With the floatitis series finally coming to an end, I think it's time for some critical introspection. Even though I'm quite happy with the series itself, there's one thing that dawned on my when writing the series. If I could start again, I'd drop the whole -itis thing, as I believe in the end it could be harmful to the point you're trying to make. Let me explain. make.
birth of a disease
The whole -itis fad started back in the day when front-end developers were changing from table layouts to div layouts. Rather than grasp the idea behind semantics, they merely substituted all tables with divs and embraced the div like it was a gift from God. Paragraphs, headings, lists ... none of that existed, the div ruled all.
Of course this was not best practice and the standardista rose again to fight the battle of semantics once more. To win their fight, they created divitis. The disease of abuse and overuse of the div element. The terminology stuck and convinced many developers to take another good look at what html semantics was all about.
When writing the series on floatitis, I came across classitis, another variation on the same theme. Reading replies on the subject made me change my mind about the whole "turn it into a disease" fad. The -itis is a disease in itself.
While it is an effective way to raise heads and make people take notice, it seems that most people miss the meaning of the term. Divitis, classitis and floatitis are all about abuse and overuse of elements. But it is not always interpreted that way. It does not take long for these elements to become a taboo. People start popping up claiming they've made templates without using any divs or classes. While that is nice in an experimental no-use-at-all kind of way, it's harmful when implemented in the real world.
I've seen it happen a couple of times, which should be a clear indication that the use of -itis has some very unwanted side effects. Rather than curing one disease, you're merely replacing the original disease with a different one.
The irony here is that while we are trying to fight for recognition of semantic value, we are doing it with weapons that are misunderstood by a large part of our audience. While I wrote a series on alternatives for using floats, it was not my intention to demonize or discourage the use of floats altogether. Sadly, it's very likely that this is exactly the message I'm sending to a large group of people, simply by using the term "floatitis".
So from now on, I'll refrain from following the whole -itis fad. It's nice for quick gains, but in the end it's probably counter productive. A good thing to think about, seeing as we are all so concerned with semantics.