Breathing together (Was: Re: Multi-headed indirect links)

[Len Bullard:]

| Because there was no formal "proposal submitted by E. Kimber on (date)
| has been adopted as the basis for the first draft etc.", no one knows
| whether they should focus on it, or wait for the next proposal.  There
| is no "certainty" without such an announcement of intent.  We cannot
| see or assume much about the ERB's business.  Simply have Jon or
| whoever make such an announcement, and have the ERB members conduct
| debate in the open.  That is an open process.  That is a fundamental
| of list community design: open debate by the principals.

Oh, for heaven's sake.  So that's what this is all about.  Pardon me
for not getting to this thread earlier, but I didn't expect to find a
discussion of working group procedures under the heading "Re:
Multi-headed indirect links".

I detect in the later posts in this thread a suspicion that some
clandestine discussion of link strategies has been going on in the ERB
all unbeknown to the WG at large.  The facts are as follows:

* The ERB met on December 18 and did not meet again or communicate in
any significant way until January 8.  An examination of the WG
archives for this period will show that the great bulk of the link
discussion occured during a period when the ERB effectively did not

* The ERB meeting of January 8 was occupied entirely with issues
relating to a proposed XML TC to 8879 that has been churning in the
background since November and will probably continue to do so for some
time to come.  The decisions made during this meeting were reported by
Tim Bray a day or two later.  Linking was not discussed.

* The next ERB meeting took place last Wednesday, January 15.  The
first part of that meeting was devoted to some more TC issues, and the
result of that discussion (a decision about comment delimiters) was
subsequently reported to the WG.  At that point, the ERB explicitly
took up the topic of linking for the first time.  It was decided that
the XML-LINK co-editors would put together a straw proposal for
consideration by the WG based on (a) Eliot's HyTime-based draft, which
was the only concrete proposal that had been made during the WG
discussion, (b) the TEI extended pointer mechanism, which some people
seemed to find promising, (c) all the rest of the discussion that had
taken place in the WG during the period from December 18 through
January 15, and (d) a general desire to keep things as simple as

Oh yes, we also briefly discussed ways of categorizing the areas that
will need to be specified.  I shared with the group some analysis I
had done over the vacation, which concluded that we were badly
overloading the term "link semantics" and that what we needed to deal
with could be grouped under four heads, viz.:

   1. Structure, or link topology

   2. Location and addressing

   3. Meaning, or relationship typology

   4. Presentation

      a. Before link traversal

      b. After link traversal

Steve D. observed that "During link traversal" should be added to
point 4.  Some ERB members felt that this taxonomy might be helpful;
some (I think) preferred other ways of looking at the problem space.
There was general agreement that this might be a good way to organize
a specification, with point 4 probably falling into Phase III of our

That's it.  That's the sum total of the ERB's discussion of linking,
at least so far as I have managed to capture it in my notes.

I'm sorry to disappoint anyone who was thinking that the ERB had this
all figured out while the rest of the WG was groping around for a
solution, but the banal reality is that we were just watching the
give-and-take along with the rest of you.  We have no idea what the
editors are going to propose as a starting point for the discussion of
specifics beyond the points listed above; we just have faith that they
will do a good job putting together something that will provide a
serviceable matrix for the more focused debate that we expect the WG
to engage in for the next three months.


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