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New Law... websites & Webservices Act 2003

Following people's comments in defence of the legal profession, and laws that protect the said profession by requiring the use of qualified lawyers in court etc, I have decided to petition my Member of Parliament to introduce a new bill... Web Services Act 2003.

The highlights of the law will be to make it a legal requirement for anyone developing a public facing website to employ engineers certified by the Web Developers Guild (WDG). One of the requirements for getting certification from the WDG, is that the person will need to have served at least three years apprenticing in a WDG Certified web-development firm.


!!THIS LAW IS FOR THE PUBLIC'S BENEFIT!!

Dear MP

Have any of you seen ugly pages on the net? They are the result of unprofessionals.

Have you ever failed to find your way around a site? Poor UI is the result of unprofessional web developers.

Have you ever had a web service fail on you? That again is a sign that a site was developed by a professional.

Ever had a site become unavailable when you needed it most? Blame it on the unprofessionals.

We at the WDG will work hand in hand with the leading standards developers, with the world's best UI gurus, and the most highly rated graphic artists, to produce the best qualified Web Development professionals.

!!THIS LAW IS FOR THE PUBLIC'S BENEFIT!!

The law will benefit the public in a number of ways.

1. Standardisation
Because all of the developers will be WDG certified, they will adhere to tried and tested methods of developing sites. User's experiences will thus be more consistent from site to site.
(**at the moment, we are particularly fond of the left navigation frame style)

2. Investment and Emplyoment creation.
A lot of businessmen want to cut costs and we have had cases in the past where the owner's 16 year old nephew had been employed to build the company's pages. This cannot be allowed to happen while there are professional web developers seeking employment.
(**If businesses want a website, they should pay a professional to do it.)

3. No more fly by night operators
There are many self-taught, fly-by-night operators in the website and web services development arena. Customers cannot tell the real deal from the fraudsters who have just read a teach yourself HTML in 21 days book, or Dreamweaver for beginners. Having certification will take care of this problem.
(**Due to the highly complex nature of developing websites, we feel a three year apprenticeship is the least a developer should spend)
(**In addition, in order to ensure quality, we will monitor the number of persons qualifying each year to ensure that we maintain standards).

!!THIS LAW IS FOR THE PUBLIC'S BENEFIT!!

CompSci or Graphic Arts graduates should really stick to their respective professions. They would, under this new law be prohibited from building websites until they had spent at least two years in an apprenticeship with a WDG certified company.

Furthermore, we are proposing penalties of £1 million fine, for companies that employ non WDG certified staff to build websites.

We are also suggesting that a 1year prison term be imposed on people that offer website/webservice development services without WDG certification.

Our definition of a public facing site, is one which is available from a public computer, even if a password is required to access the individual pages.

I trust that in the interests of standardised, more pleasurable web experiences, that the Honourable Member of Parliament will have no trouble in getting this bill passed.

regards


Tapiwa
(founder member and Chairman of the WDG)

!!THIS LAW IS FOR THE PUBLIC'S BENEFIT!!

Further information on WDG initiatives, including our WhitePaper on why open source webscripts not developed by WDG certified professionals would be illegal, please do not hesitate to contact me.

remember, !!THIS LAW IS FOR THE PUBLIC'S BENEFIT!!


We would like to hear your comments on the above proposal, expecially if you were vocal in your support for Lawyers and Accountants in a previous thread on Professionals.

tapiwa
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Have you ever had a web service fail on you? That again is a sign that a site was developed by a professional."

- perhaps you could hire a member of the BWG (Bill Writing Guild) to write your bills for you! ;-)

John Topley
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

my bad.

Are you in any way affiliated with the Bill Writer's Guild? :)

tapiwa
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Got a URL for the WDG?

Joe Blandy
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I really don't see how this bill would pass... It doesn't have any removal of one's privacy or personal rights involved. Add an amendum demanding that all those that tinker inside their toasters be arrested and sentenced to hard time in a maximum security prison. True patriots leave their toasters alone! Or maybe one line making it illegal to close your window shades. Remember, those that demand privacy have something TO HIDE!

trollbooth
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Doesn't have the removal of anybody's rights?  According to this, I wouldn't even be able to develop my own web site unless I join this "guild".

"The highlights of the law will be to make it a legal requirement for anyone developing a public facing website to employ engineers certified by the Web Developers Guild (WDG). "

Joe Blandy
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Are any of you certified members of the Joel on Software poster's guild?

fool for python
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"1. Standardisation"

Can we standardize on standardization as opposed to standardisation.  I mean if we can't even pick one standard way to spell something we are doomed. ;)

Mike
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

tapiwa -- One of the first thing that lawyers learn, hopefully, is to separate their emotions from their arguments.  Television courtroom scenes notwithstanding, the best legal arguments remain cool and rational, even when there is an emotional investment underneath.(Thankfully, programmers don't have to worry much about separating their emotions from their arguments because the issues involved in programming aren't generally emotionally charged.)

