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ACTION-350: Best practice for referring to specifications which may update

From: Noah Mendelsohn <noah@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:45:21 -0500
Message-ID: <4F15EBF1.8050601@arcanedomain.com>
To: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
CC: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>, Michael Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@blackmesatech.com>
Larry,

Checking through action items, I see that you have marked ACTION-350 as 
PENDING REVIEW, and included in a note there from you proposing the 
following path forward:

========Start note in ACTION-350=============
My conclusion is that the advice in 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2009Oct/0075.html is too 
complex and ultimately wrong.

If spec A references spec B normatively -- i.e., the conformance rules of A 
depend on following the the conformance rules of B, then

1) the reference in a spec being considered and reviewed should include a 
specific version. This is so multiple parties reviewing spec A and 
discussing whether it should progress can make sure that if they think they 
agree, they're agreeing about the same thing.

2) It is natural to want to upgrade when there is a newer edition of B. But 
implementations which wish to conform to an specific edition of A but a 
later edition/version of B should be explicit about which editions they're 
claiming conformance with.

Weasel words in the spec itself aren't helpful.

An alternative would be, at the time A is being devleloped, to explicitly 
leave the reference unbounded (i.e., point out that B is evolving 
simultaneously).

However, specifications that reach CR should resolve these as much as 
possible, and specs that reach REC should not have any hidden "upgrade" 
paths via referenced specs.

references that are indirect (e.g., through reference to registered 
parameters such MIME types.

I'm willing to work on this direction with someone else.
Larry Masinter, 7 Jan 2012, 17:13:07
===============End Note======================

Especially given that you are unavailable to discuss on a call this week, 
it seems useful to invite e-mail discussion of this proposal. So, let's 
gather some comments here, and I'll schedule discussion when you are available.

Noah

P.S. I'm taking the liberty of cc:'in Michael Sperberg-McQueen, who was 
among those on the Schema Working Group who had strong feelings about all 
this, as I recall.
Received on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 21:45:49 GMT

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