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Re: CfC: Publish HTML5 Microdata as First Public Working Draft and a new HTML5 Working Draft

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 12:41:10 -0500
Message-ID: <4B4CB436.7010209@intertwingly.net>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, HTML WG Public List <public-html@w3.org>
Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> 
> On Jan 11, 2010, at 6:17 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> 
>>
>> One possible compromise would be to have a WG decision that we publish it
>> independently for now, but established clear objective criteria under
>> which the spec would automatically become a part of the main HTML5 spec
>> again. For example, we could say that if three browsers with more than 1%
>> usage share according to the Wikipedia "Usage share of web browsers" pie
>> chart each shipped support for the Microdata API in their consumer 
>> release
>> builds, that we would automatically add the feature back in. Or we could
>> find some metric based on large sites publishing data using Microdata, or
>> something else.
> 
> I thought about this proposal and I have a few comments:
> 
> 1) It would have been useful to have this proposal on the table before 
> the decision was made, as it would have opened up additional 
> possibilities in the solution space. I would like to entertain this 
> notion. But now that the WG Decision has been entered, it's hard for me 
> to treat it as anything but an attempt to reopen without new 
> information. I will ask my co-chairs if in their judgment the suggestion 
> itself constitutes new information. I would like to give it 
> consideration, but I don't see how that's possible in the W3C Process. 
> And I think it would undermine the finality of decisions.

The WG Decision[1] already states the next steps, including appeal and 
revisit.  There is no provision for automatic reversing.  As you say in 
point 3 below, the most that can ever be guaranteed is the discussion 
will be re-opened should the cited new information be provided.

> 2) We do already have a WG Decision that Microdata will be published 
> independently. While I am not personally picky about the title, I think 
> attempting to directly and blatantly present Microdata as "an integral 
> part of HTML5" is not compliant with the spirit of the decision. It 
> shouldn't have to be a fresh negotiating point to actually implement the 
> decision.

I'll go further: every feature not covered by a WG decision is 
provisional.  <datagrid> went poof one day, and without a complaint. 
Nothing is guaranteed at this point.

That being said, I have no problem with Microdata being considered as a 
potential candidate as an "other applicable specification" as described 
in section 3.2.1.

> 3) If Microdata does gain a great deal more market success (and I 
> personally hope it will), then per the decision itself that would 
> constitute a reason to reopen the issue. But I don't think the Working 
> Group can precommit to a specific quantitative threshold for reversing 
> the decision. Making firm decisions based on hypothetical future facts 
> does not seem like a good idea. Furthermore, it's not just the numbers 
> that matter but the context. For example, if Microdata use grows 
> tenfold, that would be pretty impressive, but if RDFa usage grows a 
> hundredfold in the same time period, then Microdata's growth would look 
> less impressive. I think we've been pretty consistent in not 
> precommitting the group to future decisions based on conditions that do 
> not yet exist.

+1

> 4) I think it's somewhat silly to make a last stand over whether the 
> digit "5" appears in the title. For people who are not fully happy with 
> the split (and that includes myself to some extent), I think most feel 
> that just in the separation, whatever damage is feared has been done. 
> And it's not going to be somehow reversed through clever choice of 
> titles or SotD wording. Please let's just accept this decision and move 
> on instead of dragging it out. What Microdata needs now is 
> implementation, deployment, and advocacy. I will personally be doing 
> what I can to help Microdata succeed on these fronts.

I have no opinion on the title; my leanings are that the titling could 
be something that we solicit feedback on -- which is the purpose of 
publishing Working Drafts.

[I will note that RDFa is expressedly intended to work with documents 
with the HTML4 doctype, and my recollection was that that was a key 
consideration in the titling of that Working Draft]

>> The point is that if the reason for excluding Microdata from HTML5 really
>> is that it isn't mature nor a market success yet, then that should mean
>> that we can agree that if it becomes mature and a market success, it
>> should become part of HTML5 again. And if we do agree on that, we should
>> decide on objective criteria now, so that we don't move the goalposts 
>> later.
> 
> Note that these criteria were applied both in absolute terms and 
> relative to RDFa. This makes it well nigh impossible to set a 
> quantitative threshold. My feeling is that if facts on the ground truly 
> do invalidate the basis of the decision, it will be reconsidered in good 
> faith.

What bothers me about this discussion is that it appears to be based on 
the presumption that "other applicable specifications" as described in 
section 3.2.1 are somehow second class citizens.

> Regards,
> Maciej

- Sam Ruby

[1] 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jan/att-0218/issue-76-decision.html
Received on Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:41:43 GMT

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