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Re: HTML Working Group Decision Policy - for discussion

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 03:25:05 -0700
Cc: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <04F6FE43-EF67-4CAD-B286-9828BE3CDE7F@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Thanks for your input, Sam. A few further comments:

On Oct 10, 2009, at 3:00 AM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> At some point, every process has to rely on at least some person or  
> persons operating in good faith (otherwise, it it turtles all the  
> way down).
> The simplest fix here is that reescalating an issue that has timed  
> out requires approval by the co-chairs; and if people are unhappy  
> with the co-chairs action (either way: allowing something to be  
> reopened that should not be, or blocking something that should be  
> reopened), then the chairs can be escalated first to the Interaction  
> Domain Leader then ultimately to the Director.
> In general, we want to avoid establishing the co-chairs as gate  
> keepers, but in cases which are unlikely except in cases where  
> somebody is operating in bad faith, having the co-chairs act as gate  
> keepers in just those limited situations it is a perfectly  
> acceptable solution.
> The standard here should be chairs interposing only in cases where a  
> person or group is operating in bad faith, and in general we should  
> give the benefit of doubt -- this implies that first requests to  
> reescalate are often granted, but subsequent ones are less likely to  
> be granted. This practice (i.e., this paragraph) doesn't need to be  
> captured in the policy.

Based on what you say, I think the policy should say that a timed out  
issue can be re-raised only with approval of the co-chairs. I agree  
that the exact standards we would use to decide do not need to be  
documented; determining if someone is acting in bad faith is  
inherently a judgment call. There are already a few places in the  
policy that require a judgment call by the chairs.

>>> Previously a policy of requiring a certain number of independent  
>>> (as determined by the chairs) WG participants who've volunteered  
>>> to work on a spec was put forward. Is that policy still in effect  
>>> and have the chairs identified the required independent volunteers  
>>> for the documents that have recently been put forward for FPWD?
>> I think the absolute minimum bar to pass for publishing a First  
>> Public Working Draft is a lazy consensus resolution (with a week or  
>> so for parties to object). If that does not find consensus, then we  
>> take a poll. Note: thinking that a poll is required is a valid  
>> reason to object to a CfC. Thinking that even a Note would give a  
>> false sense of endorsement to something incredibly bad would also  
>> be a valid reason. But no one objected at the time.
> I think the wording of your first sentence of this paragraph may not  
> mean exactly what you meant.  In all cases, a lazy consensus  
> resolution is sufficient.  The actual minimum bar, however, is lower.

Yes, that was bad phrasing. What I meant was, as chairs, at the very  
least we'll ask for a lazy consensus resolution. We won't (I think)  
unilaterally decide that something should be published as FPWD without  
getting any input from the group. But we'd accept lesser indications  
of support, such as a poll. In other words, "minimum bar" was my  
poorly phrased way of saying "minimum level of consultation with the  
Working Group". I agree with you that FPWD publication should not be  
subject to veto.

> I'll also note in passing that any rule that the W3C has allowing a  
> note to be published does not imply that any portion of the FWPD  
> enjoys consensus.  The ultimate note that is published could be a  
> "tombstone", and simply state that the working group explored "X",  
> and ultimately decided it was a bad idea for the following reasons:  
> X1, X2, X3.

That makes sense. If we publish something as FPWD that we decide  
should not progress further, that would be a good way to handle it. (I  
don't think we need to formalize this policy.)

>> Previously, Sam stated a requirement of at least three independent  
>> contributors (where contribution can include such things as direct  
>> editing, making an implementation, commenting on the draft, etc),  
>> though this has been applied in a rather informal way. It seems to  
>> me that HTML+RDFa has met this standard through the number of  
>> people who gave concrete technical feedback that resulted in  
>> changes to the draft (even if many of those people would not  
>> consider themselves supporters).
>> I'll ask my fellow co-chairs about whether we'd like to formalize  
>> and document this policy.
> Whether or not we formalize that rule, I would prefer that we NOT  
> publish something as a product of this Working Group that  
> essentially is an individual effort.  That's what Member Submissions  
> are for.

I agree with that position. Do you think it's worth formalizing the  
rule? I can do the writing if so. We can ask that anyone proposing a  
new document for FPWD should mention at least three independent  
contributors (possibly including themselves).

Received on Saturday, 10 October 2009 10:25:40 UTC

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