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Re: CfC: Publish HTML5 Microdata as First Public Working Draft and a new HTML5 Working Draft

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 09:02:22 -0800
Cc: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, HTML WG Public List <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <FD9F1C61-1CB5-469F-AE67-9145BEBCA673@apple.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

On Jan 11, 2010, at 6:17 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:

> One possible compromise would be to have a WG decision that we  
> publish it
> independently for now, but established clear objective criteria under
> which the spec would automatically become a part of the main HTML5  
> spec
> again. For example, we could say that if three browsers with more  
> than 1%
> usage share according to the Wikipedia "Usage share of web browsers"  
> pie
> chart each shipped support for the Microdata API in their consumer  
> release
> builds, that we would automatically add the feature back in. Or we  
> could
> find some metric based on large sites publishing data using  
> Microdata, or
> something else.

I thought about this proposal and I have a few comments:

1) It would have been useful to have this proposal on the table before  
the decision was made, as it would have opened up additional  
possibilities in the solution space. I would like to entertain this  
notion. But now that the WG Decision has been entered, it's hard for  
me to treat it as anything but an attempt to reopen without new  
information. I will ask my co-chairs if in their judgment the  
suggestion itself constitutes new information. I would like to give it  
consideration, but I don't see how that's possible in the W3C Process.  
And I think it would undermine the finality of decisions.

2) We do already have a WG Decision that Microdata will be published  
independently. While I am not personally picky about the title, I  
think attempting to directly and blatantly present Microdata as "an  
integral part of HTML5" is not compliant with the spirit of the  
decision. It shouldn't have to be a fresh negotiating point to  
actually implement the decision.

3) If Microdata does gain a great deal more market success (and I  
personally hope it will), then per the decision itself that would  
constitute a reason to reopen the issue. But I don't think the Working  
Group can precommit to a specific quantitative threshold for reversing  
the decision. Making firm decisions based on hypothetical future facts  
does not seem like a good idea. Furthermore, it's not just the numbers  
that matter but the context. For example, if Microdata use grows  
tenfold, that would be pretty impressive, but if RDFa usage grows a  
hundredfold in the same time period, then Microdata's growth would  
look less impressive. I think we've been pretty consistent in not  
precommitting the group to future decisions based on conditions that  
do not yet exist.

4) I think it's somewhat silly to make a last stand over whether the  
digit "5" appears in the title. For people who are not fully happy  
with the split (and that includes myself to some extent), I think most  
feel that just in the separation, whatever damage is feared has been  
done. And it's not going to be somehow reversed through clever choice  
of titles or SotD wording. Please let's just accept this decision and  
move on instead of dragging it out. What Microdata needs now is  
implementation, deployment, and advocacy. I will personally be doing  
what I can to help Microdata succeed on these fronts.

> The point is that if the reason for excluding Microdata from HTML5  
> really
> is that it isn't mature nor a market success yet, then that should  
> mean
> that we can agree that if it becomes mature and a market success, it
> should become part of HTML5 again. And if we do agree on that, we  
> should
> decide on objective criteria now, so that we don't move the  
> goalposts later.

Note that these criteria were applied both in absolute terms and  
relative to RDFa. This makes it well nigh impossible to set a  
quantitative threshold. My feeling is that if facts on the ground  
truly do invalidate the basis of the decision, it will be reconsidered  
in good faith.

Received on Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:02:59 UTC

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