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Re: Manifesto: Rules for standards-makers by Dave Winer

From: Liam R. E. Quin <liam@fromoldbooks.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2020 16:39:36 -0500
Message-ID: <cf7cfbbdbcc556b0aed444f02cd31791cb840993.camel@fromoldbooks.org>
To: "W3C Credentials CG (Public List)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
On Tue, 2020-12-15 at 10:15 +0000, George Lund wrote:
> Clarity of language is even more important when communicating with
> people whose first language isn't English, not less so - the
> "symbols" thing is just wrong I think.

In any given situation there are likely to be places where Dave Winer's
"rules" don't apply. He was writing for a particular sort of
standardisation (of RSS) at a particular time.

When it comes to language and clarity, a lot depends on the state of
maturity of the tech being standardized. A new spec needs adoption, or
it helps no-one. So, the shorter and eaiser to read the spec, the

Later on, when there are multiple implementations, increasing
interpoerablity is often more important than increasing adoption, and
then you need a spec that uses more precise language. At that point, it
becomes important to introduce each section very clearly before getting
into the previse wording.

This is one reason why i always advised Working Groups to steer clear
of a "primer": you hear people say, "Oh, we can explain tha tin the
primer later" and write incomprehensible prose. But if a spec needs a
primer, it sounds more complex to outsiders, too. Instead, make the
spec itself include clear prose.


Liam Quin, https://www.delightfulcomputing.com/
Available for XML/Document/Information Architecture/XSLT/
XSL/XQuery/Web/Text Processing/A11Y training, work & consulting.
Barefoot Web-slave, antique illustrations:  http://www.fromoldbooks.org
Received on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 21:40:11 UTC

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