You just can't get too worked up over things if you're going to try to use reason to persuade someone.  First of all, your emotions are likely to affect your judgment and lead you to make wrong decisions and/or bad arguments.  Second, even if your arguments are rock-solid logically, if you appear like a a zealot when you present them then you're not likely to be very persuasive.

Amusing, maybe.  Persuasive, not so much.

Herbert Sitz
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

How about a "Bee in the Bonnet Brotherhood " whose memberscould only post to "Bee in the Bonnet Blogs" and thus leave the rest of us in peace.

Anyway Tapiwa, from all the fuss you're making you might as well have lost the case :)

And haven't you thought of getting your revenge. You could offer to write software for lawyers. That would show them what burning money really is!

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Are any of you certified members of the Joel on Software poster's guild?"

No but I am certified! ;-)

John Topley
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Because all of the developers will be WDG certified, they will adhere to tried and tested methods of developing sites. "

Doesn't this sound awful to anyone else? It's like saying, "Hey, lets all dye our hair brown, wear only black white or gray clothes, live in exactly the same type of house, drive one type of car (of the same color mind you), and last but not least, lets all have the same job! This way no one will have to worry about being creative... doesn't that sound exciting?!"

Ugh! Where is there room in this plan to be creative, free thinking, or innovative?!

Count ME out.

HeyCoolAid!
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Hehehe....The fun part of the Internet is it can't be hard to tell when people are being sarcastic or they are honestly being serious.

I'm guessing, (and hoping) that the post was sarcastic. It certainly was amusing.

And in the true nature of politics, my support can be bought for a price along with a lucrative VP position in the WDG.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Despite the ostensibly admirable qualities of this proposed legislation, Mr. Tapiwa, we feel the need to call attention to an apparently overlooked shortcoming.

We will leave aside for our purposes the fact that writing in all caps is referred to as "shouting" on the Internet and is considered a hallmark of the uninitiated.  Rather we will deign to point out that the use of exclusively capital letters in any type of writing, though it may call attention to the text, also makes that text harder to read.  In lowercase letters, the extenders above and below baselines allow easier distinction between the various letters, whereas capital letters start and end on the same baseline.

I hope to see this serious defect remedied in the text of your legislation, and in the meantime please let me know where I can send my donation in order to further this glorious and noble cause.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Writing in all capitals, however, is a well recognised technique in the drafting of contracts, wills and other legal instruments.

I would, however, draw your attention to the lack of number of 'howsoever and heretofor' usages within the bill.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

And don't forget "whereas". Can't have legalese without liberal use of "whereas".

Martha
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

and where's the small print?

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Standardisation restricts your freedom to be creative huh?

You know what's funny, if you go to any graphic design web site there's a 95% chance it will look pretty much like k10k.net (e.g. designiskinky.com).

Standardising markup and some interaction patterns does not restrict creativity.

Walter Rumsby
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Can we standardize on standardization as opposed to standardisation"

No.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Here's a better approach.

We should allow anybody to post a web site, but have the power to remove any we find below par.

However, the IP address of the Site's poster should be logged, and the site visible to them only.  This way they will not know that the site has been removed and start complaining.

Could it work?

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The post was a poor attempt at reductio ad absurdum, which is "a methosd of disproving a proposition by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd" ( Collin's English Dictionary".

The one master of this method is one of my favourite writers of all time, Frederic Bastiat, a little known French economist.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Bastiat.html

One of his most famous uses of this method, is an essay which is generally refered to as the Candle Maker's Petition.

http://bastiat.org/en/petition.html

Very interesting reading indeed.

tapiwa
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Tapiwa,

Thanks for the links.

My own favourite is Jonathon Swift, and his Modest Proposal

http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

It is important to remember that most accounting work is NOT done by certified accountants.

In fact, one is totally free to go around and offer ones services to do accounting work to companies. I know personally 2 people that do this for a living. Further, neither of these people are professional, or so called certified accountants.

You can also as a computer consultant run around and install accounting systems. Daily, people purchase accounting systems like Quickbooks.

Further, as a sole proprietorship you can do all of your own accounting, and not even need a chartered accountant at tax time. You are free to do whatever you want in these cases. You can keep you own books, and even file your own income tax. I live in Canada, but common sense tells me  that the US is likely the save on these issues.

