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RE: SVGWG SVG-in-HTML proposal (Was: ISSUE-41: Decentralized extensibility)

From: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 01:18:59 -0400
To: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <023401c8f2cc$efe1c520$cfa54f60$@com>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-html-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Ian Hickson
> Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 5:08 PM
> To: Justin James
> Cc: 'HTML WG'
> Subject: RE: SVGWG SVG-in-HTML proposal (Was: ISSUE-41: Decentralized
> extensibility)
> On Wed, 30 Jul 2008, Justin James wrote:
> >
> > Wasn't one of your major objections to the ARIA proposal the lack of
> > transparency in their process?
> No, I said:
> > >  1. ARIA isn't being developed in the open. It is unlikely that we
> would
> > >     adopt wholesale anything that wasn't developed in a completely
> open
> > >     manner, with open public participation and a completely public
> > >     feedback loop.
> Open participation with an open feedback loop doesn't require that the
> editors write down every fleeting thought they have about their spec.

I agree. But it means that if a *decision* was made, that it be done *in
public* and *with public input*. Therefore, any decisions made before the
formation of a public group, were not "open". So if those decisions were
going to be made outside of the public view, than you need to accept that
the "open" and "public" debate is going to challenge those decisions from
time-to-time, and if you are working for this spec to have been developed in
an "open" and "public" manner, then you need to be willing to seriously
consider challenges to decisions that were made prior to the formation of
this group.

It seems that at least once a week, someone gets fairly upset over something
in the spec, and the response is typically along the lines of referring to
one of these pre-public working group decisions. I think that this is a
strong indicator of a serious problem. The common denominator here is the
way in which these decisions were made. I really don't see people getting
upset over decisions that were made since this group was formed.
> > I think that the group would appreciate an explanation that helps us
> to
> > understand why the base assumptions of HTML 5 can be "considered
> > carefully" but "not documented", but we won't work with another group
> > that is transparent?
> The "base assumptions" of HTML5 are widely documented, e.g. in the
> aforementioned whitepaper, in the "design principles" document, etc.
> It's
> just the pros and cons of proposals and their variants that often ends
> up
> underdocumented.

Documenting the base assumptions is not the same thing as developing them in
an "open" and "public" manner. I think that this is the fundamental problem
that myself, and a great number of other people on this list are having
here. Decisions were made behind closed doors, and now people challenge them
and the response is, "but this was documented." It may have been documented,
but it was not discussed by *this group*. It was discussed by you and a few
other people, all of whom seem to work for a very small group of companies
and organizations. I am not one for conspiracy theories, but if you take a
look at things from the outsider's perspective, I think you would agree that
there is certainly the *appearance* that a few major organizations are
having their voices heard and that this group gets ignored when those ideas
are challenged.

Your views on "consensus" are now a matter of public record. But it all too
often feels like this group is merely a "show trial"; when we rubber stamp
the pre-made decisions, great, and when we don't, oh well. I truly hope that
this is not the reality. If this is not what is actually happening, then we
as a group need to see that our input is actually valued, even when it is
contrary to the assumptions and decisions that were generated before the
formation of this group. And the way we can see that our input is valued is
for it to actually get into the draft, above and beyond us finding typos or
minor inconsistencies. And if this working group really is just a "show
trial", then I am sure that the group would like to know, so that we can
stop bothering to read the dozens of emails that this group generates, and
cease wasting our time trying to participate.

I joined this group in the hopes of having the chance to reverse the course
of HTML 5, which when I read the initial public draft, I was absolutely
appalled by. Indeed, you invited me to this group in response to my public
comments on that draft. But if the decisions and assumptions made before the
creation of this group are considered immutable, then I really can't see
what the purpose of this group is.

Received on Thursday, 31 July 2008 05:20:04 UTC

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