W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa@w3.org > January 2002

Re: Framework documents nature

From: Mark Skall <mark.skall@nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 10:51:00 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: "Ian B. Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>, dd@w3.org
Cc: www-qa@w3.org

>I think that the deeper question is: how formal will the
>QA requirements be on other W3C Working Groups? My understanding
>so far is that the QA Activity will promote processes that
>will improve specs, implementations, etc. but that these
>processes will not be required (e.g., at the Process
>Document level).

I guess I still need to understand why this is so.  This philosophy is 
already implied in the Process and Operational Guidelines with the phrase 
"nominally informative".

Is the "not-required" philosophy our strategy, or is this imposed by the 
W3C process?  If it's the former, I would prefer to see much more 
discussion on this.  As a minimum, we should document this as an issue and 
resolve it. (As an aside, I think the Issues List needs to be expanded in 
general to include other more substantive issues (e.g., the decisions that 
were made about what actually ends up in the checkpoints should be itemized 
as issues with the  resolutions determined by consensus)).

In any case, I see many reasons why requirements would be much more 
effective.  The only advantages to softening these to non-requirements seem 
to be political.

>In any case, the QA Activity will need to get buy-in
>from WGs,

I certainly agree that buy-in is important and we should do everything we 
can to obtain that.  However, I think this issue is orthogonal to whether 
or not to make our processes requirements or not.  One can obtain buy-in 
and still make things requirements. In fact, I would say that obtaining 
buy-in is even more important if we are to impose things on the WGs.

Coming from a conformance background, I'm still disturbed by providing 
recommendations rather than requirements when the implications of not 
following our processes could have a catastrophic impact on 
interoperability and the quality of implementations.  If we believe what we 
say about the importance of our activity, and we don't require many of the 
things we're asking for, then, by our own admission, we are inviting disaster.

Mark Skall
Chief, Software Diagnostics and Conformance Testing Division
Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8970
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8970

Voice: 301-975-3262
Fax:   301-590-9174
Email: skall@nist.gov
Received on Monday, 7 January 2002 10:47:58 UTC

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