W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org > July 2009

Re: A proposal for establishing an RDFa IG

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 08:10:50 -0400
Message-ID: <4A572FCA.40107@intertwingly.net>
To: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
CC: RDFa Developers <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Manu Sporny wrote:
> Sam Ruby wrote:
>> Manu Sporny wrote:
>>> You're opposing a concept that not one of us have put forward... the
>>> purpose of the RDFa IG is so that we /can/ work together... not so we
>>> can go off into our own little world and give people "advice".
>>>
>>> The RDFa IG would have a direct hand in editing each language/WG using
>>> RDFa - that is, if the WG wishes to work with us. Personally, I was in
>>> agreement with a number of the constraints that you and Doug placed on
>>> the RDFa IG.
>> I like the word "would" above (much better than "perhaps" from emails
>> past, and it was the proposal in those emails that I object to).
> 
> Good, then let's use the word "would".
> 
>> In this email, I have issues with the words /can/ and "us".
>>
>> Help me do the math.  Mark Birbeck is a member of the HTML working
>> group.  I suspect that if he expressed even the slightest bit of
>> interest, Doug would induct him into the SVG working group before he had
>> an opportunity to change his mind.  Let's further posit that he is
>> interested in doing some of this work (in fact, I picked Mark's name
>> because it is listed first on [1])...
>>
>> Lets look first at the word /can/.  From this, I can only conclude that
>> you and Ben believe that it would not be possible for Mark to do this
>> work without a separate IG.  I am curious as to why you might believe
>> that.  Any reason I can figure out ends up being one that I would object
>> to.
> 
> Ben and I have slightly different opinions on how to proceed, as do
> Shane, Mark, Ralph and Steven. We're feeling this out publicly before
> proceeding to allow everyone the opportunity to provide feedback on a
> direction that would best optimize everybody's very constrained
> schedules and time. You're the one that asked if you could do anything
> to help, I responded with a proposal, and here we are... discussing the
> possibilities in an open forum.
> 
> As far as I am concerned, it would be /easier/ for Mark and the rest of
> us to carry out the work in a separate IG. We /could/ do it in HTML WG -
> but there have been concerns raised about whether that is the correct
> framing for the RDFa work since it involves not just HTMLWG, but SVGWG
> and WHATWG (and ODF).
> 
>>From my understanding, the RDFa Task Force evaporates at the end of the
> year and it would be nice if we had a "home base" of sorts that could
> coordinate RDFa among the various WGs listed above.
> 
> It's not a matter of "not possible" - it's a matter of "best mode" or
> "ideal framework". As you allude to below - we only have so many hours
> that we can volunteer our time. Unless somebody would like to pay us to
> do this standards work (which would not only be appreciated, but would
> accelerate the work), we're stuck trying to scrap together bits and
> pieces of time to donate to W3C. All this while attempting to keep our
> respective companies afloat in this tumultuous economy.
> 
> I don't want to waste my time working on RDFa in the HTML WG only to
> find out that our hands are tied by W3C process when attempting to port
> the work to SVG. Or finding out that HTML WG's mission has changed due
> to another XHTML2-like event.
> 
> For a long time we could not work on HTML+RDFa because we weren't
> chartered to do so - in fact, we still aren't. We're just doing the work
> and hoping that HTML WG doesn't have a change of heart in the mean time.
> 
>> Now lets look at the word "us".  Can I join the RDFa IG?  Mark is
>> already a member of the HTML WG.  Who is this "us" (and by implication,
>> who is the "them") in your world view?
> 
> I try not to have an "us" vs. "them" world view. Of course you'd be able
> to join the RDFa IG - everybody on here would be able to participate,
> contribute, etc.
> 
> The "us" I was referring to in the e-mail was "The RDFa Community" -
> most everyone on this mailing list. Just because you use the word "us"
> in a paragraph doesn't necessarily mean you need a "them".
> 
>> These groups are merely labels.  There effectively isn't any limit to
>> the number of labels a person can have.  Mark can simultaneously be in
>> the HTML WG, the SVG WG, and even the RDFa IG should one ever come into
>> existence.  The number of labels Mark accumulates doesn't give him what
>> he really needs, which if he is like most of us, is simply more hours in
>> the day.
> 
> The bottom line with the RDFa IG is that we're trying to create a home
> for the RDFa work that is stable and lightweight enough to focus on the
> technical work without having to worry too much about some of the other
> things that go on that have nothing to do with RDFa (W3C Process,
> discussions about HTML unrelated to RDFa, etc.).
> 
> For example, if the RDFa work was absorbed by the HTML WG, does that
> mean we should discuss all things RDFa on the main HTML WG telecon?
> Would there be an HTML+RDFa Task Force? What happens if we want to work
> on some SVG-related stuff?
> 
> If we had to share telecon time with HTML WG, that could be very
> damaging to progress. We easily fill up our hour-long weekly telecons.
> 
> This is about hours in the day and focusing on RDFa - it would be harder
> to do that with HTMLWG/non-RDFa-related e-mails filling up our inboxes.
> Some of us have the time to keep up with 3-4 WGs, others don't.
> 
>> The prevailing feeling in PHP land at the
>> time was that if people screw up, that's what CVS is for.  I'd like to
>> see a little more of that attitude here. 
> 
> What do you mean by "here"?
> 
>> Some people will succeed, some
>> will fail, but I would much rather have people try and fail than to tell
>> people that they aren't allowed to try.
> 
> Good - that sounds healthy. I believe that most of the RDFa community
> wants that as well.
> 
>> Tying this back into HTML... what the HTML WG needs is more individuals,
>> and in particular, individuals who are willing to do the work (be it
>> writing bug reports to writing spec text to writing test cases to
>> whatever). 
> 
> Sure, that's what every WG needs more of - HTML WG is not alone in that
> need.
> 
>> It doesn't need more labels.  And in particular, when Mark
>> participates in the HTML working group he does so as a member of the
>> HTML working group.  Any other labels he may also have are irrelevant in
>> the context of that work.
>>
>> I'll close with saying that there are valid reasons to have an IG.  I
>> merely submit that "perhaps", /can/, and "us" aren't a part of those
>> reasons.
> 
> I agree, those words (perhaps, can, and us), used in the way you defined
> them, aren't good reasons to have a separate RDFa IG. My point is that I
> don't think that I was defining them as you were. I hope the text above
> clarifies that position.
> 
> This conversation is getting very meta - by focusing on single words
> used in paragraphs, I feel that we're moving away from discussing the
> requirements of an RDFa IG. I don't know if that option is completely
> undesirable to you at this point, or if the text above clarified what I
> was proposing to make it a viable path forward?

