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Re: minutes: HTML WG Weekly 21 May 2009 [draft]

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 03:33:59 -0700
Cc: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <72EA78AD-5DD6-49C0-851C-8D01B4B3CEB3@apple.com>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>


It sounds to me like you are interpreting consensus to mean "everyone  
agrees", or "no one objects", or even unanimity. But that's not the  
W3C Process meaning of consensus. The W3C's definition is: "Consensus:  
A substantial number of individuals in the set support the decision  
and nobody in the set registers a Formal Objection."

See: http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/policies.html#Consensus

Thus, once we address the Formal Objection and make a good-faith  
effort to address the dissent that doesn't rise to Formal Objection  
level, we will have W3C-defined consensus, even if we don't make all  
the changes that non-Formal objectors would like.

Now, let's say we make those changes and someone raises a Formal  
Objection who previously did not. Then section 3.3.1 of the Process  
document applies:

"In some cases, even after careful consideration of all points of  
view, a group might find itself unable to reach consensus. The Chair  
may record a decision where there is dissent (i.e., there is at least  
one Formal Objection) so that the group may make progress (for  
example, to produce a deliverable in a timely manner). **Dissenters  
cannot stop a group's work simply by saying that they cannot live with  
a decision.** When the Chair believes that the Group has duly  
considered the legitimate concerns of dissenters as far as is possible  
and reasonable, the group should move on."

(Emphasis added by me.)

Thus, to end-of-life a widely supported document simply because there  
are a handful of objectors who perhaps can never be satisfied, would  
not be in accordance with the W3C interpretation of consensus. Nor  
would it be in accordance to flag the document with a disclaimer,  
merely because a few disagree with it.

I don't think the Design Principles document is hugely important in  
itself. But along the lines of Henri's concerns, I think it would set  
an extremely bad precedent if we shut it down because a handful of  
people don't like it.


On May 25, 2009, at 2:36 AM, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> On Mon, 25 May 2009 10:05:59 +0200, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>  
> wrote:
>> On May 25, 2009, at 02:14, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>>> I was in fact stating my personal opinion about what should happen  
>>> to the document, which is that (in the apparent absence of clear  
>>> consensus to continue, and at least some objection) we should park  
>>> it as per W3C process for discontinued work - with the obvious  
>>> implication that I think it should be discontinued.
>> If we let the level of objection that the Design Principles got  
>> make us abandon documents, we'll never get anything done.
> Err, no. THe point of a consensus-driven process is getting things  
> done, and figuring out how to do them so they work for everyone.  
> That, after all, is the goal of the Web.
>> As Maciej pointed out, the Design Principles review survey showed  
>> wide support with very little dissent. (A small group of people  
>> disagreed on many counts.) It's unlikely we could please the small  
>> group of dissenters without watering down the Design Principles so  
>> that they'd be less representative of the wider support.
> You mean, it is unlikely that you could get a set of design  
> principles that everyone supports?
> I sort of agree. If you make the document rather more useless than  
> it is already, people will probably recognise that and not support it.
>> To be clear, I think the WG should not abandon the Design  
>> Principles document, should not water down the principles  
>> themselves and should not add front matter that undermines the  
>> content on the document.
> Fair enough. And I think that
> * recognising that the document doesn't represent a consensus of the  
> group, but the agreement of a big chunk with what they read in it,  
> plus the agreement of almost all the rest that publishing this in  
> some form is a useful activity, and
> * not spending more time trying to get such consensus since while  
> this document is useful to inform our process, it isn't actually  
> necessary
> is the most appropriate way to spend the resources of the group. The  
> logical process consequence of such a decision would be that the  
> group should publish a version indicating the document is no longer  
> an active work item.
> cheers
> Chaals
> -- 
> Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
>    je parle franšais -- hablo espa˝ol -- jeg lŠrer norsk
> http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Monday, 25 May 2009 10:36:20 UTC

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