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RE: Decision Policy [was: Intended Audience]

From: Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 14:56:15 -0500
Message-ID: <1835D662B263BC4E864A7CFAB2FEEB3D01525708@msfexch01.srunet.sruad.edu>
To: "Sam Ruby" <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: "public-html" <public-html@w3.org>

Sam Ruby's note [0] of 8:30 am Saturday.

While I generally like what you've said here, Sam, I have a couple of questions and/or comments. 

>3) Members of the working group may raise issues at any time. Issues
>are to be raised on the public-html mailing list, need to be specific
>and contain an actual proposal to be considered OPEN, and will be
>indexed by the http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues list.
 
Maybe the term "issue" here has meaning beyond what I perceive. Suppose I have a question, like "does the spec currently handle topic X?" (such as posed in [1]) From my perspective, that would be an issue, but it does not necessarily contain a proposal, unless we allow a semantic transform into "I propose that if the spec doesn't handle topic X, then it should" to be trivially applied. 
Is the indexing in tracker something that the author or chairs have to do? Back in the early days of the WG, I argued for automagical tracking, and actually received a proposal from the folks who did usa.gov to do it for us, but it was not enthusiastically received [2]. I would prefer an approach which makes sure "issues" in my sense of the term are not dropped and that closely allied issues, when they arise (e.g. [3] and [4]) be clumped. This perhaps runs afoul of groundrules on "discretion in adding issues"[5]. Clearly, my concern about exercising that particular consensual discretion is that it can serve to limit the discussion to those who have already survived the process of attaining consensus through attrition. [6] 

>4) From time to time, people will have different visions. It happens.
>When that occurs, those people are encouraged to produce their own
>draft. 

>From the onset of these discussions, it has not been clear to me that there was a clear notion of what anyone's vision was, let alone a consensual vision. I viewed the threshold required for entry into the discussion as precluding a lot of open discussion. If one were to design a new thing from the ground up, or even if one were to consider replacing an old thing, most folks would first ask the questions of who it would serve and what would it accomplish. It is my sense that early attempts (e.g., [7] ) to clarify what HTML5 would accomplish, that is, to "brainstorm" about what the web should be like in 2023 in the plain language that both "implementers" "authors" and "ordinary citizens" might understand were precluded from occurring. Some of it was because of an understandable fear by the chairs, I think, to make sure the discussion remained focused and productive. Otherwise, the debate over "design principles" shifted the debate prematurely I think from "what are we doing" to "how will we go about doing it" where "it" was already known to a very enthusiastic and knowledgable subgroup (used in the sense of a homomorphism that preserves sociology). 

>And finally, a few words about this mailing list. For this to be an
>open process, it is necessary that we establish the mailing list
>simultaneously as a place where everything of importance occurs, and as
>a place where everybody who has an interest in doing so can keep up by
>reading every message. 

On rereading this, I surmise that my first reading of this (which I didn't care for and was probably caused by some lingering guilt about not having been more involved) was actually wrong. That is, you're not implying, I suppose, that everyone should read every message in order to contribute properly, but rather that should someone want to read every message in a thread they should be able to. In which case I would tend to concur, but with the realization that part of the joy of the hypertext is that an author may bring external discussions (as in WHATWG or blogs and the like) onto the table here with ease. 

>On Thursday, I'd like to lift any and all moratoriums, but before doing
>so would like to take this opportunity to give everybody a vocabulary
>lesson. 

Oh good. I hope that since I didn't read all the messages, I didn't miss an important moratorium or two! If so I apologize. I am a tourist.

>[vocabulary primer, involving "filibuster," "ad nauseum" and "strawman"] 

I'm sure you're aware that one person's soapbox is another's filibuster. Need I belabor the point ad nauseum? I am sure if I were to, then I might turn your vocabulary primer into a strawman. 
Hee hee! Sorry. There really is a point there, but I know you know it and probably everyone else too, but the verbal play was just too darn attractive. 

>If you look at the current mailing list, you can see that it is
>dominated by a few voices: [...]
>The clear leader is Ian, and that's by virtue of him participating
>constructively in so many different discussions. [...] his participation on this mailing list
this month has been truly exemplary.

Hear hear! 

>A corollary to the above is that if you agree with what you see in this
>email, either keep that opinion it to yourself or share your opinions
>off list. But if you don't understand or don't agree with something,
>please bring it to Chris and my attention, and include this mailing list
>if you feel that such is warranted.

I raise this before the whole group out of two motives: first to encourage the opening of the process to new ideas, alternative viewpoints, and the voices of occasional contributors that might previously have felt buried, and second to welcome an approach that seems to be aware of some of those concerns.

cheers
David

[0] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jan/0688.html
[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jan/0614.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2007May/0057.html 
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007JanMar/0458.html 
[4] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/49 
[5] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-wg-issue-tracking/2008Jun/thread.html#msg3 
[6] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007May/0214.html 
[7] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007JanMar/0555.html
Received on Saturday, 31 January 2009 19:57:19 GMT

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