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Re: ACTION-326 and ACTION-327 BLOCKED on ISSUE-5

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:20:18 -0800
Cc: Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>, Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com>, Brendan Riordan-Butterworth <Brendan@iab.net>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-Id: <9BCC4BFD-D23D-4E7B-8011-1AE405F1E5E0@gbiv.com>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
On Nov 15, 2012, at 3:58 PM, David Singer wrote:
> On Nov 14, 2012, at 14:18 , Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com> wrote:
>> On Nov 14, 2012, at 9:47 AM, Thomas Roessler wrote:
>>> On 2012-11-14, at 18:30 +0100, Shane Wiley <wileys@yahoo-inc.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> Thomas,
>>>> 
>>>> To this statement: “tracking" (a term which doesn't show up in the current normative language…“
>>>>  
>>>> Please note the title of both documents.  J  To me that is clearly “normative” in context.  Fair?
>>> 
>>> Actually, no -- the title of a specification isn't normative.  Sometimes, the title of a document is even just some acronym, like "HTML."
>> 
>> The charter uses the term tracking.  The browsers use the terms
>> tracking or "to track" or "do not track".  TPE cannot avoid using
>> the term tracking as that is the user expression that is being
>> expressed by the protocol.  The Compliance specification is a
>> charter deliverable to define tracking and related terms.
>> 
>> In short, I am extremely annoyed that I have to explain this again
>> and again and again...  THIS working group will not successfully
>> pretend to define the DNT header field without a definition of
>> tracking.  
> 
> You know, I used to believe this.  It frustrated me as well.  I have even offered a definition (which met with little opposition as I recall).
> 
> But I think the opposite view actually is tenable.
> 
> For example, if I tell you "on my property, you are required to be froobalicious" you might reasonably ask "what do you mean by froobalicious?".  I might be able to give you a simple definitional answer ('froobalicios means that your socks are always color-coordinated with your tie') but it may be that I hand you a multiple page document that says "froobalicious people must do X, must not do Y, should do Z when Q happens, may do R if an only if T is true, ..." and so on.  That document is as much of a 'definition' of froobalicious as anything else.  It may not be pretty, it may not be terse, it may not be quotable, it may not have a sentence anywhere that says "froobalicious is defined as …" -- but if you abide by my rules, you can say (with pride, I hope) "on Dave's property, I am always froobalicious!" and be confident that you are.
> 
> I might even agree.

DNT does not just describe attributes of the sender.  It describes
a user preference for adherence by the recipient.  Hence, both
establishing the user's preference and adherence to those
preferences are subject to shared semantics, not just a list of
requirements in a spec.  We all know that most users will not read
the spec.

HTTP header fields have a defined set of semantics.  When a header
field describes attributes of the sender, the semantics are checked
against the context of the sender to know whether the protocol is
correctly implemented.  When a valid header field is received by a
recipient, the expectations defined by those semantics are met by
adhering to a set of protocol requirements on the recipient.
Hence, the semantics are crucial to both determining the validity
of the signal and the validity of our compliance document in
defining the associated requirements.

....Roy
Received on Friday, 16 November 2012 00:20:48 UTC

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