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Re: HTML WG F2F meeting

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 18:02:06 -0800
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C68CB012D9182D408CED7B884F441D4D5FE999@nambxv01a.corp.adobe.com>
> The Chairs are interested in feedback on holding 
> this kind of F2F meeting.  We intend to discuss
>  this at this week's WG meeting and then to hold
> a straw poll to gauge interest and attendance levels.

Here is my feedback on holding a F2F meeting:

I'm in favor of a F2F meeting if:
1) the agenda is focused on discussing issues which
  have reached an email impasse
2) The issues on the agenda and the alternative
   proposals are well documented and there's 
   sufficient time to prepare; time to present
   alternatives and points of view are structured.
3) the different sides of each issue on the agenda
  are well-represented.
4) the individuals tasked with delivering proposals
  and editorial are in attendance and willing 
  to participate in good faith.

(1) and (2) are necessary for having an informed
discussion. (3) is necessary for making progress
on resolving the issues and (4) is necessary for
translating that resolution into action.

Also, I think it is necessary:

5)The relationship between conclusions reached
  at a F2F meeting and the overall WG decision
  policy is documented and agreed beforehand,
  since this is not well-covered by W3C
  Process or the current (and soon-to-be-revised)
  HTML Working Group Decision Policy.

This is to insure transparency and acceptance
of the process by others not able to attend.

A primary value of a face-to-face meeting over
a phone conference (and of a phone conference 
over an email discussion) is the possibility
of being able to hold individuals accountable
for their actions (or lack thereof).

Issues can get resolved by email when the
parties involved are actually interested in coming
to a mutual understanding. But it's easier to
evade actually responding to the salient points
made by selective quoting or resorting to 
"I don't understand", or just not replying
in an email conversation.

> formal face-to-face meetings can and usually do 
> result in significantly worse results than considered 
> discussion by e-mail.

Results are "better" or "worse" depending on
one's perspective. A situation where individuals
aren't held accountable for their actions
and behavior might be "better" from some 
points of view and "worse" from others.

The IETF decision rules are that decisions are made
by email, and certainly using meetings for discussions
and coming to tentative conclusions to be confirmed
on the mailing list is another approach to standards
governance. I recommend:

http://www.ietf.org/tao.html#getting.things.done

If the chairs wanted to propose a decision
policy with a similar relationship of F2F
and email discussion, I think that would be
worthwhile. 

Larry
--
http://larry.masinter.net
Received on Thursday, 28 January 2010 02:02:42 GMT

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