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Re: Design Principles, Section 1.6.1 relationship to HTML 4.01

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Mon, 01 Jun 2009 10:01:54 -0400
Message-ID: <4A23DF52.6030209@intertwingly.net>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> Hi Leif,
> 
> I hesitate to drag out this discussion. I note that at various times 
> I've gotten the following requests:
> 
> - Add disclaimers or clarifications to principles where it would be 
> wrong to apply them as absolute 100% of the time.
> - Remove disclaimers from principles because it is wrong to imply there 
> may be exceptions.
> - For any principle with exceptions or disclaimers, either state is as 
> absolute or remove the principle if it cannot be.
> - State principles as absolute even if they would seemingly conflict or 
> lead to wrong answers if taken as such; assume balancing of competing 
> concerns is external.
> - Place an overall giant disclaimer on the HTML Design Principles 
> document as a whole.
> 
> So, clearly, you can't please everyone. But given the feedback pushing 
> in opposite directions (sometimes even from the same people at different 
> times), I am inclined to think the current level of firmness is about 
> right. As long as the principles are not absolute to the point of clear 
> absurdity, or so couched in disclaimers that they are weasel-worded 
> fluff, then I see no cause for concern.

http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/policies#managing-dissent

"Groups SHOULD favor proposals that create the weakest objections."

As for me: I would very strongly object to an approach that states 
conflicting principles as absolute.  I would somewhat strongly object to 
an approach that does not permit exceptions if, in fact, the HTML 
document does not match the expectations set by the Design Principles. 
I would object to an approach publishes as a W3C Note a document that 
states that the entire document is rubbish and should be ignored.  Etc., 
etc., etc.

> Further, I don't think a lengthy discussion of absoluteness vs. 
> disclaimers would be very productive. In my opinion, the ideas 
> encapsulated in the principles are more useful and interesting than the 
> details of their wording. Admittedly, these ideas are not as useful as a 
> concrete specification. But they have given the group some shared 
> vocabulary to discuss various ideas, even if we do not always ultimately 
> agree.

Is it fair to observe that a document that purports to describe "a 
shared vocabulary to discuss various ideas" would attract weaker 
objections than a document that purports to describe "Design Principles"?

 From my point of view, a push to publish a Design Principles document 
as a formal W3C Note is a distraction.  To be clear, I am not saying 
that the Design Principles document itself isn't useful and interesting, 
but the effort to publish it as a Note means that the details of the 
wording is something that must be discussed.

If this is something upon which consensus can be obtained quickly, I'm 
inclined to suggest that we find a mechanism by which this discussion 
can be moved off to a separate mailing list that focuses on the precise 
wording, and ask that the group that is working on such report back here 
only on major events and substantive changes.

> Regards,
> Maciej

- Sam Ruby
Received on Monday, 1 June 2009 14:03:07 UTC

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