SxSW 2008: In Praise of Elitism

Just as last year, I've got a session planned for SxSW 2008. Its title is "In Praise of Elitism", and of course I hope that my readers will vote for me so that I get free entrance to SxSW.

As the title says, I'm going to talk about the role of elitism in the web standards movement; and I'm going to try to convince my audience that elitism is not an Evil Abomination by definition, but simply one of the choices the web development community could make.

After a brief detour to Aristotle's Politika, I'm going to ask: "Is Aristocracy, and not Democracy, the natural state of the web development community?" Back in June, when I wrote my proposal, I was certain that the answer is Yes; but meanwhile I'm doubting my initial certainty.

I started to ponder this question in my The Web development aristocracy and Getting rid of the semi-professionals entries, and I'm going to write some more posts along the same line. While writing these I'll probably change my mind a few more times.

In any case, my fervent hope is to show that Aristocracy/elitism can be a viable solution to, for instance, the semi-professional problem. That doesn't mean that it's the best, but it does mean it should be considered seriously along with other possible solutions.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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1 Posted by Alex Jones on 21 August 2007 | Permalink

This sounds like a great topic. Hopefully it will be selected and generate at least as much discussion as your panel did last year. I'm off to rate it. :)

2 Posted by Guillaume Stricher on 22 August 2007 | Permalink

I think your concept and parallels between history and the state in wich the actors of the web stay today remains vague, even if you wrote long posts to explain it. The title as you suggest it today has a dusty taste and may be misunderstood even if it has it's impact, awakes curiosity and should trigger lots of discussions.
But the signal I get from it sounds like "Only strongers will last...". Something that I totally disagree with.
Isn't the idea simply: The need of professionalization... But that's more difficult to say.
Anyway, good luck.

3 Posted by Mark Wubben on 22 August 2007 | Permalink

Also, as opposed to an aristocracy, what about a meritocracy?

4 Posted by ppk on 23 August 2007 | Permalink

Yes, ideally an aristocracy should be a meritocracy. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. I hope to discuss this problem in my session, too.