W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > September 2013

Standards Making 101 (was: Re: Tradehill Bitcoin exchange shut down for 2nd time in 2 years)

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 22:52:28 -0400
Message-ID: <522E896C.50702@digitalbazaar.com>
To: Ricardo Varela <phobeo@gmail.com>
CC: Web Payments CG <public-webpayments@w3.org>
On 09/09/2013 09:48 AM, Ricardo Varela wrote:
> Some of the existing regulations are there to contemplate "use cases"
> that some projects may not have had to face yet and I think its not
> so wise to quickly disregard them all as "no longer relevant"


> On that note: I think it's important to separate the different areas
> in WebPayments that have to do with payment technologies, regulation,
> and virtual currencies.


> I don't see why we have such a zeal in linking all of those together.
> Are we saying that there will be no WebPayments standard until we
> have fully operational virtual currencies?

Definitely not. I don't think anyone is saying that all of this stuff is
linked together such that we can't make reasonable progress based on the
practicalities of the regulatory environment today.

> In the meantime, my opinion is that it would be good that at least
> some parts of those web payments find their way to real users out
> there, even if they have to be built over the "old" payment
> infrastructures

Yes, absolutely. As we've seen, even most of the virtual/alt currencies
layer over the old payment infrastructure. That's going to be the way it
is for decades to come.

For those of you that are not familiar with the process of creating
world standards, what Ricardo is getting at is very important to

To make progress toward something that will be a world standard takes a
tremendous amount of focused effort. You have to be practical about it,
which means that only a handful of the things we're trying to address
are going to be addressed in the 1.0 specifications. In general:

Troubled standards:

1. Place design purity over practicality (XHTML2)
2. Don't have an active community behind them (GRDDL)
3. Are more complex than the task requires (SOAP)
4. Misunderstand the target audience (RDF/XML)
5. Try to do too much (WSDL)
6. Are created in the Working Group, w/ no industry feedback loop (P3P)
7. Has a timeline that is not restricted (XHTML2)

Successful standards:

1. Are messy, but solve real problems in a pragmatic way (HTML5)
2. Have active communities behind them (CSS3)
3. Are simple, elegant, and reuse what works (JSON)
4. Understand the target audience (HTML5)
5. Are focused (PNG)
6. Are largely done by industry before a Working Group starts (JSON-LD)
7. Has a restricted timeline (less than 4 years) to hit 1.0 (JSON-LD)

If what Ricardo is saying is that we should focus on the latter 6 items
if we want the work that this group is doing to succeed, I couldn't
agree more.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Meritora - Web payments commercial launch
Received on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 02:52:58 UTC

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