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Re: Proposal to structure new eGov IG

From: <daniel@citizencontact.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 10:54:49 -0500 (EST)
To: chris@e-beer.net.au
Cc: "Hugh Barnes" <hugh.barnes@nehta.gov.au>, "W3C eGov IG" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1292946889.393110761@>
I was under the impression that it was breaking up into small groups was part of the problem. It seemed harder to get interest in creating work product. Perhaps it was because the groups were each working on different tasks. Perhaps a more organic way to structure the group to create useful work products is to work create one or two efforts that involve breaking up the problems and work into task forces that depend on each other to drive the work forward. This may help to provide incentive and group resolve and attention. And then there may be more interest in participants following the problem/project as it works it through the taskforces. Working on the same problem from different aspects may also help to give the impetus to create documents that are understandable to the "non-experts" in the other taskforces and to the larger public.

For example, first identify a couple problems from the list that are both important for governments and will involve the different taskforces. Work out the business processes involved: who is the content creator, what is the process for creating and/or collecting, how is the content made available. Then identify the rules and laws (generically and/or specific) that might govern the process and show how the finished products can reference the rules. Then the technical taskforces take those road plans and show how using W3C standards and best practices for the technical implemenatation can take place. 

Just documenting this process will show governments what it takes to come up with great eGovernement solutions. And the interdependencies of the taskforces will keep interest higher and give more opportunities to share to our whole group and a much larger audience. And it may make the work product more applicable both for a specific problem set as well as less esoteric. 

Daniel Bennett

-----Original Message-----
From: "Chris Beer" <chris@e-beer.net.au>
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 5:46am
To: "Hugh Barnes" <Hugh.Barnes@nehta.gov.au>
Cc: "W3C eGov IG" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Subject: Re: Proposal to structure new eGov IG

Hi Hugh, all

Good questions. Note though that as per my earlier comments, I believe 
that breaking the group into small TF's is simply a workable option. 
Apart from Michael's suggestions, there may be other ways to structure 
things other than tech's or issues - Regionally (US/EU/AUNZ etc), Size 
(Local, State, Federal), even Sector/Portfolio (Health, Education, 
Social Services, Employment, GLAM etc) - end of the day I think we all 
agree that smaller groups within the IG gives focus and a better change 
of deliverables being achieved. The kind of workflow I outlined earlier 
could work for anything.

On 12/20/2010 12:42 PM, Hugh Barnes wrote:
> Chris wrote:
>> Oh - suggestion - in addition, the IG could produce a monthly news digest of e-Gov related material from the W3 (and Governments/elsewhere?), with each TF using their W3 liason contacts with other W3 groups to collate news of relevance within thier sphere for inclusion.
> Absolutely.
> What I have thought for a while now would be useful is a "this week in …"-type summary/digest of activity. This should be targeted at time-poor followers who want to know what is being done and what is being debated. I know from my own experience that it can be very difficult to get back up to speed with goings on after one "drops the ball", so to speak. You can't find a way back in and you're lost forever (it seems).
> It requires a keen community-minded person to create such a summary. An example is http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Community_Updates for the OpenStreetMap community. I'm not volunteering.
> (Also, it's especially difficult to follow threads with all the lengthy top-posts. Really, inline replies work much better for many readers ("me" :) ) and archive searchers.)
> Now I'm going to abandon thread context (for reason above) and address a few things I noticed:
> * could someone explain the reason to single out accessibility as an eGov focus [1]? I've been a huge accessibility advocate since long before it was fashionable and I understand that government information *must* be published accessibly, but surely this is a given and there are plenty of general accessibility resources available that do this job? What am I missing about eGov?

Straight up I can think of a few reasons. (I'm assuming no level of 
knowledge with any of these in answering to the list - they are good 
questions and ones I know you personally have given consideration to.)

The first (and probably least important) is that Government is likely to 
always be the best uptaker of any standard or guideline developed by the 
W3C, other than vendors implementing technical standards. Accessibility 
is just one example. 508 compliance for instance, is driven by 
government, even though it is the vendors who have to achieve the 
conformance. In other areas, (security for instance) again - government 
is the driver (eg: the old ACSI 33 in Australia) and vendors achieve 

The second and others roll on from this premise of robust adoption of 
standards is that of all the W3 activities, WAI, and more importantly 
WCAG, is prehaps unique in that there are only *guidelines* in play (as 
opposed to actual standards), yet these guidelines have been given far 
more legal and some would say ethical and moral status than any standard 
ever published by the Consortium. It is an extremely high profile 
activity for the W3, and if one was to total up the cost to government 
world wide in not implementing WCAG (through lawsuits etc), it would far 
outweigh the costs associated with not implementing any other standard 
W3C has ever developed - in short - no one ever got sued for not using 
CSS, or XHTML or even RDF, if you follow my line there.

