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title (editorial) to scope (technical)

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 12:26:07 -0700
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8B62A039C620904E92F1233570534C9B0118CD95E8E7@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>
(resending; sent this earlier but didn't show up in archives?)

It's clearer to me now that the issue we've been discussing about
the title and front matter of the document -- which seem like
they might be editorial -- are more properly raised as the
technical issue of the scope of applicability of the document.

The request to rename the document seems really to be a request
to narrow the claimed scope of applicability.

However, the group is not chartered to produce a document of
narrower scope, and the document purports to be applicable to
all HTML processors.

Taking the technical issue of document scope and casting it
as an editorial issue of document title has seemed rude.

I don't think it is within the charter of the working group to
produce a document of narrower scope than a full definition
of HTML as a markup language, and that we should stop pursuing
ways of describing a narrower scope. 

Rather, if there are ways in which the document is unsuitable
for some classes of applications, we should fix them.

The discussion about "HTML interpreter" vs "HTML User Agent"
is another example of the discussion about document scope --
conformance requirements need to be clear about the scope
of applications they apply to. Requirements to present something
to "the user" or ask "the user" for judgement should be
restricted to those applications which have an identifiable
"user", for exmaple.

Now, I remember distinctly that at the TPAC, someone in the room
asserted that (and I think I'm quoting literally), "all that
mattered" were the "four major browsers", with the implication
that other HTML applications, and other categories of HTML
applications, didn't count. I didn't hear anyone else objecting
to this assertion.  And the perspective makes a good deal of
sense, actually. If the "four major browsers" can establish
uniform behavior, it establishes a baseline of  interoperability
on top of which additional new features can be added. Without
interoperability at the baseline of browsers, content will 
be stuck in a "best viewed by" world.

I think, though, going forward, I'd like to stop talking about
the "title" or the intended scope of the document. Let's accept
that the required scope is "all HTML processors" and fix the
things that are inappropriate for the broader scope. In some
cases, the fix could be to take a requirement that is currently
written as applying to all HTML processors and to narrow the
scope of the requirement.

In any case, I hope we can proceed on discussion of document
scope without having the discussion personified.

Regards,

Larry
-- 
http://larry.masinter.net

Received on Thursday, 28 May 2009 19:26:48 GMT

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