W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-w3process@w3.org > July 2015

Updating superseded documents with annotations

From: timeless <timeless@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:24:16 -0400
Message-ID: <CACsW8eGP3MUV_dPQhkv2xZk7TAY1JW+WB2Mv2Hw+Vydzu_--Yw@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-w3process <public-w3process@w3.org>
Cc: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>
The 3.0 draft [1] says:
> HTML 3.0 Draft (Exprired! [sic]) Materials

The cover page has a nice notice [2].

Unfortunately, the contents [3] has a much higher search rank and doesn't
have a notice.

The intro [4] could also use a notice:
> How to participate in refining HTML 3.0
Isn't actually correct today, but you wouldn't know from reading it.

Lest you say that 3.0 isn't in rec space and doesn't matter, I'll note that
3.2 [5] doesn't have a note either.

Then there's HTML 4.01 [6][7][8][9] and its errata [10].

At the very least, the errata could say that HTML 4 issues have been
resolved by the publication of HTML 5.

There's also HTML 4.0 [11]:
> Status of this document
> This document has been reviewed by W3C Members and other interested
parties and has been endorsed by the Director as a W3C Recommendation.
> It is a stable document and may be used as reference material or cited as
a normative reference from another document.

I don't think that really describes its status. HTML 4.0 isn't rescinded,
but it's certainly obsolete, if only by HTML 4.01.

> W3C recommends that user agents and authors (and in particular, authoring
tools) produce HTML 4.0 documents rather than HTML 3.2 documents (see
[HTML32]). For reasons of backwards compatibility, W3C also recommends that
tools interpreting HTML 4.0 continue to support HTML 3.2 and HTML 2.0 as

I don't think W3C currently recommends creating HTML 4.0 documents either.

Tim's point applies, most of the pages I'm referencing indicate that you
can still comment/influence the direction of these documents. (Please
ignore the irony of me trying to influence the direction of these
documents, I'm not trying to change their technical content, merely their
social introduction.)

Tim asks:
> How do we make sure these are kept up to date?

One approach would be to have a list like review announce ("old document
review"), and a bot like notifier ("scavenger ").

The bot could pick documents that haven't changed in 5+ years, preferably
by visit count, and send perhaps a (half?) dozen such pages to the list
monthly (it shouldn't send the same URL for review more than once every 17
months*). If it could include a Member link with information about
referrers, that might be helpful.

A basic checklist for reviewers:
1. Is the document obsoleted?
2. Is the document owner (e.g. WG, ML) gone?
3. Does the document suggest discussion that doesn't make sense?
4. Does the document suggest actions or practices which are in fact not
applicable / recommended today?

For 1, identifying the replacement using a block as we do for the Process
document would work.
For 2, a block warning about the issue, noting alternatives if applicable
would work.
For 3, either fixing the status or adding a status block noting that the
status of document section was valid at the time of authoring (list date)
but that it is no longer (list as-of if known), and an updated status
For 4, either fixing the document or adding a section as with 3 but for
current practices -- probably as a link to a catch all instead of including
more text that's likely to become stale.

It might even be possible to have the feedback be a check mark system for
those 4 questions along with a text area for comments, but initially, I
think a ML should work.

* By picking a number that isn't a multiple of 12, there's a better chance
of it being reviewed in a different season the next time. By picking more
than a year, we encourage the system to review a wide range of documents.
If a document is updated in response to the review suggestion, that pushes
the document away from review for 5 years.

[1] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/ <http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/>html3
<http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/>/ <http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/>

[2] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/
[3] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/ <http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/Contents.html>
html3 <http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/Contents.html>/
[4] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/ <http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/intro.html>
html3 <http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html3/intro.html>/
[5] http://www.w3.org/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32.html>TR
[6] http://www.w3.org/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/>TR
[7] http://www.w3.org/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>TR
<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>html4
<http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/>
[8] http://www.w3.org/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/>TR
<http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/>/html401/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/>
[9] http://www.w3.org/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/>TR
[10] http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/
[11] http://www.w3.org/ <http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424/>TR
Paul Cotton wrote:

> How do we make sure these are kept up to date?

Many other standards organizations do “systematic reviews” (ie every five
years) to determine if a standards should be withdrawn or continued to be
used.  Maybe W3C should consider some sort of “systematic review” of
documents published on the TR page?

*From:* Tim Berners-Lee
*Subject:* Re: Superseded warning on 2005 Process Document

Jeff Jaffe wrote:


Great comment.  We now say:

"On 1 August 2014, W3C began a transition away from this document; see
the current W3C Process Document."

This sort of relevant and actually correct comment is the sort of thing I
wish we would learn to put in the status of every document..

These things of course need to be reviewed with time. So while it
interesting to archive the language which was used when something is put
out for comment

It is also useful to note for example later that the time for comments is
over ... The "status of this document at the time of its publication". As
opposed to a styled visibly  pinned on annotation ... How do we make sure
these are kept up to date?
Received on Friday, 31 July 2015 12:24:44 UTC

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