W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-archive@w3.org > January 2008

Re: Dissatisfaction with HTML WG

From: Dean Edridge <dean@55.co.nz>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 04:14:16 +1300
To: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Cc: www-archive@w3.org
Message-id: <47863648.1080807@55.co.nz>

James Graham wrote:
> Dean Edridge wrote:
>> It's unfortunate that I'm forced to bring this up in public, but 
>> since I have already expressed my concerns regarding this group 
>> privately with: Ian Hickson, Anne van Kesteren, Lachlan Hunt, Mike 
>> Smith, Chris Wilson and Dan Connolly, but with no success and no 
>> change in attitude, I obviously need to mention them again here. I've 
>> also made formal complaints with Mike Smith, Chris Wilson and Dan 
>> Connolly regarding the openness and process of this group but those 
>> have not been acted on. I have no option but to make my concerns 
>> publicly known.
>> General concerns regarding the HTML WG and (X)HTML5
>> I'm disappointed to see a lot of anti-XHTML sentiment within the 
>> group considering that this spec is supposed to be both HTML5 and 
>> XHTML5 I would have thought that people could be a bit more open 
>> minded than this. We are, after all, supposed to be "Leading the web 
>> to its full potential" yet some people insist on putting limitations 
>> on the web by restricting it to only text/html.
>> I don't think that the working group and specification is being run 
>> in an objective, democratic and non-biased manner. For example:
>> HTML5 Editor: Ian Hickson (Google)
>> HTML5 Editors assistant: David Hyatt (Apple)
>> HTML5 Design Principals co-editor: Anne van Kesteren (Opera software)
>> HTML5 Design Principals co-editor: Maciej Stachowiak (Apple)
>> HTMLWG staff contact: Mike Smith (ex Opera software)
>> HTMLWG co-chair: Chris Wilson (Microsoft) (Nice guy, but he did put 
>> his name on the first XHTML spec 8 years ago, then prevented over 6 
>> Billion people from being able to use it.)
>> HTML5 (not so democratic or balanced) author guidelines: Lachlan Hunt 
>> (Opera software) Deliberately published his guide with the W3C logo 
>> even though that day there had been several objections to his loose 
>> choice of formatting within the public-html mailing list.
>> The HTMLWG is becoming less and less democratic everyday. It has 
>> become a dictatorship driven by three companies: Google, Apple and 
>> Opera. These companies have there own interest at heart which may or 
>> may not be in the best interest of the open web. Unless one happens 
>> to be an employee (or a friend of an employee) of these companies, 
>> one doesn't seem to have much say in the way that HTML5 and XHTML5 
>> gets developed.
>> I have witnessed on many occasions people outside of these 
>> organisations/companies have not had their ideas taken seriously or 
>> added to the spec. I can think of Sam Ruby, Karl Dubost and myself 
>> just to name a few people that have not only had their ideas knocked 
>> down but have been personally mocked, ridiculed and attacked by Ian 
>> Hickson & Co on the IRC channels just because the ideas or decisions 
>> they made did not suit Ian and his group.
>> I don't see what the point is in having 1000 or more people involved 
>> in this work if only one person is in control of what gets added to 
>> the spec? What's the point in having people put their ideas on the 
>> table if at the end of the day Ian comes to the table and only picks 
>> up the ideas he likes? I don't believe that such a process as 
>> important as this should be controlled by just one man. Many ideas 
>> have been put forward but rejected because they don't fit into Ian's 
>> view of what the web should be.
>> Ian has shown his lack of professionalism to me by publishing my 
>> personal emails publicly on his web site and the CSS working group 
>> member-only emails publicly. [1]  How can a person like Ian be left 
>> with such control over a specification that over 6 billion people are 
>> expected to use?
>> The W3C staff members don't seem to be interested in defending the 
>> open web given that I have made official complaints regarding Ian 
>> Hickson and his sponsors, but yet had no active response from the 
>> W3C. If the W3C can't stand up to this renegade group then what's the 
>> point of having the W3C? It seems that anyone can hijack the web and 
>> dictate to the world so long as they have enough money.
>> I do appreciate all the work that has been put into (X)HTML5 by Ian 
>> and the rest of the WHATWG, I just feel that it's time for certain 
>> people to let go and let others have a say in the way the spec should 
>> be. After all, it's supposed to be an "open spec" for the "open web" 
>> isn't it?
>> If the way things are done in this group doesn't change to a more 
>> democratic model I'll be suggesting to the chairs that Ian Hickson be 
>> replaced as Editor of the spec with someone more professional and 
>> independent.
>> In the mean time I hereby ask that the HTML WG chairs engage the 
>> services of another person who is not an employee of Google, Opera 
>> software, Apple/Webkit or Mozilla to be another co Editor and watch 
>> Ian to see if he is taking everyone's ideas/concerns in to account 
>> and not blocking democracy with his own personal views/ideals.
> Dean, I disagree with almost everything you have said.

