This may come as a surprise to people who associate me with the Web Standards Project. Fact is, I despised the name, and while I understand the prior GROUP had a culture and rationale for the sting, that is legacy and not fostered by me or the members as we adapted to changing times. I joined because Jeffrey asked me and Steven Champeon to lead.
As Microsoft began to build a more open Web Platform “WPS” programmers, project managers, team leads, software developers and more than a few already members of the #W3C were able to begin speaking and blogging transparently. For me, and some of the project’s active folks, this was seen as an opening of a Window.. Heh.. for conversation and Advocacy from all sectors of industry wanting to stop conflict, not add to it.
The next year after the first Mix n’ Mash, only two people were invited to return from the formidable first group. Kelly Goto, who had asked critical questions about how Bill was educating his children, and how he saw that scaling to education in the information age. The other was me,and while I cannot verify that he really said this, his front people said he had asked his staff to “bring back The Annoying Standards Girl.” I was never upset because 1, it’s true, and 2,he remembered me by the topic..aka the point!
That year, it was Jonathan Snook who p0wned the conversation, and was a potent advocate indeed.
Talking about hard topics is not easy for most, and the reasons I do have more to do with social activism. I got my M.A. at The New School for Social Research in Media Studies. The New School is a breeding ground for dissidents and radical thinkers. I have been a card-carrying member of the press since I was 18. I don’t like the demands of the media-focus, or the conflict it can cause. I studied the intersection of society and technology. What’s more, I was the Disabilities Community Manager at MSN in 94-96ish, and MSN OG that shipped with Windows 95 was not Web-based, rather a very cumbersome “Big BBS” proprietary monster. It got really fun when we did make the transition to Web. Remember the “Safe Web FONT” era? We actually had awesome CSS at that point. Speaking of points, we used them as in font-size: 14pt (oh yes we did). And, I can honestly say that Microsoft treated me better than any tech-specific US corporation I’ve ever experienced. Always. It’s why I left the project in fact, because I went back as a contractor and felt it was a conflict of interest to do both. Imagine the day I woke up to read that the headline of the last WaSP post “Our work here is done” – I actually screamed, but the cat was not impressed.
So for anyone who has the idea that I have an agenda here more than seeing where we are at 15 years after IE6 gridlocked us and reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and opening a new age of communities that remain passionate about the Web, the only other possibility I can imagine now is connecting to the one time in my life I wasn’t being beaten down as a bad person who was incapable of being good and would always be a failure.
This message lasted until 2 years ago when I finally split forever from the person I believed until I asked why I as a minor was never looked for or reported missing by my family. Tough love was the response. Yes, I was a terrible 14 year old, guilty as charged of smoking pot and kissing boys.
People have asked me why I kept returning. My Mom. I know she was in her own way under the thumb of lies. She redeemed herself though, and began confessing her disloyalty choosing a parttner whom she truly believed to be a good, honest and loyal person over her children, especially her daughter. She made an all too human mistake I myself made far too many times, and she was, however brutal at home, a person of great ethics, intelligence, insight, beauty and brilliance who gifted me with many strengths, as she did all three of us kids.
As for the suggestions for stirring up trouble just to build audience, I’m the blogger who wrote a “How to gain audience membesr” post advocating we stop caring about being “followed” – another word that gives me oogies. And, any royalties from the book are not income but placed in a special needs managed trust. My level of disability only allows for work because from home, I live in a multiphasic way – sleep a few hours, work a bit, do some yoga and so on. My out-of-house activities are very low. Evidence: My 22 year old car only just hit 30,000 miles in December!
The Web to me holds potential, but I find myself moving towards a highly distributed, encrypted and anonymous approach.
Why add conflict or combat now? We suffer greatly from ignoring life lessons and history. many responses reflect real guilt and despair over the past and very little joy.
I understand I lost my identity and that others confusion is in part that, and that new friends don’t remember the passionate, positive, wild, fun-loving and very generous person I am at heart. Pain and loss much less pharmaceutical assault hurts people. I was one.
I don’t want that. I want the happy friends and passions… Many different varieties… back in my life for as long as I can do it.
Thank you so much for reading.