As such, understandably, accessibility is a huge ticket item for 
Governments at the moment. Like Hugh, I've been accessibility-ing since, 
well, forever. And we all know that *must* has never equaled *is* - 
there is still plenty of Government information that *must* be published 
accessibly, but isn't. It is only in very recent years that 
accessibility has really become an "oh my god if we don't do this we're 
going to get sued" issue. Yes - we realise that it shouldn't be like 
this - it should be a given, it should be done as a matter of BAU, but 
it never is. And when you combine accessibility with privacy, copyright, 
archive acts, records management et al, converting all that legacy 
content into accessible formats becomes an issue - even converting a new 
third party PDF submission into TXT can have it's own copyright issues.

Which leads to the next reason - WCAG and other WAI activities (such as 
ARIA) *is* techical in nature. Techniques and Specs are aimed at 
implementors, and documents that could be considered "policy" in nature 
tend towards the abstract and generally only cover background 
information. With WCAG for instance policy writers as well as executives 
are often confused and/or frightened off the sheer size of the work that 
comprises it, and are happy to leave it to the techs to simply put in to 
place if they thought it necessary. Now for the first time, we are 
seeing high level governance around the world that says "you have to be 
compliant" - yet this governance/legislation is not clear and doesn't 
give much assistance to agencies in writing thier own policies around 
accessibility. In some cases, there is confusion in the interpretation 
of the guidelines, or even conflicting legislation which makes 
implementing the guidelines difficult. Yes - there are a lot of general 
accessibility resources available - but government needs to make policy 
as well as implement, and likes to have government specific briefs to 
utilise as well as easy access to a community of practice from other 
public sector practioners.

All in all, the accessibility playing field is a lot trickier and a lot 
slipperier than it is for the private sector - it certainly couldn't 
hurt to have eGovernment specific accessibility advice/resources on offer.
> * use of social media should be singled out for guidance as an effective tool for engagement [1], but please can we use generic terms? Twitter is a single application platform owned by a for-profit corporation. Let's call it microblogging. My personal belief/hope is that federated open microblogging of the type available with StatusNet [2] will be the norm, probably after Twitter annoys everyone with their profit-making initiatives (which I understand they are under pressure from investors to pursue). Should W3C be encouraging private networks, even if they are in many respects, at least now, "open"? See also "A Standards-based, Open and Privacy-aware Social Web" [3].</rant>

+1 + 1 + 1 - SM needs to be about Engagement. More importantly, it needs 
to really encompass Gov 2.0 values as well. I'd prefer either of those 
two terms over SM and/or microblogging. And we shouldn't limit to 
microblogging etc. Why not include things like live streaming video of a 
town hall meeting with TTML for instance, or discussions on privacy, 
redaction, archiving and persistance etc.

> * I'm not sure I see much of a need to address cloud computing either [1]. You could outlines pros and cons, but it seems fairly a policy-driven operational decision that will necessarily differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I could be having a bad day, but I just don't get it.

I'm in two minds about CC as well - but CC isn't really my thing - I'll 
leave to others to discuss the merits thereof in that sense. I do agree 
that SaaS etc really is a jurisdictional policy decision - but standards 
discussions could have uses?
> * I liked Daniel's public utility/service-oriented approach very much [4]. Let the tech be suggested to address the service need. For example, "Publishing documents especially laws and regulations that can be used and cited.", so we need to advocate well constructed, consistent, stable URIs.

As do I - I see that suggestion as very similiar to my own abstract 
workflow proposal - first comes the issue, service need, etc. Then comes 
the tech to address it. But also the policy implications of that 
technology and the IT policy implications of the issue at hand as well - 
where there is common ground for all governments. (Open Systems vs Data 
Security for instance. Privacy vs Public Record. Archive vs 
Accessibility. Copyright vs breaches for the Public Good.) And advocacy 
isn't enough I feel - offering a framework that can be used is even more 
useful - why advocate well constructed, consistent, stable URI's when 
you can produce a standard PSI URI framework that will work for anyone, 
on any scale. We have a brain trust of top people in this group to do 
someting like that. We have the practical experience of some of the 
leading implementors as well as direct lines into case studies and 
access to decision makers world wide. Why can't we? (Go on - accept the 
challenge - you know you want to) </rant> ;)


> This is as much time as I can give to the conversation right now. Sorry I was mainly critical :~|
> Cheers
> ---
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-egov-ig/2010Dec/0023.html
> [2] http://status.net
> [3] http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/socialweb/XGR-socialweb-20101206/
> [4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-egov-ig/2010Dec/0027.html
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 15:55:56 UTC

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