W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa@w3.org > June 2003

Re: LC-67 leftover -- MUST use MUST?

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 09:33:49 -0600 (MDT)
To: Mark Skall <mark.skall@nist.gov>
cc: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>, www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.53.0306260920200.43590@measurement-factory.com>

On Thu, 26 Jun 2003, Mark Skall wrote:

> I'm sorry but it's not good enough to be "usually clear".  One
> "non-clear"  spec could do an awful lot of damage.  If we can't
> guarantee clearness (which we can't) why not use RFC 2119 keywords
> which we know are clear?  To me this is an obvious decision.  In one
> case - no problems; in the other case - potential problems.

RFC 2119 is not perfect or perfectly clear. There are no perfect RFCs.
The best we can do is to strike a balance between uniformity of rigid
imperfection and useful exceptions. Nothing here is or can be
completely formalized or perfected because we use informal languages
and work with informal concepts.

> Again, what are obvious special marks to you might not be to me.  I
> agree that there are some cases when we would all agree that the
> requirements are clear, but we certainly cannot count on getting
> these.  What we will probably get are at least some cases where some
> people think the requirements are clear and others misinterpret
> them.

True. IMO, this is an acceptable risk worth the gain. The gain, in
this case, is to allow innovation and decent to sneak in (when the
authors are convinced their requirement marking/defining ways are
better). While I like formalism, I also accept the reality (informal
language used to define informal concepts). Your preference is to be
100% safe (a MUST) and prohibit innovation/decent to avoid risks. My
preference is to be 95% safe (a SHOULD) and allow some
innovation/decent, with known risks.


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Received on Thursday, 26 June 2003 11:33:57 UTC

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