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Re: w3process-ISSUE-124 (WHATWG-blacklist): Normative Reference policy should explicitly black list WHATWG specs [Normative Reference Policy]

From: David (Standards) Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:54:17 -0700
Cc: public-w3process <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-id: <0260B096-C3CE-4A1C-AC8F-966DCB6894C1@apple.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

On Oct 7, 2014, at 10:25 , Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> The problem is that having a snapshot doesn't do anything to safeguard 
> people from arbitrary changes by unaccountable people.

It certainly does.

* I claim to have tried to implement version X of that spec.; you can ask me to update to a later version, but you can only expect that I conform to that version. I make no claim about provisions in later versions.

* The syntax element X is formatted exactly as defined for Y in version Q of this specification. (This safeguards from the unaccountable updating the name of Y in later versions, as previously noted).

* You are given a patent grant from the following companies for their applicable IPR under the following terms, for all IPR essential to vetsion R of this specification.

(There are more.  I do not claim to have a universal imagination.)

The last one is the one precisely needed today. I would prefer that the w3c specification do what you and others have asked, and that is reference a precise point in the development of the URL specification in the WhatWG, but I am not going to agree to that when the referenced specification and the living specification have different titles, I do not intend to ask my company for an FSA on a document with a pejorative title, and I would recommend the W3C fork rather than refer to a document with a pejorative title. Why you are allowing your desire to be insulting to trump these other considerations is, well, at least strange.

>> Look, the ideal way to reference a specific version of a document is to 
>> quote its revision in the repository.
> Reference for what purpose?

When the referer (hint, maybe someone other than you) wants to refer to a specific version of the document.

You seem to think that I feel that ‘latest revision’ references are out of place.  Far from it; even ISO, that you despise, allows for both:

"The following documents, in whole or in part, are normatively referenced in this document and are indispensable for its application. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.”

> For the purpose of implementors, that's not a good way to reference 
> another spec at all, since you have to reference the latest fixes, not 
> some arbirary earlier fixed point.

No, I don’t *have* to.  I might *choose* to. Don’t tell me what I *have* to do with my life. If I think that the specification got royally messed up by a change in version X+1, I might well choose to say “I do up to version X, no more.”

> For the purposes of the CG FSA, that's not a good way to reference the 
> spec source either, since the contract refers to a fixed page.

Yes, I am assuming that by referencing a specific repository revision the result is an unchanging text.

>> So which is it?  Intentionally pejorative and insulting, or not?
> It's intentionally pejorative, it's certainly not intentionally insulting. 
> I've no idea who it would insult.
> (It is pejorative because it "expresses disapproval", specifically of 
> referencing the spec for implementor purposes. It's not pejorative in the 
> sense of expressing contempt.)

Telling people you disapprove of them is insulting. Doing it in a document that purports to be a technical standard is out of place.

David Singer
Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Tuesday, 7 October 2014 20:54:47 UTC

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