Re: The harm that can come if the W3C supports publication of competing specs

On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM, Philip Jägenstedt <> wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Jan 2010 17:06:18 +0100, Shelley Powers <>
> wrote:
>> I do not work for an implementor, which seems to imbue one with super
>> human markup skills, so you'll have to excuse me if what I perceive
>> support for competing standards by the same standards organization
>> seems to me to be, well, forgive my frankness, the dumbest thing the
>> W3C has done since blink.
> The only reasonable alternative is to publish no standard at all.

No, the only reasonable alternative is for the W3C to continue the
path it has begun many years ago.

>> What really irritates me, and I'm going to toy around the edges with
>> this thought in order to be "politically expedient", is that Microdata
>> was nothing more than a counter to RDFa. It was proposed by a person
>> who doesn't believe in metadata; it's supported by people who don't
>> believe in metadata, and as far as I can see, the only thing these
>> folks believe in, is they don't like RDFa.
> Please stop this nonsense of trying to assign intents and views to the
> supporters of microdata, we are perfectly capable of expressing and
> defending those ourselves. I personally happen to have an unhealthy
> attachment to certain types of metadata and have spent ridiculous amounts of
> my private time adding and editing data at e.g. MusicBrainz. However,
> whether or not I "believe in metadata" is completely irrelevant, as are the
> private views of the editor, RDFa supporters, yourself or anyone else.

My opinion has history to back it: I didn't see that a Microdata like
solution was ever proposed before Microdata was unceremoniously dumped
into HTML5.

Regardless, the W3C established a course to follow years back. To
seemingly imply the creation of two non-compatible paths now, will
cause confusion, will disrupt the progress we have made.

Frankly, I would rather pull both the RDFa in HTML document and not
publish the Microdata document. I believe it would be better to have
neither, then to introduce conflict. And I know I will make the RDFa
folks unhappy with this suggestion, but publishing both makes no

>> All of this combined will have the end result of convincing people to
>> do _nothing_ about metadata, rather than have to deal with our
>> squabbles; a result which, frankly, probably also suits the Microdata
>> folks, since at least RDFa won't be used. Microdata has, in effect,
>> become a poison pill for metadata.
> Please come back when you have an example of this actually happening. If it
> does happen that would be unfortunate, but some initial turbulence when
> there are competing technologies can hardly be avoided. What you are asking
> for is that we support exactly one standard, which it is abundantly clear is
> not going to happen.

There is no room for competing specifications within the same
standards organization.

Frankly, isn't this the reason why many people wanted the W3C to make
a decision on HTML5 as compared to XHTML2? Because two competing works
were causing confusion?

So, the W3C makes a decision that has caused a lot of consternation,
but does so in the interests of reducing confusion, only to turn
around and do it yet again?

>> We saw nothing
>> more than a couple of trial implementations when Microdata was in
>> HTML5, a couple of blog posts--tepid enthusiasm, because Microdata
>> proponents don't really believe in metadata.
> It's hardly reasonable to expect deployment to happen in the short time
> microdata had in HTML5. For obvious reasons browser vendors cannot make
> promises of implementation, but unless something dramatic changes it seems
> likely that microdata will get implemented. Authors will adopt it when it
> gives them tangible benefits, such as integration with native calendar
> applications and to a lesser extent the DOM API itself.

We already have tangible benefits from RDFa -- why on earth wouldn't
we following on an existing path? Build on the existing momentum?
Improve what we have, rather than break it all, and start anew?

Folks here in this group criticized XHTML2 for disregarding the past,
not being accountable for existing effort, for supporting something
all new and supposedly markup pure. Now, we're doing the same for
metadata, and Microdata.

Why? Seriously, why? Why would this group work to eliminate one path
to confusion, only to open another? Why wouldn't those interested in
metadata, work to improve what already exists, rather than breaking
existing implementations for something new, unproven, and supposedly
based on some level of supposed technical purity?

I have no doubts that Microdata will be published as a FPWD,
regardless of who objects. But I think it's important to establish
that not everyone in this group agrees. And that anything beyond FPWD
will not occur without strenuous objections.

I also hope that this group considers what it will mean when links to
both the RDFa document, and Microdata are included in the front page
for this Working Group, when both are considered to be competitive,
rather than complimentary specifications. W3C members may know what
FPWD means, but most web workers will not.

> --
> Philip Jägenstedt


Received on Saturday, 16 January 2010 17:48:30 UTC