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Answer to comment about "Non-specification specifications"

From: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 11:29:13 -0400
Message-Id: <6914D040-40CF-467F-BA4E-B77E57FB26DF@w3.org>
Cc: Gary Feldman <g1list_1a@marsdome.com>
To: www-qa@w3.org

Dear Gary,

Thanks for your comments on the Last Call version of the QA Framework:
Specification Guidelines[0] - 22 November 2004

After two weeks from now (on May 18, 2005), the lack of answer will  
be considered as if you had accepted the comment.

Original comment (issues 1061 [1] and 1142 [2]):

Thank you for your comment, which generated a significant amount of  
discussion within the QA Working Group. We chose to address the  
comment as two separate issues.

With regard to issue #1061 (what to call non-normative  
"specifications") we agreed that our terminology was imprecise, and  
substituted the term "technical reports" to describe all the  
documents that go through the W3C process, normative or not.

With regard to issue #1142 (whether or not non-normative documents  
should explain why they do not need a conformance clause) we disagree  
with your assessment that such an explanation is often unnecessary.  
We believe that based on past experience there is often a significant  
amount of confusion about whether or not a technical report is  
normative and consequently whether or not one could conform to it. We  
therefore feel that the simplest approach is always to require an  
explanation of whether or not conformance is an issue. We did agree  
with you that it is not necessary to require an actual conformance  
section in such documents.

Our revised text reads [3]:

"Note that for some technical reports (e.g., The QA Handbook [QA- 
HANDBOOK], Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One [WEB-ARCH])  
where conformance is not an issue (e.g., no normative content), the  
conformance clause may be an explanation of why there is no  
'conformance to this document' and may be presented in another  
section rather than in a separate conformance section."

[0] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-qaframe-spec-20041122/
[1] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=1061
[2] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=1142
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-qaframe-spec-20050428/#about

Karl Dubost
QA Working Group Chair
Received on Tuesday, 3 May 2005 15:29:18 UTC

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