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Re: My Action Item to rewrite definition of "normative"

From: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 12:03:09 -0600
Message-Id: <>
To: Lynne Rosenthal <lynne.rosenthal@nist.gov>, www-qa-wg@w3.org

At 01:07 PM 4/29/03 -0400, Lynne Rosenthal wrote:
>>>"Contains conformance requirements" and "required for conformance" are, 
>>>in my mind, the same thing.
>>I think there is a subtle difference, although I accept your final 
>>conclusion.  "required for conformance", I believe, can be more widely 
>>interpreted than "prescriptive or contains conformance 
>>requirements".  For example, it is easier to construct an argument that 
>>Glossary is normative under the UAAG definition than under the SpecGL (or 
>>QA Glossary) definition.
>>Argument goes like this, "our Conformance Requirements (tagged and 
>>styled) use terms from our Definitions, therefore these term definitions 
>>are 'required for conformance'".  I'm guessing that is along the lines 
>>that IJ and JM were thinking, in their comments.
>Is this a suggestion to change the text of the Normative Definition to 
>'required for conformance'?

No!  This would mean re-opening the issue(s), which I do NOT want to do.

All I was trying to do is illustrate how one can construct "is normative" 
arguments under the UAAG definition, which arguments don't work well under 
ours.  I am happy that they don't work under ours, and don't think ours 
should be changed.

>>p.s.  I notice that normative and informative are not in the QA 
>>Glossary.  Should they be?  Or is it best to keep them in our GL 
>>documents only, where they are used, and not risk opening a W3C-wide 
>>argument about "normative" (at least, not now)?  Why do I say 
>>"risk"?  Because the header of the QA Glossary says, "It should be used 
>>as a definition for working groups to define their terms in Technical 
>>Reports and documentation issued inside and outside W3C."  In other 
>>words, we're telling UAAG to use our definition, and that sort of dispute 
>>is not a good place to spend our time now, IMO.
>Since we must use normative and informative in OpsGL and TestGL - and I 
>hope we use it in the same way, then the definitions are broader than 
>SpecGL and probably should be in QA Glossary.

I agree in principle, but I think we want to be *very* careful here.  Reason:

a.) The statement in the header of the QA Glossary implies that we think 
these definitions ought to be used by all WGs.

b.) UAAG has a different definition (which is well thought out and 
carefully integrated with their document).

c.) Therefore (connect the dots), we are saying not only "we like our (QA) 
definition", but we are also saying "and you should use it too".

d.) That is going to cause a much bigger fight, than the editorial 
questions about "what's normative" in SpecGL.  And it is not a fight on 
which we should waste our time.

Therefore I propose:

1.) don't put these terms into QA Glossary right now;

2.) and/or, replace this in the QA Glossary,

>The glossary is given to fix the terms used at W3C for the Quality 
>Assurance and Conformance activity. It should be used as a definition for 
>working groups to define their terms in Technical Reports and 
>documentation issued inside and outside W3C.

with something more like

>The glossary is given to fix the terms used at W3C for the Quality 
>Assurance and Conformance activity.  It is a resource that may also be 
>used by other working groups, to define their terms in Technical Reports 
>and documentation issued inside and outside W3C.

In other words, get rid of the implication that other need to use our 
definitions (now), and replace it with the idea they may be helpful for 
people who are just starting work and who want to align consistently w/ QA 

Received on Tuesday, 29 April 2003 14:01:02 UTC

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