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Re: Request to halt the heartbeat publication of HTML5 WG Draft

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 02:13:06 +0000 (UTC)
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Cc: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1006090208090.28132@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Sat, 5 Jun 2010, privately, and then again on Tue 8 Jun 2010, publicly, 
Sam Ruby wrote:
> The change cited below adds the following to the WHATWG draft:
> +   <li>The W3C version omits a paragraph of implementation advice for
> +   political reasons.</li>
> And the following to the W3C draft:
> +  <p>The specification published by the WHATWG is not identical to
> +  this specification. The main differences are that the WHATWG version
> +  includes features not included in this W3C version: some features
> +  have been omitted as they are considered part of future revisions of
> +  HTML, not HTML5; and other features are omitted because at the W3C
> +  they are published as separate specifications. There are also some
> +  minor differences. For an exact list of differences, please see the
> +  WHATWG specification.</p>
> To have the W3C specification refer readers to another specification for an
> exact list of differences,

I'm happy to include the exact list of differences in the W3C spec if you 
think that's better. I just figured listing them would somewhat defeat the 
point of having the differences -- there's no point removing a paragraph 
and then saying we removed it, right? But still, I'm getting more and more 
questions about how the specs are different, so I needed an answer 
somewhere. Having added it, it seemed weird to have the W3C version not 
acknowlege it. Why would we pretend the WHATWG version didn't exist?

> and to have that other specification indicate that the omission was due 
> to political reasons is intolerable.

If you don't want the spec to say that the omission was for political 
reasons, then don't make the omission for political reasons. I've asked 
you (off-list) for an explanation of the reason, you haven't provided one. 
(I'll ask again publicly.)

The explanation you did provide is clearly political:


You explicitly say that there's no evidence that the text is good, and 
then assert without evidence that the text is bad. I can't really imagine 
a more political double-speak argument. I'm frankly embarassed to even be 
involved in these kinds of shenanigans.

Seriously, look at the e-mail above. From the paragraph that says "We have 
a change proposal": You dismiss the "there's no problem" camp as just a 
change proposal, then say that there's "plenty of input" that there _is_ a 
problem -- despite (a) not having done any kind of poll to determine which 
position was most widely held, (b) not having noticed that there are more 
change proposals in favour of there not being a problem than there being a 
problem, and (c) explicitly saying that the quantity of arguments was to 
be ignored.

Then you say "We have partial refutations of a number of these problems, 
which we will grant... but only as far as they go." which says nothing, 
and is contradicted completely by the very next paragraph which says that 
Matt's point is wrong. Then in the next paragraph you say that only points 
with evidence should be considered, and in the paragraph after that, you 
defer to uncited, undocumented, and unsupported claims that there exists a 
_belief_ in one direction, which you then say is a strong objection!

Could there _be_ a more blatently political argument? It's not even 
internally self-consistent!

I stand by what the WHATWG spec says here. It's the truth. If you don't 
like being called on your political decisions, then don't make political 
decisions, make technical ones instead.

There are plenty of ways you could have made the same decision without it 
being a political decision. For example, you could have asserted that it 
is the chair's opinion that specifications should not contain 
implementation advice of this nature, and that therefore all such advice 
should be removed. I would not describe such a decision as political. I 
would disagree with it, but I would respect it and would make every effort 
to consistently apply this decision to the spec and would not call it 
political in the WHATWG draft -- I would simply say that the W3C draft was 
written with that policy and that the WHATWG one used a different policy.

> A number of people objected to a paragraph on image analysis heuristics, 

...but provided no evidence to support their position.

> and as such, we asked for rationale for this paragraph.

...which was provided multiple times and is in any case self-evident (as 
others pointed out when you sent this e-mail privately). Selectively 
chosing to ignore that rationale is political behaviour.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 02:13:40 UTC

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