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Re: [HTMLWG] CfC: Adopt "Plan 2014" and make some specific related decisions

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 09:55:22 +0300
Message-ID: <CAJQvAuebnELxpfqfd2gNcYp7tD-qVoZv_MWnK+qS4ZEkLv85vQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 8:27 PM, Jirka Kosek <jirka@kosek.cz> wrote:
> On 15.10.2012 14:35, Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> CR exit criteria. For each new feature, the trunk from which the HTML
>> WG cuts release branches may be maintained by the WHATWG or by another
>> Community Group. The HTML WG will focus on getting releases branches
>> to REC and won’t position itself as a venue for developing new
>> features.”
> From one point of view this makes sense and given the legacy behind
> current HTML5 development and maintenance it's de facto status for now.
> But in a long term I would prefer HTML WG would be single point where
> new features gets speced. If such model can work for all other W3C
> technologies I don't see any reason why it couldn't work for HTML.

Legacy is important data for assessing Bayesian probability. Even
though it would be rational to dismiss the probability of an airplane
crash as so insignificant that one doesn’t need to avoid air travel
because of crashes, it would not be rational to conclude that it is
therefore safe to board a plane that you see is broken. In the case of
the HTML WG, there's a track record that code goes back to 2007. In
the case of the WHATWG, that's a track record that goes back to 2004.
I think that as a venue for doing technical work to develop new Web
features, the track record of the HTML WG is net-negative, while the
track record of the WHATWG is net-positive. It would be an error to
ignore these track records and merely reason from the average
performance Working Groups.

The inclusion of civility enforcement as part of the Plan is an
encouraging sign that the track record of the HTML WG might be about
to change. However, after years of bad track record at providing an
environment that would be suitable for pleasant development of new
features, I think it would be imprudent to endorse the HTML WG as a
venue for such work at this time. At minimum, I think it would be
prudent to take time to observe how the HTML WG performs in its task
to get HTML5 to Recommendation before endorsing the HTML WG as a venue
for new feature development.

> On the other hand
> your proposal gives rather exclusive position to WHAT WG.

I was careful in my formulation to avoid exclusivity in favor of the
WHATWG. In particular, for the existing feature set, I included a
provision that would continue to allow Working Group Decisions to
override the WHATWG even though feature updates would presumptively
come from the WHATWG. For new features, my formulation put the WHATWG
and other Community Groups on equal footing.

> It makes sense
> as WHAT WG and especially Ian made extensive amount of work producing
> WebApps and then HTML5 spec.

The extensive amount is not the key thing. The quality of the work
overall (despite some misses) and what it has been like to participate
in that work are the key things.

> But WHAT WG should also try to
> understand why for many people it is unacceptable to live in a situation
> where future of the Web evolution is in hands of closed organization
> which can't be controlled and new members are invitation-only. For many
> people this is unacceptable from principle, irrespectively of how good
> or bad is such organization in developing new HTML features.

The invitation-only part of the WHATWG has been the steering committee
that has the power of editor impeachment. At the W3C, seats on the AC
are available in exchange for money (and, as I understand it, *only*
in exchange for money). One might as well have a principled problem
with that.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 06:55:51 UTC

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