There's no precedent issue here to concern ourselves with.
One in this case isn't one, it is a precedent.
Is it even a significant burden on the creation of new standards-compliant web browsers? Explain to me how we could go about crafting the development process of a new web browser where populating its table of named colors doesn't reduce to throwing a couple of scripts at a standard normative document to convert that document into the language-du-jour.
Fear of precedent on this question is practically over-stated.
i feel for the family though and i think it was kind of jeff to reach out to them in a special way today.
EDIT: just so others are aware what the family's wishes are:
"The family requests charitable donations be made in Rebecca’s name to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House or the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. They further request that those who attend the services and are comfortable wearing purple do so in honor of Rebecca and her favorite color."
Throughout this whole ordeal Eric has maintained that it is with the support of various communities that he has been able to deal with this tragedy. Eric has done a lot for CSS and the web as a whole, and this request would add zero additional complexity to the specification and only one or two lines of code to the implementation.
It really isn't that big a deal, but there's a lot of us that respect him enough that we'd like to do anything in our power to show our support for him and his family right now, even if it's just to memorialize his daughter's favorite color.
It is a really big deal, adding enormous politics and payload to every change going forward: Once you start memorializing people through standards, you are implicitly choosing not to memorialize everyone who doesn't get codified in such a way.
Every city and region has a long backlog of honorarium names for upcoming streets and parks, inevitable discussions and debates, etc. Don't turn standards into that.
This is one of those internet things where everyone looks for some cheap feels by saying "Sure, do it!", maybe sending out a couple of easy tweets. That sort of herd behavior should never influence standards, and it is somewhat ridiculous that this discussion is taking place.
Now look up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_blue.
It's already happened. You can argue it's a grandfathered name from color standards predating CSS, but this process right here is how these things happen.
I think the world will survive the occasional honorarium done in this fashion. I would even be willing to wager that the world will survive a great many honoraria done in this fashion, if that's what people want; it's just an entry in a lookup table. There's no meaningful risk here; standards have always been what people can agree upon.
My heart goes out to Eric and his family; I practically learned CSS from him. But I don't think that inclusion of what seems to be an arbitrary purple makes sense.
It seems to me like "the community" needs to do this much more than the family needs it to be done. I don't see one article on Hacker News notifying folks about the donations that the family mentioned. Kind of backwards, don't you think?
UPDATE: Ok I see why now... so sad. :(
Beautifully written, so hard to read.
Webkit Bug Report: https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=133804
Apparently both of them are just waiting for Eric to confirm that this is OK.
We don't have monuments to every dead world leader in Washington, D.C., but we somehow find room to make a few for United States presidents.
It's not about just honoring any random person. His work has had a big impact on the tech community. His articles about his daughter's illness and death were extremely well written and stuck a chord with thousands of readers.
It's one of those nerdy endearing gestures that, while made with good intent, only end up causing more pain while simultaneously opening all kinds of strange questions (such as should we build memorials in our technical specifications every time a tragedy hits someone in the community).
Now's a moment to grief, but after long time, a moment comes to move on. Specifications can't "move on". We shouldn't turn them into graveyards where we bury our feelings.
Making one's daughters death public like this is arrogant und unfair. It lifts his loss over the ones that we ourselves will have to suffer. We are not even allowed to discuss this rationally, because of the strength of the emotion.
I do not support this "movement", hashtag or thing in general, and I feel emotionally molested.
Edit: Happy downvoting. My grandma killed herself at the age of 86 with a plastic bag. I am claiming IngeborgCreamBeige.
You can hold that line of reasoning, it's internally consistent... But it appears disjoint from the cultural values I perceive. Maybe the culture is wrong; in this case, my gut tells me it isn't, but I don't have a good counter-argument to explain my gut. ;)
> Couldn't this reasoning be applied as criticism for the funeral of Michael Jackson, Jim Henson, basically any celebrity or political figure, and any soldier who returns from military service in a casket?
I don't see this as a rethorical question, and I am going to answer it: Yes, definitely. In my opinion valuing the death of a politician or another person of public interest in the media higher than all common-day tragedy is an insult. My brother lost his very best childhood friend in a tragic car accident. My grandma commited suicide (which surprisingly, tragically is actually not that uncommon with elderly people). Where is his hashtag? I am not trying to make the same argument or really claim the same sympathies, but I am trying to point out that loss is universal, sad and never fair.
In some cultures the idea of absolute equality in death is prevalent. This concept is canceled out by the media attention of the death of a person. I feel very hurt, and loss is bad, there is no question that the individual has a right to mourning and grieving over the loss. But since there this is a universal concept it is unfair to bring other people into this. I do not blame Eric, but I am not sure I understand the motives of making this in to some sort of hashtag campaign.
I feel that this is very unfair, because in this emotional discourse there is no rational argument allowed. I hear people say that "Well what would it hurt, it is just a name in a spec!?". Would we feel the same way if religious groups would claim to influence technology in such a way? How about a Jesus Blue or a JHWH-Green. Religious feelings are also not up for debate, which is why I am claiming to feel molested, because there is no arguing allowed.
I won't get a hashtag when I die. Heck I'd be lucky to get a social media mention at all. But I'm not going to demand that nobody else get attention that I won't get.
I don't know Meyer or his family personally. But he is a long-time web hero of mine, I lost my mother to cancer recently, and I have a young child, so I followed his journey as he blogged and tweeted it. It was painful, sometimes so much so that I considered unfollowing him on twitter to avoid the depression that followed reading a tweet.
For all Meyer has done for the web, he deserves a little monument built for him one day. I'm sure he'd appreciate this particular one more than one to himself.
Your points about celebrity losses versus personal losses is valid, but has a very simple answer: we don't know you. People well-known in communities or cultures can touch many lives, and people can and will form emotional attachments to them even if they never meet.
We are allowed to feel sad for someone else's loss. I'm sorry I never had the opportunity to feel sad for the people you have lost.
It's culturally accepted to share your pain with people you know, and it's culturally accepted not to question or tell people they should keep it to themselves.
The problem is that with the Internet and social media the circle of "people you know" may easily turn out "the entire world".
Quite obviously, our minds are not equipped with the capacity of feeling for everyone's tragedy. If we could truly comprehend the tragedy behind a simple statistic like "thousands die in car accidents every month" it would render us depressed and unable to function.
As we feel more and more like a small village online (with a few billion people in it), the currently established "normal" cultural behavior in case of death will eventually start breaking down.
You are detecting the anomaly of following cultural patterns in a global online community where those patterns are ill-fitting. But most people don't detect it, they just follow the patterns.
Your thinking is not unique, but it's rare. Not many people stop to think and analyze why they're reacting the way they're reacting to your statements. Don't feel bad about the downvotes. We're merely machines running the program (culture) we've been loaded with. We do what the program says is right.