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Re: The harm that can come if the W3C supports publication of competing specs

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 08:02:44 -0600
Message-ID: <643cc0271001170602x9ce1106p4b2aec964caed5cb@mail.gmail.com>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@mit.edu>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 4:14 AM, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de> wrote:
> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> On Jan 16, 2010, at 12:03 PM, Boris Zbarsky wrote:
>>> I do think we should make it abundantly clear for ALL our FPWDs that they
>>> are NOT recommendations, NOT necessarily calls for implementation and NOT
>>> "standards".  This has been a major issue of confusion in the past with all
>>> sorts of half-baked W3C stuff, whether it competes with other W3C stuff or
>>> not.
>> I agree. The Chairs are working on updating the Working Group's home page.
>> One thing I want to see is a list of all our active publications, and a
>> clear indication of their status. Filed
>> <http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=8770>. Anyone else should
>> feel free to file bugs against our Web site.
>> Regards,
>> Maciej
>> P.S. I'm letting this thread continue for now, since it affects a pending
>> decision. But I'm asking everyone to be extra careful not to devolve into
>> flaming, since this can be a touchy topic. Please, everyone, try to avoid
>> undue repetition or anything that shades into personal attacks.
> First of all, I'm glad that the discussion about using Metadata in Mediawiki
> is happening; that's a very interesting email thread to follow.
> One thing that came up immediately is that a big factor for the complexity
> of the additional markup is the choice of the vocabulary. If you can use a
> vocabulary optimized for your use case then you won't have to mix terms from
> different ones. But this is true for both Microdata and RDFa, so it appears
> it would be good to consider these orthogonal issues.
> That being said, and coming back to the main topic of *this* thread - here's
> a mail that may be relevant to the question how the HTML WG should treat
> Microdata:
> <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2010-January/046395.html>
> Best regards, Julian

That's an interesting comment. I also think the comment about Ian
being the only person who decides on what happens to HTML5 at the
WhatWG is an interesting comment, too.

If the WhatWG wants to assume complete ownership of Microdata, then I
don't understand why the group is interested in publishing it as a
FPWD here at the W3C. The WhatWG needs to make up its collective--or
is that singular?--mind.

I also though another email was interesting[1], for the following
comment, which just supports my original concerns:

"I think that it would be foolish beyond belief to encourage editors to
divert their volunteer time to implementing a system that could turn out to
be totally anachronistic within two years; and while I think it's a laudable
long-term goal I think it would thus be very silly to let editors insert
*either* format directly into wikitext at this point, or for a good year to
come.  By far the top priority should be implementing structures by which
MediaWiki can *collect* semantic data.  If we implement a {{COPYRIGHT:...}}
parser function, or a metadata form, or (as I've been musing over for a
while) a Category-esque system that wasn't based on wikitext and so which
could have a fine-grained permissions interface; we create a feature that is
useful whatever happens in the metadata world.  We can implement RDFa with
that data, microdata, both, neither or something else entirely.  We could
certainly expose it through our own API.  Whatever happens, editor work is
not wasted.

TLDR version: jumping on either bandwagon is neither necessary nor sensible,
and we should avoid getting drawn into the issue.  Implementing either of
the proposed methods in raw wikitext actively defeats one of the purposes of
MediaWiki: to make it as easy for anyone to edit stuff.  It would need to be
carefully thought through, and there's no point putting that effort in until
we know which format has come out on top.  Adding metadata to MW's own stuff
is much easier, but its groundwork should be format-independent."

This is a very sensible response.

Regardless of what the WhatWG, urh, "group" decides, I think we, the
W3C HTML WG need to be wary of encouraging the use of a specification
that is not only immature, but one in which promises are being made,
which either can't be kept (if Microdata continues in the W3C), or
shouldn't be kept (if Microdata continues solely as a WhatWG
publication), because Microdata has never been truly tested,
implemented, or used.


[1] http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2010-January/046392.html
Received on Sunday, 17 January 2010 14:03:17 UTC

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