The Web Standards Project asks What is a Web Standard?
It’s a good question – as many of the things we refer to as ‘standards’ turn out to not be standards at all – but they are best practice. I suppose it might be splitting hairs, but to be technically correct we shouldn’t be calling things standards that aren’t. Things like semantic markup and separation of presentation & structure, for example.
However, as the author states:
What we absolutely must do is take care to spread a message that encourages rather than discourages using the best science and best practice. It is holding that goal high that makes us professionals, after all.