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Re: microdata use cases and Getting data out of poorly written Web pages

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Sat, 09 May 2009 00:51:43 -0400
Message-ID: <4A050BDF.6040404@intertwingly.net>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>, public-html@w3.org
Ian Hickson wrote:
> 
>>> Whether further discussion would be a waste of time depends on what is 
>>> discussed, obviously. In general I am always open to changing my mind 
>>> when faced with new information. In the context of the W3C HTML WG, 
>>> what I write into the HTML5 spec is but a first draft proposal, our 
>>> process requires that the working group have consensus on a topic 
>>> before it can be considered "closed".
>> How is the item proposed for group discussion? How is consensus 
>> recorded?
> 
> I will let the chairs respond to these process questions.

At the ASF, we have two ways of operating (and, yes, I'll get to the 
point quickly enough, I just ask that you both indulge me for a moment). 
  The first is called Review Then Commit (RTC) where proposals are 
discussed, consensus is reached, and the committed.  In my experience, 
that's the way most standards organizations aspire to operate.

The other way is referred to as Commit Then Review (CTR).  While it does 
mean that at times what is in Subversion does not reflect consensus, one 
can not conclude that that means that what is ultimately released does 
not enjoy consensus.  To the contrary, releases at the ASF routinely 
enjoy consensus, and even those that do not represent absolute consensus 
do enjoy substantial support.

For better or worse, the HTML WG is operating under a CTR process.  As 
far as I'm concerned, no attempt has been made to assess consensus on 
any part of the current draft, at least not to my satisfaction.  That 
does not mean that such assessment of consensus can't be obtained rather 
quickly in many areas, in fact, I'd suggest that it can.

I joined this working group as co-chair with a number of personal goals. 
  The first two I'll characterize as "no excuse not to", and the 
subgoals were to significantly reduce the hostile working environment 
that existed in public-html at the time and to provide anybody and 
everybody who wished to an opportunity to pursue alternative proposals.

Shelley once referred to this as "put up or shut up", and I will admit 
that there is an element of truth to this.  I will, however, point out 
that as we move from spring to summer to fall, if it continues to be the 
state that absolutely nobody is willing to step forward, then that is 
something that I will take into consideration.

My third and final personal goal was to assess consensus.  As to the 
order in which we assess consensus, I have every intention of being 
opportunistic -- taking the low hanging fruit when it is offered, and 
taking on topics when the topic of conversation is naturally occurring 
anyway.  For a number of reasons (including the discussions about 
merging with XHTML2), the topic du jour is RDFa.  In April, I was 
assured that this would be done in April.  Earlier this week, I was 
assured that it would be done by the end of the week.  Both estimates 
appear to be optimistic.  But as long as there is reasonable expectation 
of progress, I'm still OK with that -- for the moment.

It appears that Ian is on the cusp of making a proposal.  It may turn 
out to be something that people can live with, and if so, I'll be glad 
to declare consensus (with Chris's concurrence, of course) and move on. 
  If not, people will have ample opportunity to discuss it with Ian 
and/or develop alternative proposals.  If all of the above fail, I will 
simply ask that Ian take his proposal out of the draft.  Note: that 
won't be a suggestion to replace it with RDFa or anything else, it will 
be to simply take it out.  Because in the final analysis, my personal 
bar is a fairly low one: have the working group produce a spec which is 
widely recognized as being better than HTML4.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Saturday, 9 May 2009 04:52:13 GMT

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