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Re: Formally Object to Referencing WhatWG within the W3C HTML5 specification

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 09:41:58 +0100
Message-Id: <F497B305-2EDA-4BDE-B1D8-3F5563650A31@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org
Hi Shelley,

I don't think the legal status of a group should be a bright line for  
whether the W3C formally or informally collaborates with it (putting  
aside the legal status of the W3C). After all, the W3C generally has  
as part of its goal as wide review and participation as possible. If  
people self-organize into larger groupings, that can be a strong  
positive. Lots of things have emerged outside more formal channels.

I've been involved in external movements (namely, OWLED) which tried  
to retain some effect after a working group started and if one isn't  
careful, it's easy for the WG to drain energy from the external group.  
W3C interest groups have had varying success in building and  
maintaining community (and I've tried to work that angle) but it  
doesn't always work (communities are surprisingly delicate in some  

Similarly, I don't find "official" status of a group very compelling,  
as referenced in:

To put it another way, if the WHATWG incorporated, which it could  
easily do, I don't think anyone objecting to the link or the text or  
the fact of two specs or the normativity of a spec would be remotely  
satisfied. The problems would all remain.

Similarly, I'm pretty unclear on the IETF's legal status. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Engineering_Task_Force
"""Because the IETF does not have members (nor is it an organisation  
per se), the Internet Society provides the financial and legal  
framework for the activities of the IETF and its sister bodies (IAB,  
IRTF,...). Recently the IETF has set up an IETF Trust that manages the  
copyrighted materials produced by the IETF. IETF activities are funded  
by meeting fees, meeting sponsors and by the Internet Society via its  
organizational membership and the proceeds of the Public Interest  
Registry.""" Other spelunking seems to confirm this.)  But, I don't  
think anyone would claim that the IETF, at almost any point of its  
history, wasn't an appropriate body to reference and collaborate with.

It's certainly within the W3C's/HTMLWG's right, and perhaps self- 
interest, to insist on informally or normatively referenced material  
have certain properties (such as not denigrating the W3C). But,  
presumably, that's independent of the perceived status of the body  
publishing the referenced material. (Though, the W3C does sensibly  
prefer to reference material that have reasonably stable URIs. That  
doesn't seem to be a huge problem here, though the WHATWG might want  
to make some at least informal arrangements in case Ian gets hit by a  
bus driven by someone he's pissed off ;)).

Your point about who owns the documents, however, is a good one and  
I've posed some specific questions about in a separate message. I  
don't understand the current set of copyrights (the licenses are more  
clear; but whether the licensors have the right to so license is less  

Received on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 08:42:34 UTC

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