I hope in time that you will come around to seeing that my concerns are 
in fact genuine.

> As far as I can tell, the current process is working surprisingly 
> well, input is being taken from a wide variety of sources and, given 
> the difficulty of the task we have undertaken, good progress is being 
> made.

Yes, good process is being made as long as you like the direction Ian 
and the WHATWG are going in, I don't. We are being led by the WHATWG and 
are being forced to have a second-rate web with training wheels on it.

> The idea that input is not being taken from people outside a select 
> group is false;

It most certainly is not false James.

> you mention Sam Ruby but his ideas about extensibility are something 
> many people are interested in exploring; I had several discussions 
> about incorporating SVG and MathML into HTML at the TPAC with Anne, 
> Hixie, Doug Schepers, Patrick Ion from the MathML working group, and 
> probably others who I forget. One way of adding these things to 
> text/html is via a general extensibility mechanism. The difficulty is 
> purely technical - how can we extend text/html without breaking 
> compatibility with legacy parsers, whilst maintaining an 
> easy-to-author syntax?

This is totally off topic James. This has nothing to do with what I have 
complained about.

> If you want to see this problem solved 

I have never commented on this particular issue.

> the answer is not to kick up a fuss about the fact that someone else 
> hasn't solved it, but to invest some time in finding a solution.

LOL. Just as well I have a thick skin to handle all these false 
accusations from you lot eh? :)  I most certainly are not kicking up a 
fuss about this James. You have your wires crossed sorry, this is a 
separate issue that I myself have not entered into yet.

> It seems that the heart of our frustration lies with the fact that the 
> draft does not specify that UAs MUST support XHTML.

It most certainly is not James, absolutely not. This is just one concern 
that I have raised with the last week. There has been several occasions 
where I have raised my point of view and been ignored by the editors. As 
I said in my complaint; I have made complaints/raised my concerns, with 
the chairs and privately with Ian before I even thought of addressing 
the "support both formats" issue.

> However I think there are two further issues you should consider. The 
> first is technical - can XML 1.0 work on the web? I don't believe it 
> can; the fatal-exception-on-wellformedness-error behavior is likely to 
> be unacceptable to any website that values its uptime. On almost all 
> the XHTML websites I regularly visit I have seen fatal XML errors at 
> one point or another, and I don't see anything compelling enough in 
> XHTML to make that risk
> worthwhile for people like Amazon or Ebay (note: I have experience 
> using XHTML and XHTML+MathML).

What has this got to do with what I have said? Not everyone would have 
to use XHTML5. That's the (possible) beauty of (X)HTML5; people can 
choose whether to use HTML5 or XHTML5.
I never said that everyone should be made to use XHTML5. Of course I 
have no problem at all with people using HTML5(text/html) whether this 
is with big sites like Amazon & Ebay or just small personal websites.

> I think that XML 2 with a (perhaps-optional) no-fatal-errors mode will 
> be needed for XHTML to become a success.

I'd be happy to add my opinions to this area, but on a different thread.

> The second issue is the way that you are participating in the working 
> group. In my mind, coming in, arguing forcefully, not seeing the 
> changes you want and then escalating the issue, whilst at the same 
> time personally insulting several members of the group calling them, 
> for example, "unprofessional"

Ian Hickson has most definitely been "unprofessional". If you had read 
my post with an open mind you would have seen that. And I have every 
right to express my concerns regarding him.

> and "[a] smart a%$ kid", 

I spoke out of frustration of having people from your crowd jump in and 
hijack my threads. I should be able to discuss XHTML5 without people 
turning them into html vs xhtml arguments.
That person was certainly being a $name_I_called_him. If the W3C staff 
have a problem with that email I sent to www-archive, and the language I 
used; they are of course welcome to discuss this with me, they have my 
contact details.

> makes your arguments seem less rational and more emotional, thereby 
> devaluing them. For comparison, there have been other groups and 
> individuals who found that the spec was not entirely to their liking 
> and were cynical about the prospects for change. However, in at least 
> one case, it happened that once they tried to be open minded

Just what are you trying to say here James? I am in fact one of the more 
open minded participants in the group.

Dean Edridge
Received on Thursday, 10 January 2008 15:14:40 UTC

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