Why do we write standards?

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Wed Nov 10 21:15:32 GMT 1999

David Megginson wrote:
> To summarize more briefly, I suggested that there are two paths to
> standardization (which we all agree is a good thing):
> 1. The big-bang approach, where we try to do everything at once and
>    either fail or succeed spectacularly.
> 2. The incremental approach, where we do a little at a time without
>    getting too far ahead of implementors.

I think we all agree that in standards, as in code, you must use both.
Incremental when you don't understand the domain and/or don't have time
for the full monty and top-down when you are confident of your
understanding and your success.

My question is: do we give something a label, encourage people to use it
and then later invent it, or do we invent it and then encourage people
to experiment with it, and THEN give it a label? The former does not
strike me as "incremental". Rather, "insane."

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for himself
"Chaos is the Engine" - Len Bullard

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