W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > May 2012

Re: Proposition to change the prefixing policy

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2012 00:34:37 +0200
To: Lea Verou <leaverou@gmail.com>
Cc: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <4h8bq79vnho7lpb4184oho745p11827mjo@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>
* Lea Verou wrote:
>2. It defies the entire advantage that prefixes were supposed to bring: 
>Getting author input for in-development features. When the feature is 
>present only in a preview (or in a stable build, but behind a switch), 
>the volume of author feedback declines tremendously. I believe Alex 
>Russell has specific statistics of how big a decline we’re talking 
>about, but I recall it’s > 90%. This would result in specs being 
>developed almost blindly, detached from the reality of author needs. Do 
>we want that?

That implementations of "experimental" features are trivially available
to very large groups of users is a very recent development; there hasn't
been any notable leap forwards in useful and timely feedback that I have
noticed, and the development pace and quality of the standardization of
new features also hasn't really improved either. The Working Group would
probably not notice much of a difference directly. Participants might
individually notice changes, like that they are spending more time on
feedback they got from people coding demos using the new feature in the
same organization while spending less time on wading through external
feedback, but there isn't really a basis for expecting a catastrophe if
"experimental" features become "harder" to "experiment" with.

Note that many of the people on the list have been involved with CSS for
a long time and by and large know their stuff. If you give them a good
set of requirements, and somehow persuade them not to argue over them,
and lock them in a room for some time, they are likely to come out with
a sensible way addressing the requirements, including a specification
that properly documents it. Many are or were authors themselves, they've
heard plenty about problems authors have, I could make a long list, but
the point is that there isn't much of a direct dependency on feedback.
And some artificial dependencies can actually be harmful. When people
figure they'll get lots of user feedback so they don't have to look at
proposals, just implement them and then fix a couple of bugs, we might
well end up with worse solutions than if they had properly used their
expertise. Similarily, people who could provide decent feedback don't,
as it has become very unclear which feedback is sought. I don't see how
you could capture any of that in a "90%" figure that would be indicative
of anything relevant.

In closing, some random statistics: since 2001 there have been around
50000 messages to the list. Half of them from the top 20 contributors,
there are around 1000 people who wrote more than two mails to the list
and to pick an example, Lea Verou is in the top 50 posters by volume.
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
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Received on Saturday, 5 May 2012 22:35:05 UTC

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