W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > September 2003

Re: definition of "character"

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2003 08:17:52 -0400
Message-Id: <200309271217.h8RCHqmv006928@roke.hawke.org>
To: Mike Brown <mike@skew.org>
Cc: uri@w3.org


 [I'm torn about whether to take this off list...  But I know I would
 have liked to have read something like this, and people may have
 valuable corrections to what I say, so I'll keep it on list for now.]

> > But suggesting that the editor "should at
> > least make an attempt to define..." is, as far as I can tell, less
> > effective than offering suggested text. I would guess
> > that Roy has attempted to draft text that makes everybody
> > happy some hundreds of times (hmm... thousands, if you
> > count the HTTP spec too); I wouldn't be surprise
> > if he scans messages for suggested text and deletes
> > those that don't have any summarily.
> 
> I seem to have struck a nerve. 
...
> But whatever.  Never mind.

I think you assumed the editors would gracefully appreciate your
suggestion, think about it carefully, and then act appropriately.
That's a perfectly reasonable expectation; reviews and expert
suggestions are quite valuable.

But I think Dan is explaining that with volunteer editors it doesn't
always work that way, and there are way to make your review even more
valuable and more likely to be used.  Giving a concrete suggestion for
text changes is one of those.  (I think it's also true that in coming
up with concrete text, one often comes to understand the problem
better, and the editors know that.  It's kind of like how when you
give up and ask for help solving some bug, in the act of explaining
the bug to the other person you often figure it out.  :-) But as you
point out, you can't really be expected to have their level of
expertise, and be able to rewrite even a part of the spec yourself,
without their years of experience.  Yeah.)

I think I know where the grumpiness is coming from; being an editor is
both an honored, accountable position of authority and an enormous,
tedious, annoying chore.  It's hard to balance those in a volunteer
position.  The W3C has requirements on Working Groups to try to keep
them accountable to the wider community even when they just feel
annoyed; I'm not aware of any such formal requirements at the IETF
(especially when there's not even a WG, as with RFC 2396bis), but I'm
sure the IESG tries to achieve the same effect.  No one wants to
ignore valuable reviews, but still sometimes there are more than
editors have bandwidth to use, so they give most of their attention to
the most obviously-valuable ones.

   -- sandro
Received on Saturday, 27 September 2003 08:22:30 UTC

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