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Re: Design Principles, Section 1.6.1 relationship to HTML 4.01

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 01 Jun 2009 07:48:54 -0700
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>
Message-id: <D8F17380-8B1F-43BA-BE4B-FFE0F9347BA7@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>

On Jun 1, 2009, at 7:03 AM, Sam Ruby wrote:

>
> 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.

It's certainly the intent to land between those rather wide goalposts.

>
>> 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"?

It's not clear to me if that is the case. I think such a recasting  
could reduce the usefulness of the document. I note also that this  
observation could lead to the kind of distracting discussion about  
wording that you decry below, so I'll refrain from replying in detail.

> 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.

It seems that we are obligated to publish it as a Working Group Note  
by the Process (something I wasn't aware of when the document was  
first proposed for FPWD). Fortunately a Note doesn't have to have  
consensus (other than consensus to stop work), so at some point we can  
just stop discussion and publish.

> 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.


Honestly, I think that may be more attention than the wording  
deserves. Looking back on this 213-message thread(*), I don't see a  
lot of increase in shared understanding, or concrete suggestions for  
the document. I also see that you did not issue guidance to any of the  
more frequent and repetitive posters on this thread, as you sometimes  
do by way of moderation. I am not sure the thread would have been more  
useful if it occurred on another mailing list, especially if no one  
were there to moderate at all.

Regards,
Maciej

* - As counted by my mail client, which includes some but not all of  
the retitled side threads.
Received on Monday, 1 June 2009 14:51:55 GMT

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