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 11:06:00 -0600 (MDT)
To: Mark Skall <mark.skall@nist.gov>
cc: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>, www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.53.0306261055450.43590@measurement-factory.com>

On Thu, 26 Jun 2003, Mark Skall wrote:

> Don't penalize?  We're in the standards business.  I don't think
> that imposing a standard on spec authors is any more a penalty than
> imposing a standard on implementers.  There are very good reasons
> for standards.  In this case, the standard ensures clear enumeration
> of requirements.  Why are we afraid of asking our fellow spec
> writers to do as they say (use standards)?

Imposing a good standard is good. The standard should be "clear
enumeration of requirements". Imposing a tool is not good. The tool is
"RFC 2119 keywords". Recommending a good tool is good. That is why I
prefer "SHOULD use RFC 2119 keywords" to "MUST use RFC 2119 keywords".

> You cannot programmatically verify that you are getting people's
> attention.  (Some of us have a very short attention span).  The whole
> purpose of using tried and true keywords is that we know it will get
> people's attention because  we've used them time and again.

You cannot programmatically verify that are getting people's

> There is now a conditioned reflex on the part of the reader to stop
> every time he or she sees a MUST and say "that's a requirement".

You cannot programmatically verify that a reader has a conditioned

Again and again, you do not apply your logic to your own comments.
IMO, your logic is too rigid and leads to a "we cannot do anything"
dead-end. The above statements is a good illustration.

> What "heavy-handed" approach?  We have requirements all through
> SpecGL, OpsGL and TestGL.  Why is this one heavy-handed and not the
> others? IMHO, this one is much more important than many of the
> others.

Other requirements [should] talk about good spec qualities. This
requirement talks about a tool to achieve good spec qualities. There
is a big difference (as big as the difference between MUST and


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Received on Thursday, 26 June 2003 13:06:03 UTC

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