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Re: Answer to Ian Hickson: Modesty requirement

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 16:29:26 +0000 (UTC)
To: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Cc: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.61.0505031620030.5094@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Tue, 3 May 2005, Karl Dubost wrote:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-qa/2005Jan/0015.html
> Thank you for your comment, the QA Working Group disagrees with this comment.
> The Quality Assurance Working Group believes that such a good practice 
> would be inappropriate for the following reasons:
> * some of the qualities mentioned in the issue (WAI AAA conformance,
> conformance to QA Specification Guidelines, and more generally the
> "conformance to other specifications" aspect) can be legitimately
> claimed as long as the relevant specifications define a conformance that
> can apply to specifications or documents [...]
> * for the other qualities mentioned where objective evaluation criteria
> are not available (simple, easy, device-independent), it is unclear that
> this defects affects that many - if any - specifications that it would
> deserve a good practice in the current version of Specification
> Guidelines.

I am not requesting that the technique be that specification not say that 
conformance with other specification or qualities was intended, I merely 
suggest that the technique say that the wording should be more along the 
lines of:

   It is intended that this specification comply to [some spec].
   This specification is designed to be [device-independent].

...rather than:

   This specification complies to [some spec].
   This specification is [device-independent].

The former wording suggests to readers that they should establish whether 
or not the specification really does comply for themselves. The latter 
wording says "it is, if you think otherwise you are wrong".

I guess I accept the resolution if the working group still thinks that 
claiming conformance or claiming qualities is ok, but I have read many 
specs that claim to be in compliance with some other spec, or that claim 
to have certain qualities, where in fact it was quite plain that the 
specification neither complied nor succeeded in having those qualities; 
and when asking those working groups to correct the specs or remove the 
claims, the claims were treated not as potentially false statements but as 
acts of faith and therefore unquestionable. It is this attitude that I 
would like to see discouraged by having the wording clearly state intent 
rather than success.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 3 May 2005 16:29:33 UTC

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