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Re: Publication of VC API as VCWG Draft Note

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2022 10:42:43 +0100
Cc: Mike Jones <Michael.Jones@microsoft.com>, Orie Steele <orie@transmute.industries>, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, W3C Credentials CG <public-credentials@w3.org>, Brent Zundel <brent.zundel@avast.com>, Kristina Yasuda <Kristina.Yasuda@microsoft.com>
Message-Id: <57DA1C46-F499-485C-99DA-BA170050BB3B@w3.org>
To: Tobias Looker <tobias.looker@mattr.global>
Sorry for the late reply, Tobias. See below.

> On 20 Nov 2022, at 19:16, Tobias Looker <tobias.looker@mattr.global> wrote:
> Ivan,
> I appreciate this nuance too, however if you review the current draft
> https://msporny.github.io/vc-api-vcwg-note/ <https://msporny.github.io/vc-api-vcwg-note/>
> Specifically section 1.3 it speaks about the treatment of normative and non-normative sections in the document. Which conflicts with the entire intent of a note in this WG (has to be non normative). There are 9 occurrences of the word "normative" in the document to date, its entire structure is not conducive to being represented as a note. The document is designed to be standards track and the unaware reader will interpret it as such even if the WG's formal treatment of it is to interpret its contents as non-normative.

(Note that I do not argue neither con or pro the proposal. It is not my place and role to do that.)

You are right that there is a fine line here. However, per W3C process, if the document is published as a WG note, it will not happen without a change. The standard boilerplate that the W3C publication rules ask for (and respec generates automatically) include statements that must be part of a note's status section; an example can be seen in, for example, in

https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-multi-rend-11/#sotd <https://www.w3.org/TR/epub-multi-rend-11/#sotd>

The status of document section makes clear that the document is not rec, that there is no patent protection, it is not endorsed by W3C members, etc. The group has also the possibility of making even stronger statements in that section of it so wishes.

The boilerplate also includes a reference to the W3C Note track:

https://www.w3.org/2021/Process-20211102/#note-track <https://www.w3.org/2021/Process-20211102/#note-track>

which gives some more details about what the notes are all about.

Bottom line: the process does include means to avoid a misinterpretation of the document. It is up to the WG to decide whether that is enough in this particular case.

> Can you comment on the surrounding text that precedes the description of the VC API, specifically the words "developer guide". The charter certainly does not read as if defining an entire VC exchange API is what was intended in published notes. If this text is not binding then what purpose does it serve in the charter? The implication of that being that we can publish anything as a WG.

I am not sure I follow what you say. What the charter says is exactly what came up earlier: the WG does not have the right to publish a normative document on API, ie, a recommendation (a.k.a. Web standard) on an API. Whether this particular document looks too much like a normative specification or not, is to be judged by the WG (and, possibly, convince the Director who has to approve the publication).

In general, indeed, a WG has quite some leeway to publish documents under the note track.

I hope this helps,



> Thanks,
> Tobias
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> From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
> Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2022 7:16:36 PM
> To: Mike Jones <Michael.Jones@microsoft.com>
> Cc: Orie Steele <orie@transmute.industries>; Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>; W3C Credentials CG <public-credentials@w3.org>; Brent Zundel <brent.zundel@avast.com>; Kristina Yasuda <Kristina.Yasuda@microsoft.com>
> Subject: Re: Publication of VC API as VCWG Draft Note
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Ivan Herman, W3C
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Received on Tuesday, 22 November 2022 09:42:55 UTC

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