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[Bug 28015] Vague references – $N versus 5000 x $N

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2015 15:58:52 +0000
To: public-qt-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-28015-523-KBQD1Yynuj@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=28015

Jim Melton <jim.melton@acm.org> changed:

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--- Comment #10 from Jim Melton <jim.melton@acm.org> ---
Patrick, I'm responding both as co-chair of the XML Query WG *and* as somebody
who has been deeply involved in de jure standardization for three decades, as
well as editor of an extremely large suite of standards (ISO/IEC 9075, Database
Language SQL). 

I'm deeply sympathetic to the concern you've raised.  As you implied, it's a
common concern amongst many standards, probably most standards in the ICT
field.  However, as you well know, standardization is a delicate balancing act
of tensions in multiple dimensions.  One of those dimensions is, of course,
cost vs benefit, to which you alluded in your initial comment. 

Another is the classic problem of "good, fast, and cheap -- pick two" (in this
case, "good" represents quality of specification, "fast" represents the length
of time to develop the specification, and "cheap" represents the cost of
developing the spec). 

Yet a third is time-to-publication vs value-to-implementers -- a more valuable
spec (in, for example, the terms you suggest in your initial comment) almost
certainly guarantees a delay in publication.  That delay is not necessarily
reduceable by adding more resources (see "The Mythical Man-Month"), but a
sufficiently long delay may well make the standard no longer timely, either
because implementers have gone ahead and implemented *something* or because
they've decided to go an entirely different direction. 

Because my full-time job for the last 30 years has been standardization, and
particularly editing the SQL standard, I have had the luxury of paying
incredible attention to details of the kind that seem to concern you.  Almost
nobody else on the planet involved in data management standards has that
luxury, and our increasingly limited resources in the XML Query WG and XSLT WG
do not include anybody whose full time job is QT standards. 

With both sympathy and respect for your view and your comments, I have to say
that I do not believe that it is possible for us to head in the direction you'd
like us to go (with respect to this bug, at least).  If you were able to join
the WG, we would happily accept the additional resources you might be able to
offer to pursue this direction.  Without that, we are simply unable to respond
favorably at this point in the development of XQuery and its associated
documents. 

Sorry!
   Jim

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