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Re: boundaries for the Web

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 08:22:09 -0800
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Message-Id: <F55CB16F-3DB0-11D6-AD6F-000A27836A68@mnot.net>
Good points; I wouldn't disagree with any of them as goals.

However, this isn't what the TAG is chartered to do; as I read the 
charter, it's here to document and build consensus about common 
components of the architecture, not define the shape of the playground, 
so that a fence can be built around it. Both activities involve an 
architecture, but they use it in very different ways.

It also seems perilously close to violating this constraint;

> The TAG's scope is limited to technical issues about Web architecture. 
> The TAG should not consider administrative, process, or organizational 
> policy issues of W3C, which are generally addressed by the W3C Advisory 
> Committee, Advisory Board, and Team.

I'm not an AC rep any more (and thus, a small voice at the back of my 
head is saying, "don't you have something better to do?"), but if I were 
I'd look twice if the TAG brought something to the table that says 
"We've just defined your consortium for you, and here's what you're 
allowed to do."

The scope of what the W3C does certainly does need to be controlled, but 
I question whether a relatively inflexible, top-down architecture 
document is the way to do it. That doesn't obviate the need for an 
explanation of the architecture, or the realisation of the goals below. 
Some of the language proposed makes sense as explanations or guidelines, 
but that doesn't mean they can be wielded as a constraint over the 
activity of the Consortium.

Regards,


On Friday, March 22, 2002, at 06:24  AM, Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> On Thu, 2002-03-21 at 21:29, Mark Nottingham wrote:
>> Put another way; is there a good reason for putting up boundaries, 
>> other
>> than as a means to allocate resources?
>
> Sure.  There are lots of good reasons.
>
> * Clarity - People and organziations interacting with the W3C will have
> a clearly stated set of understandings regarding what the W3C is and is
> not.  This makes it much simpler to begin communications about the work
> of the W3C.  Clarity can also be useful internally as I've noted
> previously.
>
> * Focus - Even if the W3C suddenly found itself blessed with an
> unlimited budget, would it really make sense to go out and take on every
> task members and staff were interested in pursuing?  I'm sure members
> enjoy having a pre-existing organzational structure rather than rolling
> their own, but how does the W3C define its mission?
>
> * Consistency - The W3C is well-regarded because of the success of a few
> key projects.  While the nature of those projects can evolve, the
> outside world's perspective on the W3C will likely evolve more slowly.
>
> * Diplomacy - It's easier for other organizations to work with the W3C
> when the lines of demarcation are clear.  When the W3C made clear that
> it was not going to work on either event-based parsing of XML or
> vertical industry XML vocabularies, the XML community was able to build
> its projects with an assurance that the PR giant of the area wasn't
> going to take over their work.  (Both of those projects appear to fit
> easily in the current unscoped definition of the Web currently in use.)
>
>> The Consortium is quite resource-constrained right now, and this
>> could be one mechanism of addressing that; IMHO, however, it is
>> an inferior one. I'd like to see issues addressed on their own
>> merits, on a case-by-case basis, rather than having a
>> constraining architecture making the decisions ahead of time.
>
> Statements like this leave me asking "so what exactly is the
> Consortium?" despite having watched it for years.
>
> I keep hearing that identity is a critical feature of the Web, and I'd
> like to see the W3C amd the Web develop identities that go beyond mere
> identifiers.
>
> --
> Simon St.Laurent
> Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
> Errors, errors, all fall down!
> http://simonstl.com
>
>
--
Mark Nottingham
http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Friday, 22 March 2002 15:21:45 GMT

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