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Re: Answer to Ian Hickson: Formal vs prose language normativity

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 16:34:49 +0000 (UTC)
To: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Cc: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.61.0505031630260.5094@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Tue, 3 May 2005, Karl Dubost wrote:
> 
> Original comment (issue 1049 [1]) 
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-qa/2005Jan/0014.html
> 
> Thank you for your comment, which the QA Working Group has accepted.  
> We have reworded the affected section as you recommended and it now 
> reads
> 
> [...] there are possible overlaps between the prose and the formal 
> language, in which case, it is important to define which one is the main 
> point of reference in case of disjunction.

This is actually exactly the opposite of what my comment said. In my 
opinion, when there is a conflict it means that one or the other of the 
formal language and the prose is incorrect. There is no guarentee about 
which one is the correct one.

Whenever there is a conflict between prose and formal language, the 
working group must, IMHO, release errata fixing the problem. Saying that 
one overrides the other implies some sort of belief that errors will only 
creep into one and not the other, which is clearly not going to be the 
case. It also means that people will be discourages from reporting errors 
to the editors since errors would always be "resolved" (albeit effectively 
without working group supervision).

I do not accept this resolution.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 3 May 2005 16:35:25 UTC

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