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Re: A proposal for establishing an RDFa IG

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2009 22:30:39 -0400
Message-ID: <4A56A7CF.5020704@intertwingly.net>
To: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
CC: RDFa Developers <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Manu Sporny wrote:
> Sam Ruby wrote:
>> I believe we need to work together.  If you are not willing to do that
>> -- and furthermore, if "That's the point of the RDFa IG" --  then lets
>> make this interesting.  I, Sam Ruby, do hereby publicly oppose the
>> formation of such an IG.
> You're opposing a concept that not one of us have put forward... the
> purpose of the RDFa IG is so that we /can/ work together... not so we
> can go off into our own little world and give people "advice".
> The RDFa IG would have a direct hand in editing each language/WG using
> RDFa - that is, if the WG wishes to work with us. Personally, I was in
> agreement with a number of the constraints that you and Doug placed on
> the RDFa IG.

I like the word "would" above (much better than "perhaps" from emails 
past, and it was the proposal in those emails that I object to).

In this email, I have issues with the words /can/ and "us".

Help me do the math.  Mark Birbeck is a member of the HTML working 
group.  I suspect that if he expressed even the slightest bit of 
interest, Doug would induct him into the SVG working group before he had 
an opportunity to change his mind.  Let's further posit that he is 
interested in doing some of this work (in fact, I picked Mark's name 
because it is listed first on [1])...

Lets look first at the word /can/.  From this, I can only conclude that 
you and Ben believe that it would not be possible for Mark to do this 
work without a separate IG.  I am curious as to why you might believe 
that.  Any reason I can figure out ends up being one that I would object to.

Now lets look at the word "us".  Can I join the RDFa IG?  Mark is 
already a member of the HTML WG.  Who is this "us" (and by implication, 
who is the "them") in your world view?

These groups are merely labels.  There effectively isn't any limit to 
the number of labels a person can have.  Mark can simultaneously be in 
the HTML WG, the SVG WG, and even the RDFa IG should one ever come into 
existence.  The number of labels Mark accumulates doesn't give him what 
he really needs, which if he is like most of us, is simply more hours in 
the day.

These labels not only have negligible positive value, they actually can 
have significant negative value.  I cringe when I see people attribute 
nefarious motives to the WHATWG, as if the participants there are of one 
mind and always act in unison.  At this very moment, it is abundantly 
clear that there are significant differences between Rob Sayre and 
Maciej's position on video codecs.  And you know what?  That's healthy.

My first open source project was PHP.  My first post to the mailing list 
was a sketch of an idea integrating PHP and Java.  The response I got? 
"Here is your CVS account".  The prevailing feeling in PHP land at the 
time was that if people screw up, that's what CVS is for.  I'd like to 
see a little more of that attitude here.  Some people will succeed, some 
will fail, but I would much rather have people try and fail than to tell 
people that they aren't allowed to try.

More relevant to this conversation: my second open source project was 
Apache Tomcat, which I became the release manager before.  Up to that 
point, the project was operated like it was owned and operated by Sun 
Microsystems.  On Dec 17, 1999, Jason Hunter (a fellow committer) noted 
that the jakarta.apache.org news page was updated to say that Tomcat 3.0 
was released.  It seems that a number of Sun individuals got together in 
a conference room and decided that since they were about to disappear 
for the holiday it was time to make a release.

I was made the release manager of the next Tomcat release to ensure that 
that never happened again.

Tying this back into HTML... what the HTML WG needs is more individuals, 
and in particular, individuals who are willing to do the work (be it 
writing bug reports to writing spec text to writing test cases to 
whatever).  It doesn't need more labels.  And in particular, when Mark 
participates in the HTML working group he does so as a member of the 
HTML working group.  Any other labels he may also have are irrelevant in 
the context of that work.

I'll close with saying that there are valid reasons to have an IG.  I 
merely submit that "perhaps", /can/, and "us" aren't a part of those 

- Sam Ruby
Received on Friday, 10 July 2009 02:31:29 UTC

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