W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-w3process@w3.org > July 2015

RE: Updating superseded documents with annotations

From: Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:06:38 +0000
To: timeless <timeless@gmail.com>
CC: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, public-w3process <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CY1PR0301MB11967780BE5D23B791E42E88EA8A0@CY1PR0301MB1196.namprd03.prod.outlook.com>
>1. Is the document obsoleted?

It is not obvious to me that one W3C Recommendation necessarily actually “obsoletes” a previous version of that same specification.    There may be cases where users want to continue to reference the older Recommendation and W3C should certainly permit that.

But I do agree that W3C Recommendations for which there is a more recent version should be changed to provide a pointer to the latest version.

>For 1, identifying the replacement using a block as we do for the Process document would work.

The current W3C Process Document includes the warning:

>On 1 August 2014, W3C began a transition<https://www.w3.org/wiki/ProcessTransition2014> away from this document; see the current W3C Process Document<http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process/>.

What about the following template for W3C Recommendations for which a newer version exisits?

>On <date>, W3C published a new Recommendation of <title>.  See <link to dated version>.


Paul Cotton, Microsoft Canada
17 Eleanor Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 6A3
Tel: (425) 705-9596 Fax: (425) 936-7329

From: timeless [mailto:timeless@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2015 8:24 AM
To: public-w3process
Cc: Tim Berners-Lee; Paul Cotton
Subject: Updating superseded documents with annotations

The 3.0 draft [1] says:
> HTML 3.0 Draft (Exprired! [sic]) Materials

The cover page has a nice notice [2].

Unfortunately, the contents [3] has a much higher search rank and doesn't have a notice.

The intro [4] could also use a notice:
> How to participate in refining HTML 3.0
Isn't actually correct today, but you wouldn't know from reading it.

Lest you say that 3.0 isn't in rec space and doesn't matter, I'll note that 3.2 [5] doesn't have a note either.

Then there's HTML 4.01 [6][7][8][9] and its errata [10].

At the very least, the errata could say that HTML 4 issues have been resolved by the publication of HTML 5.

There's also HTML 4.0 [11]:
> Status of this document
> This document has been reviewed by W3C Members and other interested parties and has been endorsed by the Director as a W3C Recommendation.
> It is a stable document and may be used as reference material or cited as a normative reference from another document.

I don't think that really describes its status. HTML 4.0 isn't rescinded, but it's certainly obsolete, if only by HTML 4.01.

> W3C recommends that user agents and authors (and in particular, authoring tools) produce HTML 4.0 documents rather than HTML 3.2 documents (see [HTML32]). For reasons of backwards compatibility, W3C also recommends that tools interpreting HTML 4.0 continue to support HTML 3.2 and HTML 2.0 as well.

I don't think W3C currently recommends creating HTML 4.0 documents either.

Tim's point applies, most of the pages I'm referencing indicate that you can still comment/influence the direction of these documents. (Please ignore the irony of me trying to influence the direction of these documents, I'm not trying to change their technical content, merely their social introduction.)

Tim asks:
> How do we make sure these are kept up to date?

One approach would be to have a list like review announce ("old document review"), and a bot like notifier ("scavenger ").

The bot could pick documents that haven't changed in 5+ years, preferably by visit count, and send perhaps a (half?) dozen such pages to the list monthly (it shouldn't send the same URL for review more than once every 17 months*). If it could include a Member link with information about referrers, that might be helpful.

A basic checklist for reviewers:
1. Is the document obsoleted?
2. Is the document owner (e.g. WG, ML) gone?
3. Does the document suggest discussion that doesn't make sense?
4. Does the document suggest actions or practices which are in fact not applicable / recommended today?

For 1, identifying the replacement using a block as we do for the Process document would work.
For 2, a block warning about the issue, noting alternatives if applicable would work.
For 3, either fixing the status or adding a status block noting that the status of document section was valid at the time of authoring (list date) but that it is no longer (list as-of if known), and an updated status
For 4, either fixing the document or adding a section as with 3 but for current practices -- probably as a link to a catch all instead of including more text that's likely to become stale.

It might even be possible to have the feedback be a check mark system for those 4 questions along with a text area for comments, but initially, I think a ML should work.

* By picking a number that isn't a multiple of 12, there's a better chance of it being reviewed in a different season the next time. By picking more than a year, we encourage the system to review a wide range of documents. If a document is updated in response to the review suggestion, that pushes the document away from review for 5 years.

[1] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/>html3<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/>/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/>

[2] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/CoverPage.html>html3<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/CoverPage.html>/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/CoverPage.html>CoverPage.html<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/CoverPage.html>
[3] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/Contents.html>html3<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/Contents.html>/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/Contents.html>Contents.html<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/Contents.html>
[4] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/intro.html>html3<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/intro.html>/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/intro.html>intro.html<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/intro.html>
[5] http://www.w3.org/<http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32.html>TR<http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32.html>/REC-html32.html<http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32.html>
[6] http://www.w3.org/<http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/>TR<http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/>/REC-html40/<http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/>
[7] http://www.w3.org/<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>TR<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>/<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>html4<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>/<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>
[8] http://www.w3.org/<http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/>TR<http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/>/html401/<http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/>
[9] http://www.w3.org/<http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/>TR<http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/>/1999/REC-html401-19991224/<http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/>
[10] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html4-updates/errata>html4<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html4-updates/errata>-updates/errata<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html4-updates/errata>
[11] http://www.w3.org/<http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424/>TR<http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424/>/1998/REC-html40-19980424/<http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424/>
Paul Cotton wrote:
> How do we make sure these are kept up to date?
Many other standards organizations do “systematic reviews” (ie every five years) to determine if a standards should be withdrawn or continued to be used.  Maybe W3C should consider some sort of “systematic review” of documents published on the TR page?
From: Tim Berners-Lee
Subject: Re: Superseded warning on 2005 Process Document

Jeff Jaffe wrote:

Great comment.  We now say:

"On 1 August 2014, W3C began a transition away from this document; see the current W3C Process Document."
This sort of relevant and actually correct comment is the sort of thing I wish we would learn to put in the status of every document..

These things of course need to be reviewed with time. So while it interesting to archive the language which was used when something is put out for comment
It is also useful to note for example later that the time for comments is over ... The "status of this document at the time of its publication". As opposed to a styled visibly  pinned on annotation ... How do we make sure these are kept up to date?
Received on Friday, 31 July 2015 15:07:12 UTC

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