W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > September 2017

Re: Rename "DDO" to "DID Document"... avoid acronyms

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:12:54 -0700
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <2230bcd5-bf6e-4066-f6fb-0b5e0c9955c2@sunshine.net>
On 2017-09-19 2:59 PM, Manu Sporny wrote:
> "What does a DID point to?"
> "It points to a DID Document, which describes more about the DID."
> 
> That feels better than having to expand and then explain what a DDO is.
> Thoughts?

Agreed about "DID Document" being less confusing than DDO....

But, I still have two issues with this, one with 'DID' itself, and 
then with using 'Document'.

Since you said today also you want to "Simplify the language in the 
specification so that it's an easy read even for a non-technologist," 
I'll expand on this, because I think it's mostly a problem for new 
readers -- or at least non-technical ones. Of which hopefully there 
will eventually be millions. :-)

First, "DID".

In "DID", in order to mean, as you've stated: "Decentralized 
Identifiers", you appear  to be conflating two different acronym 
systems, and I think this is problematic.

1. First letter: You use the most widely-used standard system that 
rigidly takes only capitalized first letters: "UN" = United Nations. 
D = Decentralized.
2. Next two letters: You're now using an informal usage, with "ID" 
meaning "Identity Document" (historic and current, standard usage for 
passports, driver's licenses, etc.), or "Identifier" (computer usage), 
or possibly "Identity"; or one of about 100 other things for 'ID' 
listed on the disambiguation page by Google.

So there are two different acronym systems at play in 'DID', and this 
is without warning. So I submit that the majority of non-technical 
users who come across 'DID' the first time will have no hope of 
understanding what it means.

I also submit that because of 'I.D.' (or 'ID') widely being used to 
mean something like a driver's license, passport, etc., a significant 
portion of new readers will guess wrong, and will have a hard time 
forgetting that other standard usage, which they may have been using 
for their whole lives without ever encountering the computer usage of 
'ID' meaning 'Identifier'.

I'm not sure of the solution, but perhaps going to another well-known 
variant of the main acronym system, i.e., MSc for Master of Science, 
that allows two letters for a word, and the lower-case is understood 
as the second letter, would be useful, as in: DId  (= Decentralized 
Identifier).


Also, I have a separate problem with "Document" in "DID Document":

I'm expecting developers (and in fact regular web users) will want to 
publish billions of "Documents" using the DID system. I mean: .doc, 
.pdf, and all sorts of music files and video files -- anything that is 
understood as a 'Document' in the digital sense.

Won't this risk a confusion, if there is a "Document" (pdf, mpg, etc.) 
being published using a DID which requires a "DID Document" that is 
something else entirely?

Steven
Received on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 03:13:07 UTC

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