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Working Group Decision on ISSUE-127 link-type-flags

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2011 10:19:35 -0400
Message-ID: <4D84BB77.8070306@intertwingly.net>
To: HTMLWG 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 whether or not
attributes on <link> and <a> elements can have different effects.  The
result was an issue, two change proposals, and a survey:

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/127
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Nov/0139.html
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Nov/0195.html
http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/issue-127-objection-poll/results

=== Evaluation of objections

We find the following objection to be strong:

   "There are existing HTML rel values that have different behavior on
   <link> versus <a>. This degree of freedom is actually needed for
   several defined link relations, namely those that impact the loading
   of external resources when used on <link> but not on <a>."

Additionally, objections were found on the proposed change being
considered less legible, and the lack of use cases for changes that
would make relationship values interchangeable between elements.

As such, we turned to evaluate objections made against the change
proposal to have separate tables for separate elements or groups of
elements.

What we found was the single objection of "consistency with link
relations in other contexts".  In looking for substantiation of this
claim, we ended up agreeing with the following observation made on the
survey:

   "No explanation is given for why the change would increase
   consistency with link relations in other contexts. HTTP and Atom are
   mentioned, but no explanation is given of how link relations are
   treated by HTTP or Atom, or what relevance the proposed change has.
   Since the proposed change would (by the proposer's own admission)
   have no impact on how any of the link relations in HTML function, and
   is merely a change to how the existing functionality is presented,
   it's hard to imagine how it could improve consistency with anything."

Lacking substantiation, we find this objection to be weak.

*** Decision of the Working Group ***

Therefore, the HTML Working Group hereby adopts the Change Proposal to
"optimize the spec's editorial style for legibility".  Of the Change
Proposals before us, this one has drawn the weaker objections.

== Next Steps ==

Bug 10644 is to be CLOSED and marked as WGDecision.

Since the prevailing Change Proposal does not call for a spec change, no
further action is required.

== 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:

* In the event that the spec proposes actual, material differences
   between the semantics of link types on <link> and <a> elements that
   negatively affect real world use cases, then bugs can be filed on
   those differences at that time.  Once those bugs are resolved, the
   option of escalation is available.

Additionally, we agree with the following observation:

   "The Change Proposal claims that distinguishing between rel values on
   <link> and on <a> conflicts with the goal of convergence with HTTP
   and Atom link relations. This goal does not (yet) have consensus in
   the Working Group, and is part of ISSUE-27."

Effectively what that means is that nothing in this decision should be
taken in any way as an indication that we will consider bug reports on 
any changes to be made as a result of a  ISSUE-27 decision simply on the
basis that they might conflict with this decision.

Additionally, it is possible that a reversal of a decision on ISSUE-124
(rel-limits) could eliminate what was found to be the strongest
objection.

== Arguments not considered

The following arguments were not considered for the reason specified:

   "Removal of an unused degree of freedom in defining link relations"
   and "an intended effect to future, yet-to-be-defined link relations"

We only evaluate concrete proposals relating to specific issues that
affect the text of the document.

   "continue to give the editor discretion on such purely editorial
   matters." and "should be left up to editorial discretion"

We evaluate all concrete proposals relating to specific issues that
affect the text of the document, whether or not the issues relate to
matters considered "editorial" by some.

   There is no "goal to make link relations handling inside HTML
   consistent with link relations in other contexts".

We evaluate all concrete proposals relating to specific issues that
affect the text of the document, independent of the specific goals of
various participants.  In this particular case, some may in fact have
that goal, others may not.  What we evaluate is the strength of the
objections.
Received on Saturday, 19 March 2011 14:20:11 UTC

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