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Re: Sections of the HTML5 specification being removed from the W3C without discussion

From: Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com>
Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2011 09:38:20 -0700
Message-ID: <4E68EF7C.6020800@jumis.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
CC: public-html-comments@w3.org
On 9/8/2011 7:56 AM, Shelley Powers wrote:
> There's an ongoing discussion[1] about removing the Editing API from 
> the HTML5 specification.
>
> The issue is less that the section was removed, and more the fact that 
> the section was removed to a document OUTSIDE of the W3C. More 
> importantly, this change was not truly discussed within the HTML WG, 
> and I have reason to believe members of the HTML WG are not aware of 
> this change. Depending on the bug system as a way of informing WG 
> members of a significant change is a failure of the highest order.

I'd imagine these documents are only temporarily outside of the W3C:
it would be nice if editors making such changes -wait- until the w3c 
version repositories catch up.

It'd also be nice if they'd at least reference their editor drafts on 
the w3c repos, instead of consistently redirecting us to non-w3c hosts.

> Now, the same thing has happened again, but this time with the section 
> of the HTML5 document formerly labeled Dynamic Markup insertion[2]. I 
> don't believe there was even a bug report filed on this one, it was 
> just removed[3][4].
>
> In looking at the change control entry, I also find a third document, 
> DOM Range[5]. One author identifies himself, the other uses a 
> nickname, rather than his real name.
>
> Seriously?

These all look like the same shared effort of DOMCORE:
http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/domcore/raw-file/tip/Overview.html

Some of the HTML5 specifications no longer rely on HTML5.

This can be helpful, for instance, on server-side or non-browers 
applications trying to service various web apis.

"Ms2ger" has been using that alias for awhile. I don't believe it is an 
issue with copyright, given that various groups use non-registered 
aliases in their copyright notices on software.

The DOMCORE specification is now built via script, allowing the editors 
to create their own fork, while maintaining a procedurally correct w3c 
version.

> Again, the issue is less that the items were removed, and more that 
> the items were removed unilaterally, and the new documents are placed 
> outside of the W3C.
>
> My first question on all of this is: is the HTML WG even a viable 
> entity anymore? It doesn't seem that way. All the HTML WG is now is a 
> listing of bug entries and an occasional formal request from a 
> co-chair. I have seen other Working Groups, and there is little of 
> what I would call "working" about the HTML WG. Not anymore.

The HTML5/DOM4 editors do seem to be moving on in their own direction, 
with the WG acting more as police than participants.
Many editors have spoken out, requesting a change in W3C policy. They're 
looking for less policing.

> Secondly, is this the type of stewardship we can count on from the W3C 
> going forward? Allowing one specific company to pull chunks of W3C 
> specifications out of the W3C, without any consideration of other 
> company's intellectual property rights on the concepts in the text 
> covered in the text? More importantly, without regard for the possible 
> risk this may be placing companies who have started to implement these 
> specifications? These member companies have placed faith in the W3C. 
> Was this faith misplaced?
>
> Perhaps rather than ask if the HTML WG is a viable entity, I should 
> ask whether the W3C is a viable entity. Actions like these described 
> in this email that are allowed to happen without hindrance or even 
> comment  casts doubt on the ability of the organization to continue 
> being a caretaker for the specifications that form the infrastructure 
> for the web.

There are many specs within the w3c and working groups that are not 
suffering from these power-struggles. That said, HTML5, Canvas 2d and 
DOM4, are suffering.
And yes, those are very prominent specifications.

Presently, the W3C WGs are the only means we have of defending our use 
cases. Though the editors of those specifications can and have created 
their own specs, unilaterally, the specs hosted by the w3c still follow 
procedure, or at least, are still bound to it.

There is still room for objection, and voting, within the W3C. The W3C 
still offers protections, and a back channels for communication across 
vendors.
Those are still present.

The specification fork for Canvas, explicitly targets and sabotages some 
of my use cases. It knowingly operates against the consensus of the 
canvas wg, the w3c chairs, and the actual operation of existing 
implementations. But, those actions, made unilaterally, by one person, 
are hosted off-site, off of the w3c.

That seems to be the direction of things. I'd request that, when editors 
are publishing to w3c, they stay within the w3c domain. Otherwise, as 
they're well aware, they can link where-ever they like, and do whatever 
they want.

All of us have benefited from the added mobility that WHATWG-oriented 
editors have gained these past few years.

I ask, again, WHATWG-oriented editors, please maintain the w3c 
specifications, when you are making your changes.

-Charles
Received on Thursday, 8 September 2011 16:38:50 GMT

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