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Re: References Re: What are the requirements/problems? Re: Working on New Styles for W3C Specifications

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2011 10:38:33 -0500
Message-ID: <4EEA1479.9040704@arcanedomain.com>
To: Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>
CC: Jim Melton <jim.melton@oracle.com>, Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, chairs@w3.org, "spec-prod@w3.org" <spec-prod@w3.org>

On 12/15/2011 5:08 AM, Marcos Caceres wrote:
> I agree. My working assumption is that all specs have bugs, but newer
> versions fix old bugs but introduce new ones. Over time, updated specs
> may have less bugs and eventually stabilise.

No, not foreseeable and avoidable ones. In many cases. Let's say that 
specification S(V1) references Unicode(V1). Now unicode is updated. In many 
cases it's crucial that users of S >not< start using that specification 
with Unicode(V2) until the group responsible for S specifies a way of doing 
so that's secure and interoperable. For that reason, it may be appropriate 
for S(V1) to reference specifically Unicode(V1).

I should say I'm also a bit concerned about the tone of this discussion. I 
respect your opinion on these things, Marcos, and it's possible that in 
some of the cases where we disagree experience may prove you right. 
Nonetheless, the tone of this interaction seems to be that you are setting 
out potentially controversial points of view (e.g. of course forward 
references to specs cause bugs...stuff happens), and are essentially 
setting them up as the default position for discussion. If you are serving 
as de-fact editor for a redesign of W3C specification formats and 
standards, then I think you should solicit opinions on questions like 
biblio conventions in a more neutral way, and where possible, try to go 
with the opinion that either commands consensus, or failing that, best 
matches the full range of current practice. If you have suggestions, that's 
great. Many of the decisions we've been discussing on this thread are 
pretty subtle, involve difficult tradeoffs, and have been the subject of 
long debate by some pretty experienced people for quite awhile. I'd prefer 
we not come at them in a style of: "surely this is the answer, any 
problems?" I'd much rather see a short list of options, with as clear a 
listing as we can get of the pros and cons.

Thank you.

Received on Thursday, 15 December 2011 15:39:06 UTC

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