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Re: w3process-ISSUE-124 (WHATWG-blacklist): Normative Reference policy should explicitly black list WHATWG specs [Normative Reference Policy]

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 17:25:32 +0000 (UTC)
To: "David (Standards) Singer" <singer@apple.com>
cc: public-w3process <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <alpine.DEB.2.00.1410071706550.12123@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 7 Oct 2014, David (Standards) Singer wrote:
> I am saying that if you want a change of title, then the people who need 
> the document get to change the title.

I don't see how that follows.

> “Stable URL specification for those who do not wish to be at the mercy 
> of arbitrary changes by unaccountable people.”

The problem is that having a snapshot doesn't do anything to safeguard 
people from arbitrary changes by unaccountable people.

Here are some examples:

 - The URL RFCs didn't change the syntax in a substantial way (except 
   for adding IRIs) for years. Yet, browsers were all forced to follow 
   each other's implementations until they converged on key points not 
   described in those mostly fixed specs.

 - HTML had a fixed snapshot in 1999, but again, vendors implemented 
   something different than what was in that spec. Anybody trying to 
   target HTML4 is still at the mercy of the unaccountable browser 

 - CSS defined how Web pages should render on handsets, yet Apple made 
   Mobile iOS ignore those rules and instead implement a different model 
   with "desktop" pages being lied to about the device dimensions.

Note that in each case, the "unaccountable people" aren't even editing the 
specs. Spec writers have basically no power here. If someone writes a spec 
that is truly "arbitrary", it just gets ignored. (This is why the WHATWG 
allows people to fork our specs. If we _do_ do something truly arbitrary, 
then we _are_ accountable: anyone can go ahead and fork our specs and do a 
better job.)

> Look, the ideal way to reference a specific version of a document is to 
> quote its revision in the repository.

Reference for what purpose?

For the purpose of implementors, that's not a good way to reference 
another spec at all, since you have to reference the latest fixes, not 
some arbirary earlier fixed point.

For the purposes of the CG FSA, that's not a good way to reference the 
spec source either, since the contract refers to a fixed page.

> So which is it?  Intentionally pejorative and insulting, or not?

It's intentionally pejorative, it's certainly not intentionally insulting. 
I've no idea who it would insult.

(It is pejorative because it "expresses disapproval", specifically of 
referencing the spec for implementor purposes. It's not pejorative in the 
sense of expressing contempt.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 7 October 2014 17:25:55 UTC

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