[whatwg] Answering the question... (timing of table headers issue)

John Foliot foliot at wats.ca
Fri Aug 24 11:27:50 PDT 2007

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> This isn't my advice to the WebKit developers, this is my comment on a
> bug report *as* a WebKit developer.

However, is it the comment of a WebKit developer or as a member of the HTML5
Working Group?  This lack of transparency lends the impression that the spec
is being unduly influenced by how and what are priorities of the browser
makers, rather than of the end users. Since repeatedly the chairs have said
that nothing has been decided, stating that something is likely to be
dropped is premature and to my mind inappropriate.  To comment that it is
being questioned/reviewed is one thing, to predict an outcome is another -
especially since you *are* a member of the Working Group.

How different would this be if another member of the Working Group, one who
did not share the same opinions as the IRC cabal, went around to the various
bug trackers and stated that LONGDESC is going to be entrenched into HTML5
as an attribute of <video>, and so next-gen browsers should be prepared to
support this?  Or that based upon the current position of the WAI PF,
headers will continue to remain in the Specification, and that browsers
should have better support?  Since nothing has been decided, why should
these *opinions* be treated any differently? Because they are not the
current opinions on the IRC channel gang?  Think very carefully about the
optics here...

> Is it wrong for implementors to look at past specs, other
> implementations, or the ongoing web standards process in making
> decisions on what to implement? In fact, is it even a matter that
> should be discussed on a bunch of web standards mailing lists, rather
> than in the bug tracker?

Well, given that HTML5 is intended to be the next HTML Standard, darned
right it is a matter that should be discussed on W3C Standards mailing
lists.  That you even would question this leaves me dumbfounded - where else
would you discuss emerging standards?  Backroom IRC channels?

Who exactly is this new standard being written for anyway?  Having the major
browser makers on board is an important consideration in crafting the
Standard, but the day they start making all of the decisions (apparently
behind semi-closed doors) is the day that the Accessibility advocates such
as myself start to become extremely concerned - and if you have not yet
picked up on this it's time you did.  It is *exactly* this kind of
leveraging that leaves us feeling that we are being humored but not taken
seriously, and having WG members making public statements about what is and
what is not going to be in the Standard further fuels this concern -
especially when the co-chairs keep try to assure us nothing has been

Simply put, if nothing has been decided about the new spec, nothing should
be posted on blogs, bug trackers or any other forum that says otherwise:
else there are conflicting messages, and continued conflict.  What is so
hard to understand about that?


> Regards,
> Maciej

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