This post emerges from a comment I wrote to the response thread in my "Web Standards Aren't" post, which I hope will clarify my thoughts a bit as well as take a lighter look at what I'm working to articulate here.
I've decided to become a Devo rather than a Diva. I'm going to design my new site with frames, tables, spacer gifs, lots of flash embedded into framed pages via iframes. I'm going to use non-semantic, presentational HTML, table based layouts, and lots of inline CSS.
The frightening issue is that I can build such a site so it will validate, pass at least WCAG priority 1 accessibility and have effective SEO.
The mere fact that I can actually do all that and be in compliance with specs should help clarify my point, I hope. It's not the specs that define Web Standards. We are talking about best practices. We use the term "standards" fast and loose, and for an industry that is so interested in semantics, I find it endlessly ironic that we have chosen such a piss poor description to define a certain level of professional practices.
We co-opted the term "standards" and applied it to something that wasn't a standard, rather, a series of specifications that are RECOMMENDED practices.
Am I saying stop working to specs? No. Am I saying we're on the wrong path as we try and build a better Web by increasing education and awareness around specs and best practices - well, if anyone here thinks I mean that you must not have met me or know me too well. Rest assured my heart is right there, I want a better Web, and that means better practices, more education, more resources, more outreach.
I'm challenging the status quo. I'm just asking that you take a look at the semantics of the situation and not be led into a sense of comfort that we actually have achieved any semblance of a standard. If that were true, all browsers would behave the same way, and my code would be just like your code, and every CMS and development software would be interoperable, use correct nomenclature, and follow the specs.
Is that the Web we have? Clearly not. And as we grow and expand both on the desktop and into mobile devices, these issues become more fragmented, not less.