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[UCR] Process comment

From: Dave Reynolds <der@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 18:19:34 +0100
Message-ID: <444BB726.2080300@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
To: public-rif-wg@w3.org

I've been reflecting on why it seems to have taken the bulk of a
telecon to, as yet, fail to agree on a RIF Design Constraint [1] that is
simple, unopposed and mandated by the charter. Given that a
conservative estimate is that we'll end up with >20 constraints
then a rate of less than 1 per week is a little low.

My concern is that we are trying to over analyse the consequences of
each requirement. A requirement just has to be clear enough that a
reasonable person can look at the final design and see if we've made a
plausible job of addressing it. There are limits to how much the
implications of a requirement can be analysed without getting into the
actual design.

An analogy ...
My manager once described an accountancy course to me.
The course contrasted the US and UK approach to regulating company 
accounts. The US legal approach is to define a set
of practices which must be obeyed (Ai) and a set of practices which
are outlawed (Di), a set of accounts which meets all Ai and omits all
Di is legal. The UK approach is to effectively say something like "the
accounts must be honest and transparent". So if someone invents a new
accounting trick which any reasonable person would regard as a scam but
it is not within any of the defined Di they can get away with it in
the US but not in the UK. The UK definition is measurable but it
relies on people and judgement to interpret it.

Similarly if a requirement is clearly enough defined that any
reasonable technical observer could tell whether the final RIF design
meets that requirement or not then it is specified well enough. We
need to worry about whether the whole set of requirements reflects a
coherent and sufficient set to lead to a useful outcome. Obviously we
need to think enough about individual requirements to eliminate those
that are not desirable or not mathematically possible, but perhaps we
don't need to pin down every last consequence of them at this stage.

Or maybe I'm just too much of a scruff.


Received on Sunday, 23 April 2006 17:19:40 UTC

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