[html5] WHATWG's lack of responsiveness (was re: Suggestion to close this list)

Stanton McCandlish smccandlish at gmail.com
Wed Aug 23 12:39:54 PDT 2017

> I sometimes worry that traffic has fallen away as new web developers
don't really care about standards!

It may also have something to do with WHATWG's lack of responsiveness to
serious problems that seem to indicate WHATWG doesn't care about standards
other than their own derivative one, so people are turning back to W3C (and
to less authoritative but more current sources like W3Schools and
HTML5Doctor).  I reported over two years ago (and more than once, to
multiple WHATWG people, and on your wiki, and on the list) that your
re-definition of the cite element is demonstrably incorrect, with multiple
direct contradictions of the actual W3C HTML5 specification, yet you still
have not fixed it.

W3C (and real-world usage): "The cite element represents a reference to a
creative work. It must include the title of the work or the name of the
author (person, people or organization) or an URL reference, which may be
in an abbreviated form as per the conventions used for the addition of
citation metadata.", followed by examples showing these differing types of

WHATWG: "The cite element represents the title of a work .... A person's
name is not the title of a work ... and the element must therefore not be
used to mark up people's names.", followed by examples that basically claim
W3C is wrong.

As an example of what I mean by "responsiveness", I noted that the wording
in the W3C Cheatsheet didn't match what the actual HTML5 spec said either,
and reported this to someone at W3C.  They fixed it the very same day.

This is also not the only such error in WHATWG's version.  The problem
appears to be that WHATWG's version is based on the Cheatsheet and the
Cheatsheet in turn is based on the actual HTML5 spec.  This is a
maintenance chain that requires attention from multiple parties.  W3C
occasionally doesn't perform that maintenance until joggled by someone like
me to do so, and WHATWG doesn't appear to do it at all, even when
repeatedly reminded.

The sensible thing to do would be for WHATWG's version, like the
Cheatsheet, to be based directly on the full W3C HTML5 spec, to cut the
maintenance chain in half, and then actually do the maintenance.  HTML5 has
not remained static since its initial drafting; various bits of it have
changed in response to public (mostly developer) feedback, and WHATWG is
not keeping up.  This should be easy; W3C's HTML5 was last changed 28
October 2014, so it's not like it's a firehose of changes.

*Back to the original topic:*

I tend to agree that maintaining a mailing list is important, for most of
the reasons given by others.

> +1 for a web based alternative, something I can point at my (RSS) feed
reader at

That's easily provided by a list-to-Web-archive script of some sort, and
various free-software ones are available.  Some are even two-way gateways,
permitting posting to the list via the Web as well.

Stanton McCandlish
McCandlish Consulting
4001 San Leandro St
Suite 28
Oakland  CA 94601-4055

+1 415 234 3992


On Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 10:17 AM, Tony Crockford <tonyc at boldfish.co.uk>

> On 23 Aug 2017, at 18:04, Brian Tremblay <webmaster at tsmchughs.com> wrote:
> On 8/23/17 9:38 AM, Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> Since the traffic on this list is extremely low and there's a bit of
> work involved in keeping it running I suggest we discontinue it in
> favor of Stack Overflow, which has provided a reasonable forum for
> folks to ask questions about WHATWG standards in a way that's much
> better indexed and searchable.
> What is the address? (Or is it just the general Stack Overflow site?)
> I always liked the "official" nature of this list.
> Is there any chance of an official slack Channel we could join instead?
> Stack Overflow can get pretty noisy with no clear and definitive stance
> sometimes:
> https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/html5
> Or are the leading lights of WHATWG lurking on Stack Overflow ready to
> explain the official stance on a specific standard when needed?
> I sometimes worry that traffic has fallen away as new web developers don't
> really care about standards!
> :o)
> _______________________________________________
> whatwg at whatwg.org
> https://whatwg.org/mailing-list#specs
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/help-whatwg.org/attachments/20170823/10e47494/attachment.htm>

More information about the Help mailing list