Tuesday, December 4, 2007

False attribution

Story here, referencing this.

When you write a story claiming that somebody said something, you'd better make sure they actually said it. In this case the headline is "Novell Vice President Again Defends Microsoft’s OOXML", and the story says "As far as attendant of the XML 2007 conference are concerned, Novell, represented by de Icaza in this case, opines that OOXML is needed."

Let's see what statements are attributable to de Icaza in the source material:
  • without a direct quote, he "said at the outset of his remarks on OOXML and ODF interop that he was not going to get into the corporate politics surrounding the two formats. De Icaza noted that Novell supports both OOXML and ODF via its use of Open Office."
  • “In 2006, there was lots of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the problems behind OOXML and it went downhill from there,” de Icaza said.
  • De Icaza said Novell’s major issue around the dueling file formats was “there is no one-to-one mapping” between them. There are features in ODF, like Page Styles, which have no equivalent in OOXML.
  • “Neither group (Microsoft nor the ODF camp) is willing to make the big changes required for real compatibility,” de Icaza said.
  • “We need Microsoft’s (ODF interoperability) commitment to go beyond 1.0,” he said.
  • Objection over the size of Microsoft’s and the ODF’s file-format specs is a red herring, de Icaza said. What’s really needed is more developers who are building applications using OOXML and ODF to offer critiques of what does/doesn’t work, in terms of interoperability.
  • There’s no end in sight to the ongoing disputes between the two file-format camps, de Icaza said. “Sadly, there is a lot of money at stake here,” de Icaza concluded.
Which of these statements is defence of OOXML? And why is no attention paid to the statements he makes against OOXML, that it is missing features found in ODF, and that MS have no long-standing commitment to ODF interoperability.

It's always worth following the links behind stories to see what bloggers base their opinions on, you may find you come to a different conclusion sometimes.


Marcus said...

I think that your editorial comments are taking away from the intended objective of this blog.

For example: "And why is no attention paid to the statements he makes against OOXML (...)"

You have demonstrated that all the quotes in the article do not support the headline, but then your comments are implying an intentional personal attack on de Icaza, which I think is unnecessary from an objective point of view of a fact checker. This could easily balloon into a flame war under different context, thus defeating the purpose of the blog, as originally stated.

Fact-Finder said...

I would disagree that it's "editorial". The headline said, paraphrasing, "Miguel defends OOXML".

Looking at the source, we can see that he didn't make any statements defending OOXML. So, I think we both agree that fact-checking that is right.

Usually, I wouldn't care about the actual comments Miguel made, but I think in this case raising them is valid: he was actually attacking OOXML, albeit lightly.

So I wasn't highlighting them because I was trying to say "Look, Miguel is making good points here the article didn't pick up". The point was the article said he defended OOXML, the facts say he was attacking it.