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Working Group Decision on ISSUE-125 charset-vs-quotes

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 11:13:22 -0400
Message-ID: <4D7F8212.2000709@intertwingly.net>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
The decision follows.  The chairs made an effort to explicitly address
all arguments presented in the Change Proposals on this topic in
addition to arguments posted as objections in the poll.

*** Question before the Working Group ***

There is a basic disagreement in the group as to what algorithm should
be specified for parsing quotes in Content-Type headers in "meta"
elements, and furthermore there is a disagreement as to whether or not
this constitutes a "willful violation" of the HTTP specification.  The
result was an issue, two change proposals, and a straw poll for
objections:

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/125
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Jan/0300.html
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Jan/0337.html
http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/issue-125-objection-poll/results

== Uncontested observations:

Both of these observations are direct and unrefuted quotes.  The first
is from the change proposal to say this is a distinct algorithm from
HTTP:

  * "Willful violations" should be restricted to cases where they are
    actually needed in practice. Evidence shows this is not the case here.

The second is from a response to the survey, from the author of the
proposal to change the algorithm:

  * Microsoft has changed their behavior in IE9RC, so it seems there's
    implementor consensus about this.

Neither of these were decisive.  There were people who supported either
of the change proposals even after taking these facts into
consideration.  In the cases where they were acknowledged up front, this
acknowledgement was appreciated.

=== Objections

While not decisive, the fact that there now is implementor consensus is
significant.  This has lead to a number of objections from implementors
on changing this behavior.  While not as strong of an objection as it
would have been if a number of sites had been identified which would be
broken by any change to this behavior, these objections are found to be
fairly strong.

Allowing for the uncontested observations, what remains of the
objections to the proposal to say this is a distinct algorithm from HTTP
Content-Type processing is the following:

   "UAs can use consistent parsing rules for things that are specified to
   use the HTTP parameter ABNF."

Lacking any metrics (number of implementors, size of the change
required) this is at best a weak objection raised on behalf of others
that are fully capable of speaking for themselves.

Additionally, in a response to the survey it is asserted that the
proposed replacement algorithm does not precisely match the media-type
production in RFC 2616.  We did not evaluate that claim as it would only
have resulted in an additional objection against the proposed change
while simultaneously weakening the objection based on the need to
maintain two separate parsing rules.

*** Decision of the Working Group ***

Therefore, the HTML Working Group hereby adopts the Change Proposal to
change the note after "algorithm for extracting an encoding from
a Content-Type" to not mention HTTP.  Of the Change Proposals
before us, this one has drawn the weaker objections.

== Next Steps ==

Bug 10805 is to be REOPENED and marked as WGDecision.

Since the prevailing Change Proposal does call for a spec change, the
editor is hereby directed to make the changes in accordance to the
change proposal.  Once those changes are made, ISSUE-125 is to be marked
CLOSED.

== Appealing this Decision ==

If anyone strongly disagrees with the content of the decision and would
like to raise a Formal Objection, they may do so at this time. Formal
Objections are reviewed by the Director in consultation with the Team.
Ordinarily, Formal Objections are only reviewed as part of a transition
request.

== Revisiting this Issue ==

This issue can be reopened if new information come up.  An example of
possible relevant new information include:

* Identification of a significant number of deployed sites that would
   be affected by this change.
Received on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 15:13:54 UTC

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