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Re: ACTION-78: Suggestion text for 1.5.4

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 14:40:24 -0800
Cc: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, public-html-request@w3.org
Message-id: <B63E0890-A897-4636-B57B-A46E940BD9A2@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@us.ibm.com>

On Jan 18, 2009, at 4:22 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> Reducing the scope of the context down to this specific action item:  
> Larry apparently *does* take deadlines seriously.  He has made a  
> serious proposal a specific replacement for this entire section,  
> namely a null string.  To date, he has obtained no objections.  In  
> fact, I read Maciej's email as being in support of this proposal[3].
>
Well, I thought that the benefits of open standards go without saying  
in an open standards specification, but Larry's recent email convinces  
me otherwise. Clearly the idea that standards-based technologies are  
better is controversial and perhaps even offensive in some quarters.  
The question is whether the HTML WG should express and reaffirm the  
W3C's commitment to open standards in the spec itself.

> So let me ask this: Is there *anybody* who *can't* *live* *with*  
> this proposal (namely removing section 1.5.4)?  If so, why not, and  
> what do you propose instead?
>
Since this isn't really a technical issue but just informative  
introductory material, applying the "can't live with" standard seems  
like a poor choice. Really it just amounts to ensuring that any  
introductory material doesn't offend anyone (presumably Larry "can't  
live with" keeping the section as-is for such reasons). On the one  
hand it seems reasonable to say the spec should stick to technical  
matters and not offer opinions that may offend somebody, which could  
be left to marketing materials. On the other hand, in this particular  
case, the opinions are aligned with the institutional positions of the  
groups involved in the spec (both W3C and WHATWG) and are part of the  
reason for the spec's existence. So it is objectively not reasonable  
to take offense if one does not object to HTML5 itself. And clearly  
the HTMLWG does not need to cater to people who would prefer that it  
not carry out its mission.

If we really want to decide whether the spec should call out the  
benefits of standards-based technologies as compared to vendor- 
specific technologies, why don't we have an informal survey to see how  
many people take offense, or don't care, or strongly prefer to retain  
language along these lines? That may not resolve the issue but it  
would at least make clear whether we are dealing with widespread  
sentiment or a single motivated heckler.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Monday, 19 January 2009 22:41:05 UTC

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