources to ensure sound learning of the principles https://github.com/reecekol/frontendresources

@tchalvak

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Contributor

tchalvak commented May 4, 2013

@reecekol I doubt that would prove to be a good solution for the current domain or the w3schools problem in general. The current site as-is already links to resources with some maturity.

@halilim

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link

halilim commented May 10, 2013

Sorry for my disruption. Speaking of victories, I'd call it even a bigger victory for W3schools. Nowadays it pops up at the first place for any web related Google search. Sure, it was high in olden days too, but nowhere near this (at least for me).

Not many sites have this kind of helping anti-community which helps it improve constructively :) That said, thank you guys for your efforts bringing web disinformation down to lower levels.

And IMHO winding down the tone could help decreasing the needless -maybe reactive?- overexposure W3schools gets from W3fools (if any) and redirect it to more helpful things, since the real issue is not being anti-W3schools (though I think the domain name is a little unhelpful here, no?).

On a side note: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/q/120621/153928

@tchalvak

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Contributor

tchalvak commented May 10, 2013

@halilim Well, they say that any PR is good PR, but I hope that that isn't strictly the case here, since links to w3schools from w3fools.com are nofollowed, and links to more robust resources are not nofollowed, thus every link to w3fools contributes link juice to resources other than w3schools. But certainly the meta.stackoverflow.com criticisms are somewhat in line with this thread's intent to improve w3fools.com's approach one way or another.

Since I'm here, I'd like to make a proposal for moving forward with altering w3fools.com to be better, but I'll make that in a separate post for clarity.

@tchalvak

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Contributor

tchalvak commented May 10, 2013

So here is my proposal in general terms, with the items that I find to be least controversial first:

Step 1: Pin down a wiki system for posting of w3schools erratta, to act as a add-on to the core, more static, w3fools site.
Implementation details: I would recommend a non-self-hosted wiki in this case, for simplicity, to avoid the need for a whole server just for the w3fools wiki. One option is to use the github wiki for this repository. At the moment I don't see any reason not to do this, though I don't tend to use github's wiki system myself, so I don't know how user friendly it ends up being. Another is to use a third-party wiki for simplicity. If we were to go this route, I'd recommend pbworks.com, has been online for years and is quite user friendly (here are some example links including a wiki that I created/keep up: http://elothtes.pbworks.com/w/page/18807121/FrontPage http://ninjawars.pbworks.com/w/page/11547956/FrontPage just to give a feel for the user interface. ) To begin with I'll assume that we want to use github's wiki system until such time as it proves undesirable, it should be trivial to move away from it if the need arises.

Step 2: Move the link sections to the wiki, remove solved problems, remove the links from the html.

Step 3: Link the current broad sections to the wiki pages appropriately (e.g. php section describes generally the problem with w3schools' listings, then links to the php page for specifics).

Step 4: General revision & cleanup of the remaining (more static) content. (A variety of approaches would work here once the specific links are no longer dragging down the content)

All together, though I split this into multiple steps, the individual steps themselves are pretty simple (with the possible exception of the verification that problems are still current and revision of the remaining non-link content). I'll probably skeleton out a simple wiki layout later today for a simple example approach.

Thoughts? Dissent?

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented May 10, 2013

No third party wiki/hosted solutions imo. I am trying now even to get the master branch as gh-pages so the site itself is all run through Github. So if we were to do some kind of wiki solution it would be GitHub's wiki. Although, I don't think we should use a wiki. W3Fools if it continues to be simply against W3Schools should be a quick simple page for people to read. If things get too heavy it could dissuade people from reading which would do more harm than good.

Also if there are any issues outside of the front-end technologies I don't think we should worry about pointing those out. There are tons of sites that show horrid PHP advice that people still use. Unless they are W3C Standardized, I don't think it should be under the scope to be pointed out.

As far as cleaning up the remaining content that is exactly what this thread is for; figuring out what the future use of this site is and making the content fit that function.

@Garbee

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Collaborator

Garbee commented Jun 4, 2014

I just pulled in #57. Victory declared.

@Garbee Garbee closed this Jun 4, 2014

@tchalvak

This comment has been minimized.

Copy link
Contributor

tchalvak commented Jun 4, 2014

bush_mission_accomplished

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment