W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > January 2009

Re: biased surveys and other tricks

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 16:47:23 -0800
Cc: David Singer <singer@apple.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <CA3A2A7B-9BBC-4720-B3B7-B42A06209936@apple.com>
To: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>

On Jan 28, 2009, at 4:23 PM, Larry Masinter wrote:

> # Do you have an argument for why temporarily proceeding with option  
> (D)  is the best way to keep our options open...
> Maciej,
> Another "straw man argument"  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
> A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on  
> misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw  
> man," one describes a position that superficially resembles an  
> opponent's actual view, yet is easier to refute. Then, one  
> attributes that position to the opponent. For example, someone might  
> deliberately overstate the opponent's position.  While a straw man  
> argument may work as a rhetorical technique-and succeed in  
> persuading people-it carries little or no real evidential weight,  
> since the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.
> Please stop. I have not advocated "temporarily proceeding with  
> option (D)" and have instead suggested that the options be kept  
> explicitly open:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jan/0311.html
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jan/0320.html

I'm not trying to deliberately misrepresent your position, but perhaps  
I misunderstand it. Perhaps you can help me understand better.

Here are the original options presented:

>> A) Publish the HTML5 document and forget the Markup Language document
>> B) Publish the HTML5 document as normative, and the Markup language
>> as informative
>> C) Publish the HTML5 document as normative on semantics and
>> informative on syntax, and markup the other way
>> D) Publish them both as normative

You said we should:

> Publish the Markup Language document as FPWD, and continue to evolve  
> it in a way that leaves all 5 courses of action open.

I take your  to mean the Markup Language document should be published  
essentially as-is, i.e. claiming normativity, but possibly with a  
disclaimer flagging this as an open issue. My conclusion is that  
publishing two overlapping Working Drafts as normative is a step along  
the path towards publishing both documents as normative. It is true,  
as I acknowledged, that we remain free to change our minds, so it is a  
temporary or tentative step. I call this "temporarily proceeding along  
course (D)", even though we also "leave all courses of action open".

Now, let's say that instead the Markup Language document were edited  
to remove all normative language, had a disclaimer added stating that  
this matter was undecided, and was published as FPWD. I would call  
this "temporarily proceeding along course (B)", and I believe it  
equally "leave[s] all courses of action open".

My question  to you is, do you disagree with my assessment that either  
of these ways of proceeding leaves our future options open, or do you  
feel that one leaves our options open more than another? Or,  
alternately, have I misstated what you are proposing?


P.S. I think it is discourteous to imply I am using a strawman  
argument when the point of my email was to ask you to clarify and  
expand on your position. If I misunderstood it, please do correct me,  
but I would not have framed it as a question if I wanted to put words  
in your mouth. I even explicitly said I was open to convincing.
Received on Thursday, 29 January 2009 00:48:04 UTC

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