I see it grows increasingly dangerous to allow literary types who are afraid of computers, and/or who use Windows, and/or who don’t know what markup is to discuss “formatting” of E-books. It seems a foregone conclusion that these people, raised on a Skinnerian diet of “MS Word” and its “italic” button, will never learn that “E-books” do not contain “formatting” and aren’t about to start.

Travis J. Nichols, who works for a poetry foundation with an ill-coded Web site (h4 cannot actually head a page and h3 doesn’t follow it), uses the bully pulpit of the Huffington Post to complain about “formatting” of poetry E-books. As such, he’s chosen just the right venue to air half-truths as though they amounted to something.

In a point Nichols glosses over, the actual problem is lousy semantic markup and equally lousy CSS. E-books are perfectly capable of displaying (not “formatting”) poetry. Why, just this week Dave Bonta exhaustively ran through the options, of which there is actually only one (again: semantic markup with CSS).

Nichols’s posting may give him some kind of status as a thought leader among followers who don’t think, but it hasn’t helped anything. He’s preaching to the ignorant, not the converted. Which of those is he?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.07.15 12:47. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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