Olia Lialina has also questioned the accuracy of PBS's Off Book documentary on animated GIFs:
The historical part in the beginning is a disaster. The first few seconds of the video already mention "the Web 1.0 of the 70's, 80's and 90's". Come on ... I mean you don't need to know web history and GIF history to make GIFs and to admire them, but if you put yourself in front of the camera to talk about "the birth of the medium" check at least some basic facts. There was no web in the 70's and the 80's. The web started in 1993. If you like you can also count from 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee invented the HTTP protocol. I never do, but in this context it would be at least catchy. This way you could say that animated GIFs and the WWW are of the same age. After all animated GIFs as we know them now started with version number 89a.
On what Ryder Ripps has called "some weird Google docs comment thread" (set up by Paddy Johnson to fact-check PBS), the person who talked about the "Web 1.0 of the '70s, '80s and '90s" in the Off Book program, Patrick Davison, says he mis-spoke.
Update: Responding on Facebook to Lialina's post, Ripps also says discussing GIFs is "retarded" (and he's not talking about the slow frame rate), likening it to painters arguing about "how fucking paint is made and how to pronounce gesso." We've been down this road, with Ripps insisting GIFs are "just another format for animation." Right, because you can put a YouTube on your blog and set it for infinite loop and it'll just boot right up the way you want it to, and it'll be easy for others to save to their drives, edit, and share!
Update 2: My original paraphrase of Ripps' gesso quip was inaccurate so I changed the language to his exact words. I'm not a Facebook member or I'd link to his comments on Lialina's article so you could read them yourselves. The reason we're talking about a file format is because PBS did a show on a file format. Ripps, from his position on the sidelines, thinks we should be talking on the Google doc about "the people or culture behind" web animation. I'm sorry if my comments on the doc don't sufficiently recapitulate 10 years of blog writing - I thought I made a few good points.
Update 3: Michael Manning sent a link [removed, see below], thanks - if you're logged in to Facebook you should be able to read this. I got it all secondhand, via screenshot.
Update 4: Instead of a link to Facebook, here is the screenshot Ripps asked to have sent to me, where he also expresses surprise that Olia Lialina would expect PBS (a network on which he has appeared) to be "honest or accurate or give a shit."
Update 5: PBS or PBS contractor.