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Re: Request that "conforming document" be better defined and more carefully referenced

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 11:36:09 -0400
Message-ID: <4CA4AE69.9030907@arcanedomain.com>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
I wrote:

 > is there a bugzilla entry or other tracking
 > document I should follow?

Mea culpa:

Answering my own query, I now discover bugzilla 9178 [1], which is indeed 
exactly about my request.  I think what happened is that the editor's 
response dropped into the email hole created when I left IBM, which was 
just a few days after the response.  So, let me start over.

First of all, thank you to the editor and the HTML WG for the steps to 
address my concerns.  In particular, I see the changes made at [2], and I 
feel that they do represent very significant progress in the right 
direction.  In particular, a definition of "conforming documents" is now 
provided in Section 2.2 [3].

Although these changes are indeed positive and significant, they do not 
entirely address my concerns, particularly in the following areas:

* I had suggested that most uses of the term "conforming document" be 
hyperlinks to the definition, and I still think that would be a good thing 
to do.  That is ultimately an editorial concern, and I don't intend to 
escalate or pursue it further.  I do suggest that be considered.

* I had also in my original request [4] indicated that it would be 
desirable to clarify the applicability of the term "conforming document" in 
cases where "applicable specifications" had been used to augment or change 
the base HTML5 specification.  I believe that is ultimately a very 
important and deep concern that remains unaddressed.  Given the current 
ambiguity, someone could write a specification that very radically changes 
the HTML5 base, perhaps even maliciously, and claim "oh, mine is an 
'applicable specification', so what you get when you write to my new spec 
is a 'conforming HTML5 document'".  Wouldn't it be better to require that 
such documents be referred to as "conforming to HTML5 as modified by 
my-malicious-spec-X" (or in the more likely example more likely "conforming 
to HTML5 as modified by 

I see that the main avenue in the HTML process is for me to escalate this 
to the full WG.  I will do that if needed, as I think this is important, 
but I thought it might be less disruptive if I first sent this email to see 
whether it generates progress in a lower overhead way.

Please accept my apologies for not responding to the Editor's response in 
April;  I believe it was indeed lost as I left IBM.  Thank you.


[1] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=9178
[2] http://html5.org/tools/web-apps-tracker?from=4931&to=4932
[3] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#conformance-requirements
[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-comments/2010Feb/0011.html

On 9/30/2010 11:12 AM, Noah Mendelsohn wrote:
> On Feb. 10, I sent the comment to which this is a reply [1], requesting
> that an effort be made to clarify use of the term "conforming document" in
> the HTML5 draft Recommendation. I have looked at the latest HTML5 draft,
> and as best I can tell, it does not address my concern.
> As the HTML WG moves forward with its efforts to resolve issues, I am
> curious what the status is of this one. I don't >think< I've received any
> indication that it's being tracked anywhere, but if I missed that, please
> accept my apologies. Is this going to be addressed at some point in the
> future, and if so is there a bugzilla entry or other tracking document I
> should follow?
> Also, very observant followers of the TAG's work will note that I have for
> months had a (self-assigned) action on a related topic, I.e. to request
> clarification of the term "applicable specifications" in the HTML 5 drafts.
> Revisiting the question again, I've convinced myself that my concerns in
> this area are already pretty well signaled in email [1], and that should a
> clarification be needed regarding "applicable specs.", it will naturally
> result from the already requested clarification regarding "conforming
> documents". Accordingly, I do not anticipate sending a further request
> after all, and I will inform the TAG of my intention to drop that TAG action.
> Thank you very much.
> Noah
> (writing for myself, not the TAG)
> P.S. Please note that the IBM email address used to file the original
> comment no longer works; please contact me at nrm AT arcanedomain.com when
> necessary. Thank you.
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-comments/2010Feb/0011.html
Received on Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:37:07 UTC

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