So, since the majority by far and away do their own accounting, and the VAST MAJORITY of accounting work is NOT done by certified accountants, it is a lame argument that the ONLY reason why one has certified accountants is to make work.

However, just when do you need a an accountant? Well, the instant that you invoke a legal public trust in your business dealings, then you need to use certified accountants. So, for example if you seek to have further legal protection and limit your liabilities for your company, you can change it from a sole proprietorship to a Limited company.

That company now has legal status, and the inclusion of the LTD in your company name means you abide by certain laws. However, society says if you are going to operate as a company with limited liabilities then you now need at year end your books to be done by a chartered accountant (proof that you abide by certain standards). This same also applies to your taxes.  So, in effect, you can be granted a LTD company, but you now will have to use people who are certified. All companies thus abide by these laws and governing bodies. All people will know that you use a charted accountant for your company. As mentioned, you can opt out of the whole thing, and function as a sole proprietorship.

Those charted accountants are certified on a annual basis, and thus have passed a certain level of competency. Further, the certification is a review process. Failure to abide by the rules and standards by the governing body will mean that you can no longer be a chartered accountant.  It is a clear and pubic certification. It all makes sense.

In all of these cases, one can try and argue that this is a make work program, but the real function is a issue of legal public trust. Any time a legal protection or legal issue arises then some type of certification can and will arise in a society.

The above also applies things like auto mechanics. Again, the vast majority work done on cars is not by licensed mechanics. Further, you are totally free to do your own work on a car.  Most auto mechanics are fee to practice their trade without certification. Just like you are free to go out an purchase quickbooks to do your own accounting. However, if you are again invoke public trust, and run a commercial vehicle, then at time of being granted a commercial vehicle license your vehicle must be inspected by a licensed mechanic. You can drive a piece of junk, but you can’t drive it as a commercial vehicle. It makes perfect sense to me. How else can we grand the rights of LTD in a company.

Often, some business will also simply seek out licensed mechanics to do work on their vehicles, since again a licensed mechanic is deemed to be of a certain level of competency by some governing body.

So, in the case of web sites, again the certification process is only going to be needed in the case where both public trust, and public liability exist. So, while I can’t see general web sites ever requiring licensed web creators, if a serious liability or legal issue exists, then that could change.  Right now you are free to publish any newspaper, or any web site you want. However, you not free to make your own passport and passport photo. Hey, they both are simply printing presses! It is just printing..right??

So, at the end of the day here, it would be silly to suggest that we license web site creators. Lets not be silly.

Certification and having a governing body has a long legal tradition in our society. These concepts are not simply make work programs, but are part of our legal system. Of course it is not perfect, but to argue that one bad policeman means that one should throw out 1000 years of legal traditions is lame. Sure, we might had one dishonest accountant, but that does not nullify the whole legal concept we are taking about here.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Just as quick side note I am fully aware that the original poster is simply making a point here, and not actually suggesting certification for web sites.

Albert D. Kallal
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

"but to argue that one bad policeman means that one should throw out 1000 years of legal traditions is lame. "

Albert, I would argue that to refuse to change solely for the reason that it nullifies x number of years is lame.

Tell that to Galileo Galilei. (but it does move)

Tell that to all the people who suffer under laws whose sole justification is that "it is part of our tradition... we have been doing it for centuries" (female circumcision or genital mutilation anyone?)

Might I suggest you read a short pamphlet by Bastiat, entitled The Law. http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

Written in 1850, it highlights the way the law was used then, and now, to protect legal plunder.

tapiwa
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

tapiwa, if we don't like laws, we discuss it at length and if the results suggest they should be changed, it they change. We're talking about 1000 years of progress here, not some fixed dogma. Fair enough, a few don't suit you right at this minute, but some of those laws might actually be good for you.

oc
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

>Albert, I would argue that to refuse to change solely for the reason that it nullifies x number of years is lame.

I totally agree here. However, I not saying that due to tradition we keep things that are bad. I am saying that these laws took a VERY long to time to work out. Since laws are changed over time, then the very fact of this long period of time does lead to some credible that the laws are valid.

The very fact that you quote some old traditions or laws that seems silly is the very proof of what I am saying. Hence, no it is not simply tradition, but the fact of lots of time, and lots of refinement does bode well for what I am saying.

Again, a stupid law is only the exception to the rule here. One bad cop, or one bad stupid law is not a bases for throwing the whole thing out.


Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

It's a bad idea to rewrite legal systems from scratch :)

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

should we refactor??

tapiwa
Thursday, April 17, 2003

Refactor?  In a massively huge non-orthogonal system with no test units?  Be very careful.

Herbert Sitz
Thursday, April 17, 2003

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