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

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2011 08:16:55 -0500
Message-ID: <4E6A11C7.30503@burningbird.net>
To: Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com>
CC: public-html-comments@w3.org

On 9/8/2011 11:38 AM, Charles Pritchard wrote:
> 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:

The intention with the Editing API was to leave it permanently out of 
the W3C. It was only when Apple objected to having to "fork" that the 
editor reluctantly decided to move it back to the W3C.

Then all of a sudden it became a decision for Google Legal, only, which 
is absurd.

The group made a commitment to a level of maturity of the document when 
they agreed to go to Last Call. As Wayne Carr put it in the HTML WG 
email. LC is not a trivial exercise, or just another document step[1].

Now, all of a sudden, entire pieces of the specification are being 
hacked off and placed who knows where.

> 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

But it is still taking material from a LC document, in an existing 
chartered group, and placing it into another document that has no 
seeming standing in any group within the W3C, and doing so, if I read 
the comment in the bug correctly, indifferently.

> 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.

It's an issue of professionalism. If the W3C doesn't care that people 
use handles instead of their names, I suppose I don't either...but it's 

> 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.

The WG isn't acting, it's just going through the motions.

> Many editors have spoken out, requesting a change in W3C policy. 
> They're looking for less policing.

I would expect to see maturity in a W3C working group. Some might call 
this "policing", but what we should expect from the W3C is a steady 
movement to stability of delivered product.

The HTML WG has had to develop an obsessive dependence on procedure, 
because the group is failing. It started to fail the very first day the 
group decided to adopt the WHATWG effort, without question, and appoint 
Ian Hickson as editor. It continued to fail when it didn't adopt another 
editor when the second, token editor quit.

There is no discussion anymore. The Accessibility group is off doing its 
thing, which is kind of sad, because most if not all that they'll 
recommend will get ignored.

The HTML5 specification is undergoing major change now, none of which is 
actually discussed in the HTML WG email list, most of which is hidden in 
Bugzilla. But then, most members of the HTML WG seemingly gave up 
months, even years ago.

I don't know what some consider "policing", but I would expect to see 
more from the W3C to ensure a level of stability--not less.

>> 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. 

Oh, there are power struggles (I followed along with the RDF group years 
ago), but there isn't this constant battle with having to fight another 
non-group seemingly bent on sabotaging the W3C's effort.

And agree, other groups are doing well, with a greater degree of 
cooperation and a united interest in developing a sane specification.

But, as we've seen, the W3C can't depend on the behavior of the members 
of the group to ensure the group progresses.

> That said, HTML5, Canvas 2d and DOM4, are suffering.
> And yes, those are very prominent specifications.

Because the W3C can't deal with a situation where the people aren't 
cooperating--especially when some of the people who aren't cooperating 
are from browser companies.

But it is with efforts such as these that we need the W3C to assert some 
sanity...not adopt a hands off attitude as the effort crumbles.

> 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.

That's a good point, but with the HTML5 spec, at least, there is no 
longer a defense for the interests of all communities impacted by HTML.

> 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.

I have not seen it in two years. Two years.

No, I no longer believe it.

> 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.

Charles, I didn't even know there was a specification fork for Canvas, 
I'm sorry. I've been so caught up with the HTML5 spec, itself. Where is 
this fork?

> 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.

You know, I'm no so sure.

The infrastructure of the web is more in a state of chaos then growth, 
now. The efforts seem to be more targeted to a small group of 
like-minded individuals, than the web community at large. The 
accessibility folks have been especially treated with disdain, which I 
find disquieting. And the world at large is burned out on the contention 
between the W3C and the WHATWG.

Most of the WHATWG effort seems to be focused more on creating a new 
generation of browser wars, then building the web.

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

I echo your statement, except I address it more towards the W3C.

W3C, fix this mess.


> -Charles
Received on Friday, 9 September 2011 13:17:21 UTC

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