W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webapi@w3.org > January 2007

Editorial Control (was: Selectors API naming)

From: Doug Schepers <doug.schepers@vectoreal.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 16:14:18 -0500
Message-ID: <45B91DAA.90301@vectoreal.com>
To: Web APIs WG <public-webapi@w3.org>

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Thu, 25 Jan 2007, Joćo Eiras wrote:
>> So, it's a matter
>> of personal opinion that "names suck".
> My argument is not that the names suck. My argument is that there is not 
> concensus, that the decision process was opaque and behind-closed-doors, 

The discussion was not done behind closed doors.  It was discussed on 
this list, on Anne's blog, and in a meeting open to everyone in the WAF 
WG (including a large number of the people who were involved in the 
public discussions).  There was no clear majority of either opinion. 
Someone needed to settle the discussion, and those of us who attended 
the meeting did so.

 > and that having the working group override the editor on such a
 > trivial issue as naming is a bad precedent
 > for open Web spec development.

So, you believe that a tyranny of one is preferable to a tyranny of many?

No one person should be in charge of the architecture and technological 
infrastructure of the Web.  The current policy in the W3C WGs that I'm a 
member of is basically, "If someone is willing to do the work, they can 
be the editor of a specification."  That is simply not a realistic 
criterion for a solid specification, and if the editor of a spec is not 
answerable to the various members of the WG and the W3C and the 
developer and implementor community in general, then I think we should 
be much more stringent in how that editor is selected.  This would lead 
to even more formality, and I think we all agree that would be bad.

I will pick on Anne for a moment, simply because he is the editor of the 
spec in question.  Anne is brilliant, hard-working, well-informed, 
conscientious, affable, and has the best interests of the Web in mind. 
He is also argumentative and opinionated (I know this because I am also 
argumentative and opinionated--though not as bright--and we butt heads 
from time to time).  And in this instance, I think he was going with his 
gut on the naming issue, rather than the considered opinions of the 
people that will be affected by this decision.  Luckily, this is a minor 
decision that would be a mere pain in the neck down the road, not a 
show-stopper.  But if this were a serious decision, and the editor was 
in a bad mood and didn't feel like changing it, or was wrong on some 
serious technical point, then we have a recipe for disaster (mmmm... 
delicious buttery disaster...).  That's what leads to specs that 
implementors won't implement because they fundamentally disagree (I 
should know... there are many things I would now change about the 
infamous SVG Tiny 1.2 spec that I was involved in publishing, and most 
of them are issues that the implementors complained about).

In short, editors should be beholden to their constituency.  They are 
servants, not masters.


Research and Standards Engineer
6th Sense Analytics
Received on Thursday, 25 January 2007 21:14:38 UTC

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