Lim Chee Aun

Web standards for Malaysians

I've been browsing though my bloglines, reading feeds with new posts. I've configured bloglines to show post summaries if available, which means that I'll only go to the site to read the full post if it interests me. There is one blog post which interests me. I clicked on it, launched it into a new tab, and was totally irked by the web page rendered on my browser. It's Tim Yang's geek blog, a Malaysian blog. All I can see on his web site is a note stating that Malaysian IPs are banned from that site. The page explains that the blog is about web standards which most Malaysians are not interested about. That guy assumes that all Malaysians are not web standards enthusiast, except himself. As a result, I couldn't read his weblog, directly. However, I managed to access the site anonymously, thanks to Anonymization, where my local IP address will be virtually invisible.

I read his About page (via Anonymization) and noticed this quote:

This website also blocks all attempts to get it from any Malaysian IP. Coming from an online culture based around IRC and ICQ conversations, Malaysians tend to be untrained in cohesive thought and their comments tend to be rather crude and rude, intentionally or unintentionally.

http://timyang.com/about.php

So, this is an online culture? A question arises in my head, can such culture be practised on web sites? I agree that majority of Malaysians don't care about web standards. Most Malaysian web sites do not contain validated markup and use proprietary codes, such as The Star and Bluehyppo. Discussing web standards with Malaysians seems to be no avail, specifically at the Webmaster Malaysia forum. I guess, this must be the reason Tim Yang made such drastic move to block Malaysians from viewing his site.

In my opinion, his action is wrong. Blocking people from viewing the site is not a solution. He may be concerning much about web standards, but he misses the point of web accessibility. Everyone has the right to access a web site, and that includes me. There are still some minority of Malaysians who are aware of the importance of web standards. Blocking them would be very unfair, as they are trying to learn something from a web-standards-related weblog.

As Malaysians tend to be untrained in this manner, so why block them since it's better to train them in understanding web standards?