W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2007

How to productively contribute

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 21:53:17 +0000 (UTC)
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.0706262136570.14519@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>


Don't argue, research!

A lot of the threads on this list seem to consist of arguments of the type 
"we should not do this!" "we should not do that!" "that's stupid!".

Such arguments will have no effect on anything. You're not going to 
convince the people who disagree with you by telling them they are wrong, 
even if they _are_ wrong, and you are not going to have the slightest 
effect on how the specification is edited.

For example, the style="" attribute issue. What we really need here is 
solid research into the various use cases for the style="" attribute, its 
dangers, how it's used, what other features currently exist that might be 
better, what semantics are usually conveyed with the style="" attribute, 
ideas for alternative ways of doing those things, comparisons between 
those ways and the style="" attribute, and so forth.

What we do NOT need is e-mails that do not contain any use cases, or any 
explanations of what problems authors are faced with, and that contain 
rhetorical questions, people "insisting" that certain changes be made, and 
so forth.

The same thing applies to *all* arguments about whether a feature should 
or should not be included in the spec, be it an API, an accessibility 
concern, an internationalisation concern, you name it.

All this data should be carefully summarised and transcribed onto the Wiki 
or other issue system, as described here:

   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Jun/0003.html

This will allow Hyatt and myself to make educated, neutral decisions and 
will let us update the specification in the way that best benefits the 
entire Web community.

If all you are doing is arguing back and forth without doing unbiased 
research, trying to convince your fellow mailing list posters without 
actually recording the points put forward by both sides in a neutral 
fashion, then ALL YOUR TIME WILL GO TO WASTE. Hyatt and I are not going to 
go back and read the 1500 messages per month that are sent to this list 
when we come to fix the spec. We are going to base our edits on what 
information we find in the wiki. If the information in the wiki is 
missing, misleading, or biased, then we'll have to just do what we think 
is best instead, which is likely to be misinformed.

Consider that for every opinion you may have, there is bound to be someone 
with the opposite opinion who can shout it louder and longer. It doesn't 
matter what your opinion is (or what my opinion is, or what Hyatt's 
opinion is, or what Dan's opinion is). There is no point canvasing for 
support for an idea. Proposals and features have to stand on their merits.

Please help us do the right thing here.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 26 June 2007 21:53:28 GMT

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