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

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2010 08:55:30 -0500
Message-ID: <4C10EED2.7090201@burningbird.net>
To: public-html@w3.org
> On 06/10/2010 07:10 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:
> > On 09.06.2010 03:48, Sam Ruby wrote:
> >> ...
> >> At this time, I am asking that the upcoming heartbeat publication 
> of the
> >> HTML5: A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML Working 
> Draft
> >> be halted until one or both are corrected.
> >> ...
> >
> > My preference would be to eliminate the W3C->WHATWG reference. Those
> > drafts have stopped to be the "same" some time ago, and this WG has no
> > control about what the WHATWG version might say one week from now.
> >
> > That being said: this is part of "Status Of This Document", which should
> > be maintained by the W3C team anyway, right? So how about just fixing
> > that, and proceeding with the publication?
> Current status:
> 1) A change has been made to the WHATWG draft that appears to address
> the core of my objection:
> http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/commit-watchers-whatwg.org/2010/004263.html
> I had a brief conversation with Paul last night, and he was inclined to
> agree.  We are continuing to review this.
> 2) Shelley has raised a Formal Objection:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-comments/2010Jun/0005.html
> Clearly this needs to be resolved at some point, and certainly before
> the document reaches PR, but what precisely is the need to resolve this
> now, and prior to publication of another heartbeat draft?

W3C formality aside, the W3C HTML5 specification referencing the WhatWG 
document as an equal document, when the two are no longer the same and 
the WhatWG contains material that's not reflected in the W3C 
specification, has generated, and continues to generate, confusion in 
the web community. Too often the question is asked: which is the "real" 
specification? Who "owns" the HTML5 effort? That the W3C continues to 
allow this is unconscionable, and a gross violation of its duty to the web.

That the words that instigated the recent freeze on heartbeat 
publication are now gone does not mean they won't re-appear in another 
format tomorrow, or next week, or whenever the HTML WG makes a decision 
that peeves the HTML5 editor. Then the group has to address the issue 
all over again, and nothing ever moves forward. I can understand the 
co-chairs adhering to the letter of the law in the face of the anarchy 
that exists as a constant thread woven throughout this group's effort, 
but at some point in time, tough decisions have to be made for the group 
to truly move forward as a unified whole.

Even now, the Issue 66 decision that demands one paragraph be removed in 
the W3C version of the HTML5 specification is not reflected in the 
WhatWG version of the spec. The co-chairs are worried about snarky 
comments in the status section of the WhatWG document, when all of us 
should be profoundly concerned about the fundamental differences between 
the two specifications, and how this is going to adversely impact on the 
communities this group represents. A "shadow" document condoned by the 
W3C that undermines the decisions made in the W3C HTML WG and causes 
such confusion should be more of a concern to the W3C than a couple of 
bullet points in the status section.

There is a note in the HTML WG charter about both groups working towards 
convergence. However, there is nothing in the charter that states that 
the W3C should enable the WhatWG's action -- or that the HTML5 
specification must maintain a link to a "shadow" HTML5 document, or 
include text that encourages people to report bugs outside of the W3C's 

Turning a blind eye to what is happening with the WhatWG, disregarding 
the confusion and consternation this is causing within the web 
community, isn't working towards convergence: it is taking the path of 
least resistance, while pushing decisions further and further into the 
future, where they will most likely cause even greater disruption.

Formally, the W3C may push this decision off to a later time. Ethically 
and morally, though, the W3C has obligations beyond the rigid rules that 
govern its operation. This procrastination causes harm.

> > Best regards, Julian
> - Sam Ruby
Received on Thursday, 10 June 2010 13:56:08 UTC

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