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formal issues raised by the smlxpath1 registration

From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 16:14:48 -0700
Message-Id: <DF8215D4-618B-4B2F-B8E2-C851ED6F4CA5@acm.org>
Cc: "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" <cmsmcq@acm.org>, Syd Bauman <Syd_Bauman@Brown.edu>, Henry Thompson <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
To: public-xpointer-registry@w3.org

Henry Thompson writes:

> Syd Bauman writes:
>
> > How is this [smlxpath1] different than xpath1()?
>
> The registrar invites discussion of this registration -- I am tending
> towards rejecting it, on the grounds that it  unnecessarily duplicates
> an existing scheme and would dilute the effectiveness of both the
> existing scheme and the new scheme if it were allowed.

I am unable to find any indication, in the XPath Registry Policy
document (http://www.w3.org/2005/04/xpointer-policy.html), any
indication of what counts as a valid reason for the registrar to
reject a registration.  I infer that this means that the answer
to that question will be worked out case by case.  So let me
suggest that duplication, or near duplication, of an existing
scheme ought not to suffice as a reason for rejecting a registration.

The purpose of the registry is, as I understand it, to provide a
light-weight mechanism to allow people to do for unqualified names
what they can already do for qualified names without concertation or
registration:  that is, specify that a particular name denotes a
particular method of identifying a part of an XML document.  The
registry serves, as does the use of qualified names, to prevent
name clashes.  The intervention of a registrar is, as I understand
it, necessary to ensure that the registration page is not inundated
by link spam and to help prevent name squatting.

But the use of qualified names does not do anything to prevent
aliases or synonyms or near-synonyms, and I do not think the process
will scale well if the registrar does so, either.

 From a formal point of view, I'm a little surprised that the
registrar announces an inclination to reject a registration to
which (as far as I can tell from the archive) no one has raised
any formal objection. (Like Kumar Pandit, I read Syd Bauman's
note as a question, not an objection.  Syd, you may wish to
set me straight.)  My first reaction was to ask "Can he do that?"
If we are in a case-law system, the answer would appear to be "Yes
he can, if no one objects."  So I object.  I think the XPath
registry should steer as far clear of technical evaluation of
proposals as is feasible.

I also think the policy document could use some elaboration of
what count as sufficient grounds for rejection of registrations.
(A final loophole reference to the good of the Web and the
judgement of the registrar would of course also be advisable.)

With collegial regards,

--C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Received on Tuesday, 4 March 2008 23:15:01 GMT

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