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Re: Request for editing guidance

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 09:13:10 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTinfgdvioXWQ01WxBO_8SMQQJOjhWXX6kY4PdrgY@mail.gmail.com>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 4:34 AM, Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 09 Jun 2010 04:21:35 +0200, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:
>> So that we can keep the specification coherent, I feel it is important
>> that decisions be applied consistently. For example, if we removed all the
>> words with the letter "z" in one section, on the basis that the
>> letter "z" is bad, then it would be inconsistent to not apply that rule
>> to the rest of the spec, removing all the words with the letter "z".
>
> This would make sense if everything were done for exactly one reason. But
> that simply isn't the case, unless you accept "Ian decided this was best"
> as the definitive rationale for everything. While I have a great deal of
> respect for your understanding of the Web, and your hard work and good
> intentions, I don't consider that the best decision process for HTML 5.
>
> Many decisions have some political aspects, some technical aspects, are
> some part based on "facts on the ground" which are being created and
> re-created by various implementations, some part based on what we
> *believe* authors and implementors will think makes sense, or what they
> will do more or less naturally, and often some part completely arbitrary
> decision about what colour the bike shed should be. Pretending that there
> is some completely consistent mechanical approach to deciding what is in
> and out denigrates the role played by the participants in the various
> discussions, and even more so your central role in so many of the
> decisions, to the level of brainless automata, and would be misleading to
> the point of dishonesty.

"Arbitrary" and "without any human input whatsoever" are not the only
two choices.

I was on the "winning" side of several of the most recent issue
decisions.  However, I'm still fairly unhappy with the result.  While
I *still* haven't gotten a straight answer about it, it appears that
the decision method was "whatever seems to have the lowest chance of
causing a Formal Objection later on".  This is far removed from
"whatever seems to be the best choice for users, authors,
implementors, and the web in general".  If this is indeed the decision
process used, then it's a glorified straw poll, and we should admit
such rather than wasting frankly ridiculous amounts of time and effort
pretending that technical arguments actually matter.

At this point I'm wondering if just threating an FO on every decision
I disagree with would be a better use of my time.  It would certainly
be easier than actually gathering arguments and attempting to cogently
present them.  It might have a better chance of actually succeeding,
too (unless the decision process changes again and actually values the
technical merit of an argument, which appears to make this strategy a
win/win for me).

~TJ
Received on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 16:14:15 GMT

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