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Posted on Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

Dave!Blogging is a contact sport, because anything you write is in full contact with the entire world. Sometimes this is a good thing, but other times it just opens you up for inexplicable hostile behavior. Sure I realize that not everybody is going to agree with what I say and some people are going to become angry because of it... that's human nature, and I accept it.

This morning I woke up to a really nasty email sitting in my in-box. It's happened before, doesn't really bother me, and is easily solved by pressing the "delete" key. Except this one was different. As I was about to obliterate it from my sight and mind, I noticed that it was attacking me not because of what I said, but because of how it was formatted.

The really foul language and poor spelling forbid me from reproducing the email here, but the gist of it was "you suck ass because you claim your blog validates but it doesn't."

To which I can only say "WTF?" I rant often about adhering to web standards and Internet Explorer's complete disregard for such things so, if this were true, I would be a big fat hypocrite. But it's not true. I have a badge that proudly links to the W3C validator and, when you click on it, this is what you'll see:


So now I am really puzzled. I start frantically validating all the pages I can find... my FAQ... my "Best of"... my Master Archive... and everything comes through with no problems. Then I start validating individual entry archive pages with no problems... until I reach a page with comments. And then tragedy strikes. The Gravatar plug-in I use to display little pictures next to commentors is putting unencoded ampersands in its URL, which is invalid. No big deal, I just edit the plug-in source, rebuild my pages, and everything is okay again (well, kind of okay, because if somebody leaves a comment with invalid HTML embedded in it then the page won't validate, but it does when I first put it up so I guess I can live with that).

Anyway, I was actually going to write back to the foul-mouthed ass-clown that emailed me with the problem, but the return address was forged. So, if you're reading this guy, thanks for bringing it to my attention and I appreciate it. But was it really necessary to call me a "!#@&!%@ $*@@%#" ?

Categories: Blogging 2005Click To It: Permalink


  1. Neil T. says:

    Okay, since when did validation become some kind-of requirement? Sure, it’s a nice thing to be able to acheive but that’s just ridiculous.

    I use some custom-made PHP for pasting in gravatars at the moment – that way I have total control over how they’re displayed.

  2. Lilly says:

    I don’t care much for W3C validation as long as a page contains no errors and display correctly on IE and Netscape/Mozilla. With blogging software generating a lot of custom tags, hardly any blog webpage comes off squeaky clean anyway.

  3. Tom Werner says:

    Sorry, that’s my fault. When I wrote the original Gravatar plugins I forgot to encode those damn ampersands. I still think it was a foolish mistake for the W3C to specify that ampersands in URLs have to be escaped…I mean, that’s just stupid. I guess you fixed your plugin yourself, but there are updated plugins on that have the fix too, for anybody else out there that needs the validation fix.

  4. Dave2 says:

    It’s not that ampersands in URLs have to be escaped… it’s that ampersands in HTML have to be escaped. Since the URL is being placed within an HTML document, you have to escape it in order to validate.

    Still, you’re right that it is a little stupid because links in URLs are not displayed, so it shouldn’t really be required.

    In any event THANK YOU for the great plugin! I never would have been able to figure out how to create something like that, so it’s your ingenuity that has allowed my blog to be “gravatar-enabled” in the first place. 🙂

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