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Re: Reference to the HTML specification

From: Glenn Adams <glenn@skynav.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 08:19:43 -0600
Message-ID: <CACQ=j+coyvBAAmSr_07uk4XHUA0UA882m=DSs87fnBQPyhgozw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Marcos Caceres <marcosscaceres@gmail.com>
Cc: Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com>, Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>, Arthur Barstow <art.barstow@nokia.com>, public-webapps <public-webapps@w3.org>
On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 3:36 AM, Marcos Caceres <marcosscaceres@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 7:43 PM, Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com> wrote:
> > On 8/5/2011 9:23 AM, Marcos Caceres wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> >>  It should be left to the editor's (or working group) discretion as
> >>>> >> to which spec they cite regardless of the reason.
> >>>
> >>> >
> >>> >  And one of the role of the W3C staff is to ensure proper
> coordination
> >>> >  between the various Working Groups at the W3C. I'm pointing out we
> are
> >>> >  being inconsistent,
> >>
> >> I'm still not sure what the problem is. It seems like the problem is
> >> that some people feel the citing a WHATWG spec is "disrespectful" of
> >> the HTML WG. I think we should get on with making the best possible
> >> technology for our fellow humans and not get so caught up with who is
> >
> > There have been chair decisions which the WHATWG does not follow, many
> > of them having to do with accessibility requirements. By continuing to
> link
> > to the WHATWG spec as a primary source, during such fractures in
> consensus,
> > it undermines the decision processes of the w3c.
> I thought that the WHATWG is an independent consortium; if so, it has
> no obligation to follow any decisions made by the HTML-WG.
> --
> Marcos Caceres
> http://datadriven.com.au
As far as I'm aware, the WHATWG is an *unincorporated association*, cf.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_association. As such, it does not
enjoy the status of being a legal entity.

Nobody has an obligation to follow the decisions of the HTML-WG; however,
standards are only as useful as they are adopted, not only from a de facto
but also a de jure perspective. The status of HTML5 w.r.t. the WHATWG will
be completely irrelevant with respect to established, de jure Standards
Development Organizations. If the WHATWG were to become a legal entity and
be accredited by an international or national standards body, then that
would change.

The entire world of standards bodies and formal industry consortia recognize
the authority of the W3C with respect to publishing formal standards for
HTML, including HTML5. They do NOT recognize the authority of the WHATWG.

In reality, at this point in time, the WHATWG is no more than a drafting
group that is feeding the W3C HTML WG with material. As such, the authority
of the latter takes precedence over the former in the minds of all formal
customers of HTML5.

Of course, individuals (including corporations) may decide to favor the
positions of the WHATWG, but that will not affect the formal, public
position of international, national, and industry specific standards and
specifications organizations, who will favor the W3C.

Glenn Adams
Received on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:20:30 UTC

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