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Re: Change Proposals and Counter-Proposals (was Re: Issues 89 through 97)

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2010 18:44:08 -0600
Message-ID: <dd0fbad1001181644w674f3d17s340171bd4cb00a93@mail.gmail.com>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>
On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 6:31 PM, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com> wrote:
> If you all think the spec is good, you shouldn't be reluctant to
> provide a rationale for why its good.

Of course I should be reluctant.  It's time out of my day that I could
be spending more usefully if someone never writes a change proposal
and the issue times out.

> If a rationale has been given in
> the past, I imagine that a counter proposal can consist of a copy and
> paste of the prior rationale, or even just a link to the rationale.

You imagine incorrectly, and the very limited history of counter
proposals the group has seen thus far illustrates that directly.  If
one is going to the effort of writing up something at all, it's
worthwhile to do a proper summarization.

If a mere link to the rationale was sufficient, then there would be no
reason to write a counter proposal in the first place.

> If
> no rationale has been given, then frankly the rationale for the spec
> text is far overdue, and there's no harm in providing it. In fact,
> giving the rational may help the group to discover that they have
> misunderstood the spec text, as has happened with the hidden element.

There are benefits to explaining the rationale behind parts of the
spec.  That does not mean that the working group should be obligated
to explain every single part of the spec just because someone requests
it.

> Neither case requires waiting on me for me to write my change proposal
> first. We all have time during the discussion to update our change
> proposals, based on what others say.
>
> The current Decision Process does not have a step in it that allows
> for a counter-proposal, triggered by a person submitting a Change
> Proposal. As Sam stated, if you have time problems, are sick, the work
> is complex and takes times, the co-chairs do have the leverage to give
> an extension in time. But, as Sam also stated, your just wanting to
> see what I write, first, is not a legitimate reason for an extension
> (correct me if I'm wrong on these, Sam).

I continue to maintain that, yes, it is a legitimate reason.
Otherwise either (a) no one writes a counter proposal, and an unworthy
change proposal receives more attention than it deserves, possibly
being accepted when it wouldn't have otherwise been, or (b) someone
writes a counter proposal to every issue, even ones that end up timing
out or having an obviously weak or frivolous change proposal.

Don't get me wrong; in an ideal world, where every change proposal was
sincere and worthwhile, then it would be nice to receive a full
justification of each part of the spec whenever someone didn't
understand the rationale behind something.  We do not live in an ideal
world, however, and people will sometimes abuse processes out of
stupidity or maliciousness.  Defending against these situations is
worthwhile.

~TJ
Received on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 00:45:00 UTC

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