W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-vision-newstd@w3.org > August 2010

Re: Early draft of new standards proposal

From: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 10:36:54 +0100 (BST)
Message-ID: <d879aa6fc594ee8ec19602b5313b102f.squirrel@webmail-mit.w3.org>
To: "Thomas Roessler" <tlr@w3.org>
Cc: "Dominique Hazael-Massieux" <dom@w3.org>, "Thomas Roessler" <tlr@w3.org>, "Ian Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>, public-vision-newstd@w3.org
> On 4 Aug 2010, at 10:59, Dominique Hazael-Massieux wrote:
>> The table is quite useful; it would probably be useful to highlight what
>> are the things that are still to be defined, since that's the places
>> where we need concrete input as soon as possible. Also, I'm not sure if
>> you're interested in feedback on the proposed items for the new
>> processes or not (that wasn't part of your question); I'm sending it in
>> any case :)
> I'll throw another dimension in: Are there any of the existing processes
> that we should throw out? If, for example, we accept the "community group"
> idea, then it's not clear that there's a need for incubators to continue
> existing.
>> I'm not sure if the so-called "new idea forum" is anything more than
>> www-talk? If so, and given that most of the lines in the table are N/A,
>> I'm not sure it's really worth keeping in.
> +1 -- I don't think we should try to introduce a process where the best
> thing to do is to live without one.

Although I might add that a new process may be necessary if there are not
as many "new ideas with substantial impact" coming to the W3C as are
needed to keep the W3C as a centre of innovation.

I think obviously IGs should be replaced with/merged with "new idea" forum
and XGs should be replaced with/merged with a new "community process".
Having too many process options for folks is actually counter-productive
if they are too similar. I'll send another e-mail out on this later.

>> I think the "mostly boilerplate" allusion for the charter of W3C
>> community groups should be removed; if anything should disappear from a
>> lightweight charter, it should be the boilerplate. My view is that a
>> group's charter explains to the world what the group is working on, and
>> helps the group stay focus on a reduced set of topics; I think that
>> remains useful no matter the type of the group; but it may be that the
>> charter should not be a prerequisite to start the work, and that it in
>> fact be one of the first work items of the group.
> +1 to that as well.  The basic idea could be that some incubator-like
> organism can be put together for a limited time, gets to write the
> charter, and is only then advertised to the AC.

The issue with charters, as told to me by some of the people we've
interviewed in the Social Web XG, is that many people would just rather do
some code and set-up a listserv, and eventually draft a spec, rather than
write a charter, create a spec, and *then* code. The charter is a barrier
to entry for people who are not used to writing them.

However, the problem is not actually chartering, but a lack of
communication of people with W3C Team so that they can write a charter
together. Also, writing a charter for a WG is currently a pretty big step,
often seen as endorsing a particular technology of the W3C. It seems
sensible that whatever new process is baked up here makes it easy for
coders and folks from outside the W3C to get in touch with a Team member,
talk over issues with them, and then let the Team member write a first
draft charter *without* necessarily the W3C committing for this to be a
new standard.

>> "Approval required": if a chartered group is responsible for approval,
>> it probably needs to be provided with a set of criteria, which I guess
>> this task force should at least start drafting; is a PigML WCG OK? is a
>> WCG on political topics OK? is a WCG on whale fishing OK? Getting any
>> kind of review in less than one business day is going to be hard, no
>> matter what. I think that again, there is probably a need to distinguish
>> various approval/review steps (one is about getting some basic
>> infrastructure e.g. to discuss a potential charter which should probably
>> granted very freely and in almost no time, start working on a concrete
>> spec, etc; another is reviewing/announcing a charter once it solidifies,
>> gathering IPR commitments, etc.)

Obviously there should be a review process (and longer than a day will
probably be necessary, but hopefully less than a month, but this is a
detail), but it should open, transparent, and democratic. For example,
there are many technology areas like identity that are outside the
expertise of Team (where I think tlr is our only expert in that area).

> The question you're asking boils down to another one: What's the
> governance model (if any) for these groups?  E.g., do we expect to have
> groups around competing technologies as a matter of routine?  Do we permit
> a community group that pursues a technology that competes with a WG?
> What's the expectation for community consensus around charters? What's the
> expectation for consistency with (some version of) web architecture?
> It'll be important to be fairly explicit about that sort of thing, or at
> the very least about processes and decision-making.


>> "Consensus-building requirement" is ambiguous: is it inside the group,
>> or for the group with the rest of the world?
>> This actually opens a different question that probably need to be
>> raised: who is allowed to join a WCG and when? can someone be refused
>> from joining a group? can someone be ejected from a group?

+1. I think W3C process needs to be clarified here as well *in general*,
such as the case where a Working Chair goes "off the rails" so to speak.
Received on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 09:36:56 UTC

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