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RE: definition of "character"

From: McDonald, Ira <imcdonald@sharplabs.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2003 12:11:26 -0700
Message-ID: <116DB56CD7DED511BC7800508B2CA537B001CF@mailsrvnt02.enet.sharplabs.com>
To: "'Sandro Hawke'" <sandro@w3.org>, Mike Brown <mike@skew.org>
Cc: uri@w3.org


A concrete proposal (acknowledging Dan's recent point).

I propose that the following text be added under the
(currently empty) section 1.2 Design Considerations:

"This document imports and uses the definitions of the
terms 'character' and 'charset' from [RFC2978]."


[RFC2978] N. Freed, J. Postel. "IANA Charset Registration 
          Procedures", RFC 2978, BCP 19, October 2002.

I suggest that while W3C-Charmod is much more complete
on the character model, RFC 2396 bis is an IETF spec
and the reader usually doesn't care much beyond what
"character" means.

- Ira McDonald
  High North Inc

-----Original Message-----
From: Sandro Hawke [mailto:sandro@w3.org]
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2003 8:23 AM
To: Mike Brown
Cc: uri@w3.org
Subject: Re: definition of "character" 

 [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 15:12:07 UTC

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