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Re: Another Draft of TAG position on use of unregistered media types in W3C Recommendations

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 21:02:31 -0400
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFF3DFC516.08ED4782-ON852571BE.00047999-852571BE.0005B92A@lotus.com>

Dan Conolly wrote:

> That much is fine. I don't like the last bit, but I wasn't 
> going to object until you prompted me again ;-)

Oh, I wouldn't have wanted to miss a chance to go another round.  Lucky 
thing I checked :-).  Let's see if we can wrap this up.  First, let me 
just merge the changes I think you've asked for, so you can at least 
verify that I understood your proposal.  Is this what you intended?

==================YET ANOTHER DRAFT =================================
Members of the W3C Advisory Board have recently approached the Technical 
Architecture Group (TAG) to ask for clarification of the guidelines 
regarding references to unregistered media types from W3C Recommendations. 
  The TAG briefly considered this question during their teleconference of 
18 July 2006 [1,2], and again on 25 July [minutes not yet available]. This 
note is being circulated to publicize our conclusions. 

Media types and other formats referenced from W3C Recommendations should 
be properly registered with the appropriate authority.  Nonetheless, the 
TAG recognizes that certain such formats come into widespread use without 
registration, and that there may thus in exceptional circumstances be 
reasons for considering reference to unregistered types in W3C 
Recommendations.  To emphasize that the importance attached to 
registration, the TAG suggests the following guidelines for W3C 

* Workgroups preparing Recommendations should avoid dependencies on media 
types or other data formats that are not properly registered with the 
appropriate registration authority.  In the case of MIME media types, that 
authority is IANA.

* Accordingly, workgroups should arrange for registration of new media 
types that they may create, and should make reasonable efforts to promote 
the proper registration of other formats on which their Recommendations 

W3C process is a balance of consensus, architecture, and timeliness; if a 
working group requests to proceed with references to unregistered media 
types, it's a process question to say whether the extenuating 
circumstances are sufficient.   As the TAG is not chartered to address 
process questions, we leave it to the Advisory Board to establish any 
policies or just leave it to the discretion of The Director.

Noah Mendelsohn
For the W3C Technical Architecture Group

[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2006/07/18-agenda.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2006/07/18-tagmem-minutes.html#item05


For the record, I can easily live with that.  Just to follow up a bit, you 

> On Tue, 2006-07-25 at 18:06 -0400, noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com wrote:
> [...]
> > The TAG does recognize that there are a few unregistered media types 
> > already in widespread use, and we agree that there may be exceptional 
> > cases when Recommendations would benefit from reference to such types.
> Well, that suggests that we think there are, currently, cases
> when Recommendations would benefit from reference
> to unregistered media types. I don't think there are.

> >   We 
> > believe that the W3C process should recognize that there is 
> great value to 
> > encouraging W3C groups to promote the registration of such types, but 
> > should also recognize that asking a workgroup to do this as a
> precondition 
> > for referencing a type could in some cases be burdensome.
> That suggests that in this burden is undue. I haven't seen a case where
> it is.

Well, actually, I think some TAG members such as Raman strongly indicated 
that they felt the burden could be significant, and wanted that point of 
view represented a bit.  That's why I wrote the draft as I did.  My own 
position happens to be about half way between (enough burden to matter, 
though rarely), but more to the point, if Raman and other TAG members can 
live with your proposed text (which is sort of neutral on the burden), 
that seems like a good compromise to me.

So, at the risk of the AB being weeks past needing an answer by the time 
we get this done, I'm going to restart the clock on having a draft out for 
a couple of days, using the text above as the point of review.  If we get 
either silence or explicit assent from other TAG members by, say, Thurs. 
noon East Coast time, I'll send it out.  I really think it's time to wrap 
this up.

Dan, thanks for your help with this.


Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Received on Wednesday, 2 August 2006 01:03:06 UTC

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