confidentiality in W3C WGs

Oren Ben-Kiki oren at
Mon Sep 13 12:56:54 BST 1999

Lisa Rein <lisarein at> wrote:
> It has been my experience that both:
> 1) They put it in the spec if they think of it.
> 2) Someone in the group will tell you if you ask them...
> 3)I guess my biggest problem with all these complaints about the process
[and lack of rationale]
> is that I, personally, have NEVER had a problem finding out the
> technical nature of anything occurring in a W3C spec. Period...
> ... Now, sometimes I don't agree with the rationale, but I don't argue
> it.  If I wanted to argue about it THAT's when you go to the public
> discussion list and take it from there (and not THIS public discussion
> list, please!  This isn't the "my beefs with every W3C spec" list, is
> it?  Sometimes I wonder!)

It seems as though you seriously suggest that the lack of documentation of
the technical process of creating the spec (specifically, the issues, the
alternatives, and the rationale for the adopted solutions) is "OK" since one
can simple E-mail some WG member and ask him to explain it for you. After
all, it works so well for you!

Please say this is a misreading of your post?

At any rate, I don't have the E-mail addresses of the XHTML WG members. I
can't officially get these addresses AFAIK. Even if I could, it would not be
practical for them to answer my questions - because they'd be swamped with
the questions of every other interested reader of the draft. Even if they
did somehow manage convey the rationale to all people writing to them, and I
wouldn't agree with the rationale for some specific decision, I could not go
to "another" discussion list - because there typically isn't one, or if
there is it is as full of complaints about the W3C process as this one is.

And yes, this mailing list _is_ about "my beefs with every (XML related) W3C
spec", between other XML related things, unless someone creates a more
appropriate list for the purpose. If you are aware of one, I'd appreciate
the address.

The more this thread continues, the more I'm getting convinced there's
something wrong with the W3C. Obviously there is a reason why proper process
documentation is not being provided. The problem is that the simplest reason
is "to hide any shady politics between member companies". Another reason is
"because it would harm the quality of the resulting recommendation" -
obviously absurd, or maybe "it would slow things down too much" which people
in this mailing list are simply not buying, because being able to understand
a recommendation is more important then having it a few months early. Of
course the W3C does not give a reason for why no reasons are given for why
... and so on. Maybe they are afraid that giving reasons is habit forming

Share & Enjoy,

    Oren Ben-Kiki

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