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Re: Documentation of the updated decision process of the DNT WG

From: Sean Harvey <sharvey@google.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2012 10:13:27 -0500
Message-ID: <CAFy-vueF6OTMK_sCQb2Oe5bZF8BZgqyC2vnZzTyNqZabqVhZXw@mail.gmail.com>
To: ifette@google.com
Cc: John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>, Nicholas Doty <npdoty@w3.org>, Matthias Schunter <mts@zurich.ibm.com>, "public-tracking@w3.org" <public-tracking@w3.org>
I will take care to make closer note of the minutes in future before they
are approved, as I do not believe the minutes fully reflect the tone or
substance of my comments at the time. That said, the most salient thing to
note here is that at no time during the Brussels meeting were we asked to
approve this new, non-consensus process for finalizing the documents. The
new non-consensus process was presented briefly as a fait accompli, but we
were never asked to approve it and it was suggested that we were not going
to be given the opportunity to provide substantive input on it.

2012/3/7 Ian Fette (イアンフェッティ) <ifette@google.com>

> Hi John,
> I'll note that the W3C process (3.2) states agendas for W3C WG face to
> face meetings shall be posted two weeks prior to the meeting, and that this
> was not in the agenda, and is a rather clear departure from what was in the
> agenda.
> As Matthias' presentation was not scribed in a detailed fashion, it is
> hard for me to know what Sean said was "fair". Specifically, the
> presentation linked to in the minutes (
> http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/brussels/W3C-DNT-ProcessRefinement-v03.pdf)
> describes a "text-centric process" "if it is not written as text it does
> not exist" but does not make it clear that substantive issues will be
> closed. Substantive issues can be raised against text (there is text,
> therefore the issue exists) without having a clear proposal for alternate
> text -- a proposal could be "this part of the spec is unworkable and should
> be removed."
> Also, "... I feel we have agreement and we're now allowed to get on your
> nerves a bit more" is not a good recording of consensus. We have a format
> for that "RESOLUTION: something concrete". This was neither documented as a
> resolution, nor was it made explicit what actions arise from such
> resolution.
> Furthermore, I don't believe a group can (even by consensus) just resolve
> to change something fundamental to its charter and W3C process.
> For what it's worth, the minutes note HTML5 as an example. The similar
> process referenced in HTML5 has been highly contentious within the W3C, and
> is largely necessary only because the W3C HTML working group is in a rather
> dysfunctional state trying to reconcile a political reality where a large
> amount of work (and/or perceived work) is still to this day happening in a
> group outside of W3C (WHATWG). It's not a very solid example to lean on.
> -Ian
> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:45 PM, John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>wrote:
>> Hi Ian,
>> I've been following your concern about changes in process.  For what's
>> worth, I was in Brussels and I thought the notes and Matthias Schutner's
>> comment as entered into IRC by the scribe:
>> *" our primary goal is to have a complete document end-to-end *
>> *... I feel we have agreement and we're now allowed to get on your
>> nerves a bit more*"
>> accurately reflected a consensus in the room to go forward with the
>> process.
>> I also note that the minutes record your colleague Sean Harvey as saying:
>> *"this all sounds reasonable
>> ... how does this connect to the mini-groups we're looking at today?
>> ... everything you've described in this process sounds fair" *
>> *
>> *
>> As ever,
>> John
>> --------------------
>> On Mar 7, 2012, at 4:28 PM, Ian Fette (イアンフェッティ) wrote:
>> Hi Nick,
>> Reply inline:
>> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:13 PM, Nicholas Doty <npdoty@w3.org> wrote:
>>> On Mar 7, 2012, at 2:21 PM, Ian Fette (イアンフェッティ) wrote:
>>> > I see the discussion of the process, I also see concerns. I don't see
>>> any resolution recorded or any vote.
>>> >
>>> > I will also note that the charter of this group specifically says
>>> >
>>> > "As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will
>>> seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a
>>> question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different
>>> opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote)
>>> and any objections, and move on.
>>> Right. As noted in both the Charter and in the Process Document, chairs
>>> may need to record decisions when there is dissent in order for the group
>>> to move on, a formal vote is one step that may be involved. Here, Aleecia
>>> and Matthias are just documenting how they plan to record decisions (text
>>> proposals and counter-proposals, calls for objections, Working Group
>>> decision, re-opening on new information).
>> According to 3.4, a vote is in order when all means of reaching consensus
>> have failed and a vote is necessary to proceed past deadlock. In this case,
>> there are requirements that MUST be followed for the vote. The charter of
>> this WG states that we will attempt consensus, and that if we cannot reach
>> it, the chairs will, after "consideration of different opinions, the Chair
>> should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections,
>> and move on."
>> "If no text proposals are written for an issue, the chairs may choose to
>> close the issue for apparent lack of interest." does not jive well with
>> that. An issue implies a lack of consensus. It may be that there is no good
>> alternate text that solves an issue and that the best the group can do is
>> to drop a part of the spec as there is no text that will lead to consensus
>> and/or an implementable solution. The Chairs should not be empowered to
>> merely close an issue which indicates a lack of consent by implying that
>> the lack of alternate text is an "apparent lack of interest".
>>> > This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the
>>> W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the
>>> Process Document requires."
>>> >
>>> > Section 3.4 of the W3C process document is quite specific about voting
>>> requirements, and our charter specifically states no procedure beyond what
>>> the W3C process document requires are adopted by the group.
>>> If the chairs plan to decide consensus based on a formal vote, then we
>>> would use Section 3.4 as that process (rather than requiring a specific
>>> supermajority, say, or setting any other conditions).
>>> > This seems like a significant change to the charter of the group which
>>> should wait for the rechartering discussion.
>>> I think this is just an explanation of how the chairs plan to determine
>>> Working Group decisions (as described in the Process Document, proposals
>>> that create the weakest objections) rather than a charter change that needs
>>> wider Advisory Committee review. That the chairs saw a lot of support
>>> (along with some concerns, certainly) for this procedure at our Brussels
>>> meeting suggested to me that their explanation is acceptable.
>> I don't see how a working group can adopt something before there's a
>> concrete written proposal. At best, such support should be construed as a
>> willingness to review such a written proposal, which is what we are now
>> doing and said proposal I am objecting to (still in the lower-case 'o'
>> sense, though I would like to discuss this before it is applied, or I will
>> Object.)
>>> Thanks,
>>> Nick
>>  ----------
>> John M. Simpson
>> Consumer Advocate
>> Consumer Watchdog
>> 1750 Ocean Park Blvd. ,Suite 200
>> Santa Monica, CA,90405
>> Tel: 310-392-7041
>> Cell: 310-292-1902
>> www.ConsumerWatchdog.org
>> john@consumerwatchdog.org

Sean Harvey
Business Product Manager
Google, Inc.
Received on Thursday, 8 March 2012 15:14:05 UTC

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