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[Bug 7034] authoring conformance requirements in the spec should either be removed or replaced

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2010 17:19:20 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1NqrTE-000634-LW@wiggum.w3.org>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=7034


Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Status|VERIFIED                    |REOPENED
         Resolution|NEEDSINFO                   |




--- Comment #20 from Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>  2010-03-14 17:19:20 ---
At the present time, the only effective means by which a working group
participant can obtain a rationale for why any given restriction is included in
the spec is to file a bug and ask for that restriction to be removed.  In this
case, we have a large number controversial restrictions for which there is no
single place that a person can go to find the answer as to why those
restrictions were put in there in the first place.

I'm open to proceeding with a separate bug or change proposal for each
attribute or element that is commonly used, or with a single omnibus bug report
such as this one, or with escalating this as a single issue.

To make this more specific, I believe that conformance rules and conformance
checkers are a good thing to have -- but only so far as those conformance rules
are ones that are likely to be followed once a reasonable person is made aware
of the rule.  When rules are put in place that large number of people will
willfully violate, the end result is undermine the integrity of the standard.

I will suggest that http://google.com/ as a starting point.  I believe that the
people who put that page together are both reasonable and highly knowledgeable
about what is the most effective use of markup.  I will also suggest at the
current time, any browser that failed to render that particular page acceptably
is simply not viable.

At the present time, the HTML5 validator produces 47 messages -- some of them
warnings, most of the errors -- on that page.  I believe that the optimum
number is zero.

The overwhelming majority of such messages fall into two categories.  

The first is the use of unescaped attributes inside of URLs as attribute
values.  In rare cases, such usage can be mistaken a character reference, but
none of these occurrences on this page have any danger of being mistaken in
this way, and therefore should be allowed.

The second is the use of mostly attributes and a few elements which perform
layout functions: spacing, margins, width, align, wrapping, centering,
clearing.  Apparently, the rules for when it would be best to use these
allegedly obsolete elements vs when to use CSS are not yet universally agreed
to, at least not in the context of this page.

I believe that there is value in both set of checks, but I don't believe that
either should be mandatory.  And there is a reasonable discussion which can be
had as to whether authors should state their intent to conform to these
additional restrictions inside the markup itself or outside of the markup
(e.g., in the UI of a validator).

Again, whether this is to be pursued as 1, 2, or 20+ bugs, or as an equal
number of change proposals, or on the mailing list (which also has been
discouraged as not a great use of the groups time[1]), I care not.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Mar/0310.html


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