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Re: Who is the Intended Audience of the Markup Spec Proposal?

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 10:12:25 -0500
Message-ID: <497F2459.1040809@intertwingly.net>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
CC: public-html <public-html@w3.org>

Jonas Sicking wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 5:05 PM, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net> wrote:
>>> We do need to decide if and how to split up the spec. But I didn't see the
>>> previous discussion getting us there.
>> The way I'd like to proceed is based on concrete issues raised against
>> concrete proposals.  The devil truly is in the details.  The wider and
>> earlier that such reviews can take place, the sooner we can get all this
>> behind us.
> I guess Mikes draft counts as one such proposal.


> It would definitely
> be nice to have some ground rules for what such a proposal should
> contain

Minimum the W3C imposes:


At the bottom of this note I present a few additional ideas I'd like to
see this Work Group adopt.

> (such as a description of what the draft is intended to
> contain, not to contain, problems it solves, target audience,

  Nice to have, but not necessary.

   "...Consensus is not a prerequisite for approval to publish; the
   Working Group MAY request publication of a Working Draft even if it is
   unstable and does not meet all Working Group requirements.

The above notwithstanding, addressing the areas that Jonas cited is
certainly a requirement that a document would need to meet before
proceeding beyond that WD status, and editors would be well advised to
address such issues early.

I'll note that Ian has indicated that he wishes to defer addressing
related issues raised with section 1.5.4 to 3Q09.  This is entirely
consistent with a proposal that is being pursued with the intention of
becoming a W3C Candidate Recommendation in 2012.

> if the
> proposal is intended to be published in addition to, or instead of
> parts or the whole of the current draft, etc)

By "the current draft", I'm assuming that you are referring to "HTML 5
A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML".  I think it is
important for everybody to fully understand and appreciate the status of
that document:

   "...This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or
   obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to
   cite this document as other than work in progress."

   "...In general, Working Groups embark on this journey with the intent
   of publishing one or more Recommendations. However, W3C MAY end work
   on a technical report at any time, or MAY require a Working Group to
   conduct further work, possibly repeating one or more steps..."

The same status would be associated with any documents that proceed to
FPWD status in this or any other W3C Work Group.

> and how feedback to
> such a proposal is collected.


> Personally I think it makes more sense to come to some sort of
> agreement that we should proceed with a proposal before we publish
> anything as a WD and spend resources on reviewing and editing the
> details of the proposal.

This is a bazaar, not a cathedral.


> I definitely don't think we should count on
> getting consensus before proceeding with publishing, a group our size
> is unlikely to come to consensus on anything.

As cited above, consensus is not a requirement for approval to publish.

> However some sort of
> agreement I think we need to strive for.

The following proposal is loosely based on what has been proven to work
inside the Apache Software Foundation, a place where projects like the
httpd server and Tomcat happily coexist despite "competing" at a basic
level on the functions they provide.

The first minimum I would like to see is that editors drafts which put
forward as a FPWD have a minimum constituency of one.  By that I mean
that it is a serious proposal that the author genuinely believes in.  In
short: no parodies or satires, please.

The second requirement is that a minimum of three independent, and
established working group participants endorse the publishing of the
document, and will agree to review and comment on the document.

The third and final requirement is that the seriousness of the proposal,
recognition of the participants, and independence of those participants
is something the co-chairs have evaluated and acknowledged.  This is not
meant to be other than routine and procedural, in particular this is not
intended to be the means to evaluate the technical feasibility of the

Note: W3C management may have additional requirements that I do not yet
have a full appreciation for.

  - - -

One additional agreement I would like to see us strive for is that this
mailing list will focus primarily on presenting, discussing, raising
issues with, and resolving concrete issues and proposals, and to the
extent humanly possible, unimpeded by flames and discussions of policy.

At this time it appears that there are one or more participants who
would like to get started on the business of producing a somewhat less
monolithic specification.  Additionally, there appear to be one or more
participants who not only don't wish to participate in such a
discussion, they appear eager to preemptively debate whether or not such
a endeavor is a worthwhile expenditure of time for the people who wish
to pursue it.

If three or more independent and established participants of this
working group indicate that they would like to pursue such a discussion,
I would be inclined to recommend that the W3C produce a new mailing list
to be used as an outlet for this desire.  Any moratoriums that exist on
this mailing list would not carry forward to that mailing list.

> / Jonas

- Sam Ruby
Received on Tuesday, 27 January 2009 15:13:10 UTC

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