Re: boundaries for the Web

On Thu, 2002-03-21 at 21:29, Mark Nottingham wrote:
> Put another way; is there a good reason for putting up boundaries, other 
> than as a means to allocate resources?

Sure.  There are lots of good reasons.

* Clarity - People and organziations interacting with the W3C will have
a clearly stated set of understandings regarding what the W3C is and is
not.  This makes it much simpler to begin communications about the work
of the W3C.  Clarity can also be useful internally as I've noted

* Focus - Even if the W3C suddenly found itself blessed with an
unlimited budget, would it really make sense to go out and take on every
task members and staff were interested in pursuing?  I'm sure members
enjoy having a pre-existing organzational structure rather than rolling
their own, but how does the W3C define its mission?

* Consistency - The W3C is well-regarded because of the success of a few
key projects.  While the nature of those projects can evolve, the
outside world's perspective on the W3C will likely evolve more slowly.

* Diplomacy - It's easier for other organizations to work with the W3C
when the lines of demarcation are clear.  When the W3C made clear that
it was not going to work on either event-based parsing of XML or
vertical industry XML vocabularies, the XML community was able to build
its projects with an assurance that the PR giant of the area wasn't
going to take over their work.  (Both of those projects appear to fit
easily in the current unscoped definition of the Web currently in use.)

> The Consortium is quite resource-constrained right now, and this 
> could be one mechanism of addressing that; IMHO, however, it is 
> an inferior one. I'd like to see issues addressed on their own 
> merits, on a case-by-case basis, rather than having a 
> constraining architecture making the decisions ahead of time.

Statements like this leave me asking "so what exactly is the
Consortium?" despite having watched it for years.

I keep hearing that identity is a critical feature of the Web, and I'd
like to see the W3C amd the Web develop identities that go beyond mere

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!

Received on Friday, 22 March 2002 08:19:33 UTC