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Mailing Lists (was Re: Evolving AppCache discussions)

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2012 19:21:34 -0700
Cc: "HTML WG (public-html@w3.org)" <public-html@w3.org>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, "Sam Ruby (rubys@intertwingly.net)" <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Message-id: <DCD4F442-1440-43FF-9F37-75A5B2FCB33F@apple.com>
To: Adrian Bateman <adrianba@microsoft.com>

Hi Adrian,

I like the idea of taking up new work on AppCache. Let me comment for a moment on just the mailing list aspect of your proposal (and thus changing the subject line):

On Sep 7, 2012, at 9:45 AM, Adrian Bateman <adrianba@microsoft.com> wrote:

> Since there are some people who wish to participate in this work but only engage in this
> one activity, the consensus of our small group in Mountain View was to propose a new mailing list
> (public-html-appcache) to host the discussion (in a similar way to the public-html-media list).

I am worried that the increasing proliferation of mailing lists is not good for the HTML WG.

We currently have (excluding administrative and obsolete lists):
* public-canvas-api
* public-html
* public-html-a11y
* public-html-media
* public-html-testsuite

And I expect more proposals to keep coming.

I understand the benefit to participants who are highly focused on one specific technology area - they can have a focused conversation and ignore everything else. However, I think there are some downsides:

* Multiple lists tend to fragment the conversation. People may discuss the same topic in multiple places and miss each other's comments.
* Anyone who wants to follow all of the WG's technical work has to subscribe to many lists, and must keep subscribing to more as new ones are created.
* As meaty technical discussion spreads into the focused lists, the general list has less useful technical discussion, and becomes more a venue solely for administriva and noise.

Other Working Groups with many deliverables have faced a similar problem. A pattern that I feel works well is using a single mailing list, and using subject line tags in brackets. For example, the CSS WG does this with their public www-style list, and the Web Apps WG does this with their public-webapps list. This way, it is easy for people interested in only one or a few subjects to filter. But it is also easy to follow everything. And we reduce the risk of fragmenting the conversation, or of the main list appearing dead.

Therefore, I propose we move to the following approach to mailing lists:

* public-html for discussion of the following specs, with the following subject tags:
    HTML5: [HTML5]
    Media Stream Extensions: [MSE]
    Encrypted Media Extensions: [EME]
    Canvas 2D Context: [Canvas]
    HTML Microdata: [Microdata]
    Discussion of the Polyglot Markup spec: [Polyglot]
    Discussion of HTML5: techniques for providing useful text alternatives: [Alt-Techniques]
    HTML to Platform Accessibility APIs Implementation Guide: [HTML-AAPI]
    HTML5 Differences from HTML4: [HTML5-Diff]
    HTML5: Edition for Web Authors: [HTML5-Author]
    HTML: The Markup Language: [Markup]
    AppCache extensions proposals: [AppCache]
    HTML.Next proposals that do not yet have their own tag or spec: subject tag of [HTML.Next]

* Discussion of the test suite: public-html with a subject tag of [Testsuite]
* Working-group-wide announcements: [HTMLWG]
* Discussion of Accessibility Task Force matters: public-html-a11y (since this is actually a proper joint Task Force, and for historical reason its participants wanted a safe space for discussion)

public-canvas-api, public-html-media, and public-html

I think this approach gets you the best of both worlds - most of the advantages of split mailing lists and of a unified mailing list at the same time.

I'm interested in hearing what WG members think of this approach. Also I think lowercase subject tags would be fine too, if that is what WG members prefer.

Received on Thursday, 13 September 2012 02:22:01 UTC

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