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[Bug 13479] Document conformance/validity has to be stable over the time

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 16:15:33 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1QoHcz-0004lC-Rv@jessica.w3.org>

--- Comment #6 from Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3cbug@gmail.com> 2011-08-02 16:15:32 UTC ---
(In reply to comment #4)
> I disagree. If something is harmful, it should affect conformance
> retroactively.

If something was originally valid but become invalid, in most cases that should
mean that it wasn't harmful originally but became harmful later, perhaps
because better alternatives became reliably supported.  E.g., a page written in
1996 using <font> was written according to best practices at the time, and it's
harmless to leave it as-is.  Authors should be encouraged to avoid <font> in
all new pages, but there's no reason to encourage them to remove it from old
pages that are already stable, especially since that's extremely burdensome if
you have lots of pages.

This is especially true because one major use of conformance checking is to
gauge how knowledgeable the page author was.  People who make assumptions about
the quality of a page based on its conformance will be misled if it became
non-conforming retroactively.  You might argue that this is misuse of
conformance checking, but I'd disagree: whether the author bothered to use a
validator tells you something about them.

Of course, none of this is to say that conformance requirements have to be
absolutely set in stone.  If there are outright bugs or serious oversights,
those can be applied retroactively.  But not stuff like "you shouldn't be doing
X anymore now that there are better ways to do it".

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Received on Tuesday, 2 August 2011 16:15:35 UTC

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