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Role of the TAG Re: polyglot…blabla…open web…blabla…

From: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 01:10:26 +0100
Cc: "David Sheets" <kosmo.zb@gmail.com>
To: "W3C TAG" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.wrq1fo18y3oazb@chaals.local>
On Sat, 26 Jan 2013 02:50:28 +0100, Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>
> On Jan 25, 2013 7:36 PM, "David Sheets" <kosmo.zb@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM, Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>  
>> > On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 4:16 PM, David Sheets <kosmo.zb@gmail.com> >>  
>> On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 11:48 AM, Alex Russell >> > On Thu, Jan 24,  
>> 2013 at 11:46 PM, David Sheets <kosmo.zb@gmail.com>
>> >> >> On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM, Alex Russell >> >> > On Thu, Jan  
>> 24, 2013 at 6:29 PM, David Sheets >> >> >> On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 2:14  
>> PM, Alex Russell

>> >> > On the open web (where I expect that the
>> >> > contract about what is and isn't XML are even more important), or  
>> >> > inside closed systems and organizations?

>> >> When you publicly publish something and declare your intent, you are
>> >> on the "open web".

>> > I think you'll struggle to get most W3C members to accept that >  
>> definition.

I don't think so. I think there are many W3C members who are using Web
technology in closed environments as well as the open web, consider that
an important use case for the web, and believe that it is the TAG's role
to support this use case in their work. I suspect that this covers a large
majority of W3C members.

For that matter, quite possibly it also applies to a majority of the
content that is produced and consumed based on Web technology. It's
difficult to measure, since we need to agree on how we determine the
volume of given kinds of content and given consumption patterns, but in
any case I assume it is clear that massive amount of content is "closed",
in services such as facebook, vkontakte, ya.ru, firefoxOS, various webmail
systems, and more. There is a further set of content that is in more
tightly-defined "intranets" - the archives of many companies, governments,
and individuals are kept in closed systems based on Web technology.

>> What definition do you suggest "most W3C members" would accept for
>> "open web"? Does "open web" exclude some transports? Some formats?

>> >> > I don't see that the TAG has any duty to the latter, so it's an
>> >> > honest question.

>> >> Even "closed" systems export data and use off-the-shelf browsers.
>> >> Furthermore, many of these "closed" systems will be opening up in the
>> >> future. The TAG has a responsibility to guide publishers and
>> >> implementors who wish to support W3C standard formats in their >>  
>> systems that do or may interact with the web.

>> > Our job is not to sell the web to a possible new audience -- it >  
>> doesn't need our help and we're the last group I can imagine being
>> > effective as salespeople

>> You are responding to a figment. I mentioned nothing of sales or
>> marketing. The publishers and implementors are already sold and "wish
>> to support W3C standard formats in their systems that do or may
>> interact with the web".

Right. Our job is to make the Web meet the needs of its stakeholders. You  
can define that narrowly as W3C, you could define it broadly as "the  
people who use it". But it seems that Alex' sense of "the people who use  
the open web" fails to match the membership

>> > -- it's to help publishers understand how the rules work so that
>> > they can join it and to help spec authors make sure the rules are >  
>> sane in the long-run.

>> I believe that we agree here.

I suspect that we all agree on something we understand from this  
statement, but disagree on what that is. Part of making the web sane in  
the long run is making it work for people now - which comes at a price of  
probably complicating our lives later when we agree on the details of  
goals where we currently want to do things differently. Because burning  
out all the "unbelievers" (whether it means the non-XML users of 2003 or  
the XML users of 2013) is throwing a lot of important babies out with some  
bathwater that's actually still pretty useful. (To mix metaphors, unless  
you're in Oz)

I think an important role of the TAG is to understand the needs of a very  
broad set of stakeholders, without restricting them by either ability to  
pay and participate in W3C nor by the fact that their priorities mean that  
they see no rush to upgrade their systems and tools to the latest and most  
efficient, and actively avoid doing so to spend their time and effort on  
something more important. This is an exercise in finding balances, and  
knowing which rough compromises are among the more sustainable, fair, and  
useful to achieve the greater good of people now and in the future - in  
other words, there is a fair bit of guesswork and the kinds of judgements  
that cannot a priori be defended nor defeated on pure technical grounds.



Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex
           chaals@yandex-team.ru         Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Thursday, 31 January 2013 00:10:59 UTC

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