W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > July 2014

Re: Forced Resignation

From: Marc Fawzi <marc.fawzi@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2014 18:19:08 -0700
Message-Id: <35D9DB6D-F1FA-4402-8AD9-5A0FBD582621@gmail.com>
Cc: Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>, "www-tag@w3.org List" <www-tag@w3.org>, Robin Berjon <robin@w3.org>, Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
To: "Eric J. Bowman" <eric@bisonsystems.net>
 
I apologize for inserting my unsolicited thoughts into this mostly inter-personal debate, but I just wanted to throw in this crazy idea that would make the whole discussion about political power over web standards somewhat irrelevant:

Imagine browser vendors were able to design their browsers such that they are simply "UX shells" (like Chrome on iOS which I've been told currently uses the same underlying engine as Safari Mobile) and the website would request which browser engine to run (assuming they're hot swappable) This way MSFT can build to whatever standard and Google can build to its own while Mozilla may build to yet another standard. This sounds horrific but imagine the productivity increase if developers could develop for just one browser engine and tell the browser to load that engine thus avoiding doing all the customizations for the various browsers which forever will continue to have many annoying differences redress of whatever the spec says. It's those differences that cost so much in development time (doing it the IE way or the Chrome way etc) and no standards body has been able to eliminate those differences. So instead of worrying who will control the web and drafting all those meticulous standards and specs the browser vendors can have informal gatherings or do whatever they want with their version of the web and the websites get to choose what browser engine they run on. This way the world won't need a group of vendors to sit in one committee and decide stuff regardless of the direction each company believes is in its best interest or best interest of its users. Such standards bodies and committees have their use for sure but at some point the interests of their members will diverge. It's hard enough to stay in a bi-lateral inter-personal relationship for decades. It's harder to do so in an impersonal multi-lateral scenario; the interests will diverge, critically at some point, so why waste time preventing the inevitable when we could be asking deeper questions about the way the world is today. In this case the browser as an idea has always been about standards. But what if we let each vendor explore the ultimate limits of their assumptions and let the developers choose allegiances while leaving the user and their choice of browser UX out of it.

Sorry again for interjecting.

Marc
Sent from my iPhone

> On Jul 3, 2014, at 5:19 PM, "Eric J. Bowman" <eric@bisonsystems.net> wrote:
> 
> Alex Russell wrote:
>> 
>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Surely we can't take arguments of the form "X hasn't happened, our
>>>> preventative measures against X work!" seriously without *at
>>>> least* weighing the counterfactual.
>>> 
>>> Those promulgating a view that "X hasn't happened" *despite* said
>>> preventative measures, are the ones failing to weigh the counter-
>>> factual.
>> 
>> This is childish logic. I clearly stated the harm: we lose productive
>> TAG members, seemingly at random, thanks to a policy choice.
> 
> I'd prefer the term "specious" over "childish" as the latter seems to
> me more of an ad-hominem than anything I've had to say that's been
> deemed as such. While the former is simply hard-nosed debate.
> 
>> 
>> You haven't described why this harm isn't real or why it is lesser
>> than the thing your preferred policy guards against.
> 
> I was quite clear that I agree the harm is real. But it's hard to argue
> what would happen in absence of the policy in question -- since that's
> never been the case there's no real-world example to point to.
> 
> Which doesn't mean the policy was put in place for "childish" reasons.
> I already agreed with Noah that any change should happen conservatively
> because we just don't know if that would have led to an effort to stuff
> the TAG. Best not to find out the hard way.
> 
> I do think it's less harmful to lose a good TAG member once in a while,
> than for TAG's agenda to become driven by any one member company, or
> even perceived so. I have a hard time seeing this as a fantastical,
> unrealistic concern given the recent Silicon Valley collusion lawsuit,
> which can't be said to have had nothing to do with Web browsers...
> 
> Some companies have proven they're simply not to be trusted; speaking
> as a Web Developer I'd lose all trust in the TAG if those companies
> were free to have multiple seats. Or a certain other company whose
> engineers apparently thought it would be a good idea to conduct mass,
> clandestine though-control experiments on their users.
> 
> So the worse harm, IMO, is TAG losing legitimacy in the developer
> community through a *perception* of being driven by one or two members'
> agendas, because the developer community's perception of some of those
> member companies is hardly positive nowadays. There's a balancing act in
> keeping the negative perceptions of any company from following its
> employees to the TAG; one way to balance this is the existing policy.
> 
> -Eric
> 
Received on Friday, 4 July 2014 01:19:42 UTC

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