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

Re: warnings on outdated specs/docs

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:59:43 -0400
To: Birkir Gunnarsson <birkir.gunnarsson@deque.com>
Cc: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>, W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20150325145943.GC2245@opera.rednote.net>
I expect no one would disagree that all our documents need future
proffing to the best of our ability. We think about such things in our
technical specs, and some chairs and some W3C staff have been known to
hold up publication when a document's header is lacking such data as a
date, a copyright notice, pointer to the persistent URI where a latest
version can be found, etc. Even though such bureacratic delays can
sometimes seem persnickety in the moment, they're clearly important for
the long run.

The problem, however, is not documents actively in development so much
as documents that have not had updates in a very long time, yet whose
contents no longer correctly represent their subject. While we should be
able to expect that readers would note publication dates and
automatically suspect a document long unupdated, where the subject
technology is known to be still in development, we can clearly do better
for these old documents, as Steve suggests.

With the particular case of the ARIA Overview document, I take the
suggestion for a warning as good advice and will follow through. We will
the same for other introductory ARIA documents as well, until we are
actually able to update them appropriately.

I should note that we are aware of the problem, and are actively moving
to remedy the situation. However, our plan is to start with the
introductory material in our FPWD and heartbeat specification documents
and move to the introductory and overview documents once the
specification documents are fully updated.


Birkir Gunnarsson writes:
> Yes please.
> The URLs to latest spec of a document are available from any document,
> so an observant person would notice if that URL does not match the URL
> of "this document".
> But that is not explicit enough in my opinion.
> Ideally, every document should have a clear publication date in its
> introduction.
> All documents that are not the latest version should have a warning
> along the lines of
> "This is not the latest version of this document, the latest version
> can be found at x" .. where x is the URL.
> It would add another task to the process of publishing an updated
> document, but it should only take a couple of seconds.
> On 3/25/15, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The w3c has literally thousands and thousands of versions of the many specs
> > that are produced, Every outdated document is a source of possible error,
> > confusion and misinformation for consumers (of all types) of this
> > information.
> >
> > Some adhoc attempts to mitigate the issue has been occuring by individual
> > editors and working groups.
> >
> > Is there a  consortium wide policy to have warnings and associated clearly
> > labelled links to latest versions on documents that are stale? If not can
> > we make this a thing?
> >
> > --
> >
> > Regards
> >
> > SteveF
> > HTML 5.1 <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/>
> >


Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200
		Email:	janina@rednote.net

Linux Foundation Fellow
Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:	http://a11y.org

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Chair,	Protocols & Formats	http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
	Indie UI			http://www.w3.org/WAI/IndieUI/
Received on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 15:00:08 UTC

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