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On "Can a publication change over time?"

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2017 12:28:09 +0200
Message-Id: <6EF26F47-DCBA-4E46-A881-19DD60F2D100@w3.org>
To: W3C Publishing Working Group <public-publ-wg@w3.org>
(Apologies for sending this as a separate mail instead of part of the thread. Somehow it seems that the SMTP server went wrong and it complained about a very long header. Sigh…)

Looking back at the whole thread (latecomer's advantage:-) I believe the consensus is:

- there has been several attempt to solve this issue on Web in the past, but there is no one that could be considered as prevalent
- the Web is a messy place, whatever we would require would be violated anyway e.g., because the requirements cannot be formally reinforced anyway
- we should try to concentrate on some minimum viable definition/product for WP for now and avoid trying to solve issues whose full solution would (probably) go way beyond the scope of this WG (or, to reflect to some of Baldur's examples, maybe even beyond the scope of W3C)

I would propose that

1. We close the issue (well, it is not an issue in the github sense, but anyway) by saying that this WG will not deal with this problem, and acknowledges the fact that it cannot really control the changes of the WP's constituent resources. Administratively, I think we should take the habit of formally closing issues like this (and others!) on our telco by voting and recording a formal resolution; this means we can refer back to it later if we wish. It also means that, in practice, we should re-open this issue only if new evidence comes to the fore.

2. As an additional, but secondary though, while reading the thread, is that we may want to publish, at the end of the WG, some sort of a good practice document for publishing WPs as a W3C Note (ie, pretty much an informal document). That document may contain some of the ideas that were put forward during this discussion (usage of signatures or hashes to prove that certain resources has not changed, the subresource integrity approach that Baldur referred to, etc) as such good practices. But we can come back to this later.

The only caveat to #1 which we may also record is that whatever the manifest of a WP will be, it should provide ways, if necessary, to record (meta)data that may be part of the good practices (ie, referring back to #2). But I believe that should not be a problem.



Ivan Herman, W3C 
Publishing@W3C Technical Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
mobile: +31-641044153
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704
Received on Monday, 31 July 2017 10:28:17 UTC

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