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[Bug 9918] New: Consider adding a consensus-building component into the decision process

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 20:58:51 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-9918-2486@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Consider adding a consensus-building component into
                    the decision process
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
               URL: http://dev.w3.org/html5/decision-policy/decision-polic
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: working group Decision Policy
        AssignedTo: dave.null@w3.org
        ReportedBy: laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: mjs@apple.com, Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com,
                    rubys@intertwingly.net, mike@w3.org,

In Bug 9898 Lief said [1]:

> So I don't think the decision process is wrong per se, but I would 
> like that there were more encouragement to work for consensus 
> built into it.

Some thoughts to consider that might help this:

1. Explain More About Consensus

The Decision Policy says, "Authors of Change Proposals are strongly encouraged
to seek consensus and revise their Change Proposals to gain more support."
(step 3) [2]

It might help if the policy explained more about the concept of consensus and
how to gain it. It could also state something about that, it is permitted to
refine or re-define or re-frame an issue during discussion.

2. Facilitation and Mediation 

In an attempt to encourage consensus, it might be especially beneficial if the
decision process afforded more facilitation and/or mediation. A chair or a
staff contact or possibly a set of neutral list moderators might fill this

If discussion leaders/mediators could explore and brainstorm alternative
approaches to an issue with the change proposal author and counter change
proposal author, in an effort to build new, mutually advantageous approaches,
rather than going over the same win-lose approaches that comprise most change
proposals and counter proposals, it might be productive. 

A joint list of solution alternatives could be brainstormed and generated.
These alternatives then would be examined to determine the costs and benefits
of each from each author's point of view and any barriers to them. Eventually,
the choices could be narrowed down to one approach, which is fine-tuned, often
through a single negotiating text, until people can live with and support a
decision (i.e. a proposal author might agree to an element being modified and
improved and withdraw their proposal for the element to be removed from the

If this idea is workable, it might be a win-win solution where the Chairs don't
need to make decisions for the group and no one has to forsake strongly held
convictions or needs. The resulting decision might not be everyone's ideal
decision. But it might be one where people could live with it and we could all
move forward together.

Thank you for your consideration.

[1] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=9898#c5

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Received on Sunday, 13 June 2010 20:58:53 UTC

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