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Re: some thoughts on objections to publishing ""HTML 5 differences from HTML 4"

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 15:33:03 -0500
Message-Id: <5D21355B-1703-491B-8904-6491A3FCC702@robburns.com>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>

On Jun 29, 2007, at 12:41 PM, Dan Connolly wrote:

> I note some objections to my proposal to publish the
> differences document.
>  http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/trdiff/results
> First, a "No, disagree" response says
> "Rationale based on design principles, for each and every
> dropped/added/changed element and attribute should be supplied."
> Well, perhaps it should. By all means, please do provide it.
> But until you do, to argue against publication because it hasn't been
> provided isn't helpful. Karl, Anne, you might add a note
> in the status section that more rationale is under discussion.

Dan, I think this response is way too dismissive of the concerns  
raised in this and other objections. Basically, most of us on the WG  
are in the dark. This document does not reflect the work of this WG.  
So those of us asking for the "differences note" to reflect the  
rationale are asking because we don't know. We can't possibly offer  
proposed changes to the text if we don't have a clue. And the fact  
that we don't have a clue speaks volumes about how this document does  
not at all reflect the work of the WG.

And as I've said before, if it's only to meet the heartbeat  
requirement than it makes so much more sense to publish the "design  
principles" since that's the best place to start and I think many of  
us on the WG would find stronger agreement with that document in its  
current state..

> I am quite sympathetic to...
> "In order to apply consistent decision making throughout the
> specification, it is critical to come to consensus on the design
> principles."
> By all means, please contribute to the design principles text(s).
> But I don't understand this as an argument against publishing
> the difference document.
> Another response goes further and formally objects:
> "it is unconscionable that the HTML WG should release a vastly  
> different
> draft in toto without first outlining and cementing our design
> principles."
> Various people have outlined design principles, and I am doing
> what I can to cement them (with a W3C staff position* still
> not filled and my co-chair on holiday). You're welcome to help.
> But objecting to publication of the differences document isn't  
> helpful.

Again, I think proposing to publish a "differences" document when the  
WG has not even reviewed the draft of the spec (which we're scheduled  
to do over the next few weeks) is putting the cart way before the horse.

> Another objection goes a little further...
> "As per the Formal Objection Guidelines[2]I propose that the "HTML 5
> differences from HTML 4" document be modified to clearly indicate the
> rationales for dropping the attributes in question and their status as
> being open issues, both in "1.1. Open Issues" and in "3.6. Dropped
> Attributes" section."
> But I don't see any suggested text for the proposed rationale.

We WG members are in the dark about the rationale, ,which is further  
evidence that we're trying to publish a document to meet the  
heartbeat requirement when the proposed document does not represent  
the work of this WG. That's like hooking the heart monitor up to the  
neighboring patient to a another patient and saying look: this  
patient has a healthy heart. Well the first thing I'd ask is for you  
to actually connect the heart monitor to the patient we're talking  
about. But you can't respond with: " but this fulfills the heartbeat  
monitor requirement" (if I'm not pushing the metaphor too far).

In conclusion, I don't think any of us want to turn this into some  
sort of process war. And as I've said before, I'm not sure what  
"sides" are being taken here (I'm probably just naive). But what  
we're looking for is just a stronger sense that the chair is acting  
impartially and taking the members of the WG seriously. I think  
rushing to publish the "differences" document without any substantive  
work by the WG only damages the prospects for HTML5. The  
misunderstandings of the members of the WG will only be multiplied  
significantly when the public reads this. If we can't communicate  
what "dropped" means within our own WG, how can we possibly imagine  
that this  document will adequately communicate ideas like that to  
the broader public.

I haven't yet responded to the questionnaire, but I expect to include  
much of these sentiments in my response. My hope is that even those  
advocating for this rushed publication will see that it will only  
create confusion about HTML5.  First impressions are important.

Take care,
Received on Friday, 29 June 2007 20:33:18 UTC

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