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Re: ACTION-95, ISSUE-65: Plan to publish a new WD of HTML-5

From: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 01:51:57 +0100
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <36F6CF26-59D7-44A2-BE45-11248F969E58@berjon.com>
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>

On Jan 30, 2009, at 01:27 , Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> Robin Berjon wrote:
>> On Jan 30, 2009, at 00:13 , Boris Zbarsky wrote:
>>> Robin Berjon wrote:
>>>> In the spirit of tiptoeing around the situation some more, I'd  
>>>> like to point out that Working Drafts are NEVER normative. Only  
>>>> Recommendations are.
>>>
>>> While true, a Working Draft is ipso facto something that is  
>>> intended to become a Recommendation if it gathers consensus.
>> As Karl explained, that is definitely not the case. Some WDs are  
>> taken off track, others simply become Notes. Notes are informative.  
>> That doesn't make them any less useful.
>
> The fact that a WG may end up deciding to take a WD off the REC  
> track and publish it as a NOTE, does not change the fact that a WD  
> claiming to be normative was at least developed with the intention  
> of reaching a REC.  In other words, the fact that the final outcome  
> may differ from intent, does not change the intent.

Hence my proposal to clarify that the WG is not in agreement as to the  
intent, which clearly leaves the WG free to make its mind up later  
while still publishing.

>> Would the chairs agree to a strawpoll about publishing the draft  
>> proviso it has a warning label stating (as Håkon dutifully pointed  
>> out) that its claims to normativity are subject to caution?
>
> I believe it would be more prudent to instead initially publish the  
> draft informatively as I believe there is less bureaucracy involved  
> with moving a WD, or even a NOTE, to the REC track than there is in  
> the reverse.  Additionally, it places the burden of proof upon those  
> who argue that it should be put on the REC track, rather than on  
> those of us against.

Stating that there is dissent places the burden of proof on the people  
who want something normative anyway (it is always on them). As the  
Process says,: "Consensus is not a prerequisite for approval to  
publish; the Working Group MAY request publication of a Working Draft  
even if it is unstable and does not meet all Working Group  
requirements."

As to bureaucracy it makes no difference. Indicating that we're in  
disagreement is more than enough. Also, Process is very clear that the  
next steps after an FPWD are either "Forward: Last Call announcement,  
generally done after a series of Working Drafts." or "Otherwise: end  
work".

I think it needs to be made excruciatingly clear that publishing an  
FPWD does NOT commit us to anything. And so long as we clearly  
indicate that we don't know what to do with the document yet, it also  
doesn't give our word to the community that we will be pursuing this  
document. We can simply put it out and see if people prefer it, quote  
from it more, etc.

Editors' Drafts are useful to see if your comments have been  
incorporated, and they're very useful in LC so you can see if your  
issues have been resolved, but really where it concerns FPWDs and WDs,  
there isn't a huge difference: it's just about having a specific  
revision you can comment about, and an announcement to make it clear  
you'd like feedback on some things (e.g. and whether the document  
should exist at all is one of those things).

-- 
Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/
     Feel like hiring me? Go to http://robineko.com/
Received on Friday, 30 January 2009 00:52:35 GMT

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