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Re: Content Sniffing impact on HTTPbis - #155

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 11:55:05 +1000
Cc: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>, Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <935411C3-D075-471E-A79E-DE0F66C66E58@mnot.net>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

On 14/06/2009, at 11:45 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:

> They certainly won't if we make them impenetrable! We should be  
> working to
> make our documents more accessible to a wider audience. Making them  
> use
> terms that are counter to what everyone actually understands is not a
> good way to welcome more people to the standards development  
> process. It
> merely continues the stereotype that we are all ivory tower academics.

The first task of a specification is to clearly, unambiguously state  
how to implement. If it can appeal to a broader audience, that's  
great, but that's not a primary goal; you can rely on user guides,  
tutorials and the like for that (and indeed these documents are where  
the bulk of users will get their knowledge, not the spec).

A good specification will also outlive both its authors and the  
context it was written in. Using imprecise and conflicting terminology  
gets in the way.


> Can you get any Web browser developer to correctly explain the  
> difference
> between the terms resource identifier, resource, and resource
> representation as you use them? I hope you agree that we'd at least  
> expect
> Web browser developers to read our specs, even if you don't think we
> should be aiming for Web designers in general to read them.


If they're reading the specs and paying attention, define the term.  
Easy.

Changing terminology because lots of people don't understand the  
concepts of the Web won't improve their understanding of the Web; they  
have to apply themselves for that to happen.

At any rate, we're obviously not going to convince each other about  
this. Go ahead and submit this use of the term in a spec -- either to  
the IETF or the W3C -- and let's see what happens.


--
Mark Nottingham     http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Sunday, 14 June 2009 01:55:46 GMT

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