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Re: The Standards Manifesto

From: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 14:42:02 -0400
Message-Id: <p05111731b9118ed5853f@[]>
To: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>, www-rdf-interest@w3.org, www-talk@w3.org
Cc: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
At 11:07 -0500 2002-05-22, Aaron Swartz wrote:
>for no good reason about backwards-compatibility. And the W3T sits 
>quietly, afraid to do anything to remedy the situation.

Aaron... tss tss... I have read ***w3t***, so you are talking about 
the W3C Team. So the 70 persons who are employed by W3C. I'm one of 
those and we have not all of us the same ideas about the web, the 
community, or the standards process.
I would like also to notice that we are not brainwashed when we are 
entering at W3C. We had a past before W3C, we still have a present 
where we are doing things (most of the people in the Team have 
personal websites and they are not difficult to find), and we will 
have a future after W3C except if your plan is to offer us the same 
destiny of Giordano Bruno.

>W3C-style standards bodies clearly aren't working anymore. Perhaps 
>they made sense in the old days of the browser wars, but we're no 
>longer getting innovation from Working Groups who have so many 
>members that they have to form subgroups to decide what they're 
>going to do about deciding what they're going to do.

Now speaking of W3C, there's a lot to say. In all bodies, Open 
communities, Consortium, governemental organization, there are 
mistakes, defaults and good things, because they are made of people 
and interaction. So good things are still hapenning at W3C and some 
are less enjoyable.

I have my own opinions on them but I will not express them as Karl 
Dubost - W3C. I may express them as Karl - la-grange.net. The problem 
is that some people are not intellectualy honest, and even if I 
express my opinions as la-grange.net, they will say or quote, "Karl, 
Conformance Manager has said".

>I humbly suggest a solution, based on comments from TimBL, SimonStl 
>and many others:
>  * Desiging the specs are a small independent core team of people 
>who really know their stuff and are concerned about simplicity and 
>the Right Thing.

Even if I tend to agree with you, because smaller specs are easier to 
implement, so easier to achieve quality, it's not as simple as saying 
that. In the context of quality, I think often that the specs are not 
enough long to explain the topics, I think also there are going often 
too fast and don't let time for implementation.

Let's take for example SVG which is a huge spec, which has taken a 
long time, if you look at implementation, they are very good wrt to 
other specs.

Who knows the stuff? ;) not easy to reply and you will see that in a 
sense, nobody knows... and hopefully, the creativity comes from the 
research. So I think what you wanted to say, is let a place to 
creativity and expression of ideas.

So I wish thousand of times more participation to the W3C from 
governments, universities, research centers,  individual people. You 
have forgotten two main issues.

- digital divide
	Some people do not have access to the technology in a manner 
that will permit us to participate.
- Cultural differences
	   English is not the main language, and even for people who 
are technicians and/or developers, they prefer to work or have 
materials in french, for example. I know that by the number of 
translation I did as a volunteer before working at W3C, and that I'm 
still doing now.
	Working culture
	   Put american people, japanese people and french people in 
the same WG, and you will have a lot of differences of working. So 
for example, you can think that japanese people will agree on your 
choice, just because you haven't noticed that the way to express 
their concerns is different from yours.

>  * Assisting them is an open group who contributes to the 
>spec-writing and application-testing, letting the core team focus on 
>the design.

	Yes yes yes... and translate specs, and review them, and ask 
for quality. I have a question, why so many open source developers 
are doing so bad implementations. They have the possibility to 
implement specs and say look my implementation is better than the 
commercial of Brand X. But they often don't do it.

	While I tend to agree to the general and optimistic ideas of 
your choices, I would like to make the membership wider (criterias 
still to be determined) and have more people participating and less 
monotyped in the sense of your email (too much industries ?).
	So is the problem the consortium or a too small consortium 
and not enough representative of the Web Community?
	And we didn't talk about the computing education community, 
the publishers, etc...

Karl Dubost / W3C - Conformance Manager

      --- Be Strict To Be Cool! ---
Received on Wednesday, 22 May 2002 14:44:28 UTC

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