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Issue #691 on .well-known

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2015 18:34:40 -0400
To: "public-csv-wg@w3.org" <public-csv-wg@w3.org>, public-csv-wg-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <5622CD00.60808@dbooth.org>
Having considered this issue further, I am very unhappy with the way 
issue #691 on .well-known has transpired:

  - The WG planned to include an important feature, involving a standard 
URI pattern, which would have been *very* helpful to the user community, 
by helping tools to automatically locate a CSV file's metadata.

  - A concern was raised about whether this standard-URI-pattern feature 
would cause harmful URI squatting.

  - The WG consulted with the TAG, and the TAG suggested that 
.well-known be used instead -- presumably under the assumption that this 
feature would otherwise cause URI squatting.

  - I then looked more closely at the proposed standard-URI-pattern 
feature and discovered that, in spite of first appearances, it would 
*not* actually cause URI squatting.  I carefully explained this in 
detail[1], and asked the TAG to take a deeper look.[4]

  - In spite of my pleas, the TAG perfunctorily refused[3] to reconsider 
its guidance.  In doing so, the TAG provided no evidence to refute my 
explanation, nor did it offer any new rationale for its prior guidance. 
  All recorded evidence suggests that the TAG continued to rely on its 
previous assessment of the issue and did not even realize that URI 
squatting was a red herring in this case.

  - Meanwhile, in deference to the TAG's (flawed) guidance, the WG 
removed the important standard-URI-pattern feature that would have best 
served the user community.  Instead it added the .well-known feature -- 
a kludge at best, which very few CSV publishers would even have the 
ability to use, and which *nobody* has indicated an actual need and 
intent to use.

This stinks.

If .well-known is kept in the spec it will be very hard to remove in the 
future.  Furthermore, all the recorded evidence suggests that its 
addition to the spec was based on an incomplete understanding of the issue.

I think the WG did almost all it could to constructively address this 
issue, and I applaud the WG for its diligence and great work.  However I 
do think it would have helped if the WG had pushed back harder on the 
TAG after the URI squatting issue was shown to be a red herring.

As a courtesy to the WG, I want to give the WG advance notice that I 
intend to do whatever I can to block the adoption of .well-known in this 
spec.  I very much appreciate the work that the WG has done, but I 
believe it would better to *not* take this spec to REC than to include a 
kludgy feature that: (a) does *not* serve the user community; (b) few 
CSV publishers would even be able to use; (c) nobody has indicated a 
need and intent to use; and (d) would be very difficult to remove in the 

David Booth


1. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2015Jun/0026.html

2. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-csv-wg/2015Jun/0085.html


4. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2015Jun/0036.html
Received on Saturday, 17 October 2015 22:35:09 UTC

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