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> Yes, and I think that's the same reason why W3C XML Schema got so far
> before people started to complain about its complexity -- people won't
> read the specs until they need to in order to use the technology, by
> which time it's usually too late to change the technology into
> something useful. (Though I guess that led to RELAX NG; perhaps
> that's a route to follow...)
I wish I could be more encouraging, but I suspect the RELAX NG path
makes the most sense for a spec like this one that's gone off the rails.
My experience (with a number of WGs other than XSLT/XPath) suggests the
The W3C will build its juggernauts whatever the user communities would
like - working groups seem very good at coming up with preferred user
communities to justify their features. The W3C has a remarkable set of
defenses, including participants who insist only on concrete technical
comments where "concrete" and "technical" are bounded by their
appreciation of the current specification. "Silence is approval" also
makes it easier to get through over-complex specs.
Comments and suggestions can certainly get through to the W3C if they
involve minor tweaks or simple contradictions in the specification.
There may also be room for some feature adjustment. Suggestions that
entire categories of functionality be ripped out or that the
specification is too complex will be insulted or ignored.
The process appears on the surface to encourage evaluation, but I fear
that in practice it both discourages any strong evaluation and puts a
false stamp of public participation on the result, encouraging
developers to suspend their own evaluative facilities when the
Though it may cause people to label you a crank, it seems smartest to me
to let the W3C go its own demented way, make it consistently clear that
the the W3C way is not the only way - and that the W3C produces
Recommendations, not Standards in any event - and encourage other
projects which learn from the W3C's mistakes.
Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
http://simonstl.com may be my URI
http://monasticxml.org may be my ascetic URI
urn:oid:126.96.36.199.4.1.6320 is another possibility altogether