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HTML WG process

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 08:08:16 -0700
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
CC: "www-archive@w3.org" <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8B62A039C620904E92F1233570534C9B0118CDAC7210@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>
I'm not interested in pursuing a legalistic 
review of the past and whether or not W3C 
HTML WG has or hasn't been in "violation"
of the W3C process, because I don't think
it would be helpful.

I didn't use the word "violation" in a formal
sense; the process document consists of guidelines,
not laws.  I worked on the process document
in the W3C Advisory Board, so I think I
can speak to "intent".

For example, I'm pretty clear that the "SHOULD"
indicates a requirement. When a SHOULD requirement
is not followed, the reasons for not following it
should be documented, clear, transparent and agreed.
Otherwise, you risk situations where actors
judge they are above judgment, assert their own
criteria for neutrality, and corrupt the process.

Personally the actual facts of the current
HTML WG astounded me, were not clear before
I joined the working group, only became clear
after months in the WG, are not apparent from
the W3C web pages describing the working group,
and are inconsistent, in my opinion, with the
intent and expectations of the process document.

Whether the difficulty is "serious and significant" 
is a judgment, but I think that should be determined
by the effects will have on the goal of the process,
as I wrote a related post

Whether the exceptions to the process discussed
(and several others) are or are not "violations"
doesn't matter nearly as much as whether the
abnormalities will cause continued and increasing
fragmentation of the web.

Let's focus on the goal, and ensure that the process
going forward is actually leading to convergence
and interoperability. Increased transparency is
only the first, but necessary, step.

Received on Monday, 22 June 2009 15:10:08 UTC

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