We are making progress.

Indeed, let's talk *very* concretely.

What work products are we talking about?  At the present time, there is 
a W3C Recommendation entitled "RDFa in XHTML: Syntax and Processing". 
For the sake of discussion, I'll assume for the moment that there is 
interest in producing documents entitled "RDFa in HTML: Syntax and 
Processing" and "RDFa in SVG: Syntax and Processing".  If you would 
prefer a different assumption (examples: embed RDFa directly in the 
HTML5 document, have a combined HTML+SVG document, etc).  Please 
describe what you would like to see.

Who would work on these documents?  For the moment, I'll assume that the 
four people listed as authors of "RDFa in XHTML: Syntax and Processing" 
are interested.  Of course, a name or two may end up being added or 
removed, and there probably is at least an order of magnitude of 
additional interested parties who would like to contribute.

Is there any reason why these individuals couldn't join both the HTML 
and SVG working groups?  None that I'm aware of.  In fact, I'm 
positively encouraging you to do so.

Given the obvious overlap between "RDFa in HTML" and "RDFa in SVG", does 
it make sense for the authors to coordinate or liaise?  Absolutely. 
Could the coordination efforts themselves alone merit a mailing list, a 
telecon, and a tracker?  Absolutely.

If I'm OK with a mailing list, a telecon, and a tracker, what am I 
concerned about?  I'm concerned about the creation of a separate formal 
group which has either owns "RDFa in HTML" or is responsible for 
producing /formal/ advice over the same.  In theory, such could work. 
In other contexts, it may even work well.  In this context, with this 
history, I don't think it would.

Ben will confirm then when we met in March, I suggested that the best 
course of action was to simply produce a "RDFa in HTML" document, and 
that I have taken every opportunity I can find to reinforce that notion. 
  In the ASF, you will often hear the term JFDI in situations like 
these.  If you are nof familiar with that term, I'll leave it up to your 
imagination what the letters stand for.

You, Ben, and Steven are welcome to join the HTML Working Group[1], and 
I'm confident that Doug feels similarly about the SVG Working Group[2]. 
  And we both will work with W3C staff to ensure that the necessary 
infrastructure (telecons, mailing lists, access to CVS, etc.) are in 
place for you to do this work.

My recommendation is that you spend your limited time and energy on 
that, and less on creating ephemeral organizational structures which 
will perpetuate rather than resolve divisions.

- Sam Ruby

> -- manu

[1] http://www.w3.org/2000/09/dbwg/details?group=40318&public=1
[2] http://www.w3.org/2000/09/dbwg/details?group=19480&public=1
Received on Friday, 10 July 2009 12:11:33 GMT

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