W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-w3process@w3.org > May 2014

Re: "elections" without voting

From: Brian Kardell <bkardell@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 17:57:52 -0400
Message-ID: <CADC=+jdwujOA-LDv694Pm6Aqg=v5+_9z_3xoAM1PgbYZ7y=obQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Cc: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 2:01 PM, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com> wrote:

> I fundamentally disagree with Brian Kardell; I don't think that voting and
> electioneering are healthy and positive ways of filling positions for AB
> and TAG.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, I feel compelled to respond :)  It's not my intent
to dominate a discussion here, in fact, I'd rather have it 'really' in the
open... If you'd be interested, perhaps we could both blog and link.
 Either way, here goes...

> These are voluntary, unpaid, advisory positions with no actual authority
> other than the validity of the advice they provide.

No change in this either way, unless you are suggesting we pay them. Prior
to a couple of years ago, my understanding is that both were mainly unknown
entities.  I don't see that there was much interest in them (please show me
if I am wrong).  There was often a shortage of candidates nominated as I
understand and it is my opinion (and the opinion of many people) that they
were somewhat ineffectual or irrelevant or out of touch.  I realize that it
is hard to not be offended by this comment or take it personally (as you
served), but it's not a personal comment - it's more of an organizational
one IMO, so please, try to take it as dispassionately as possible.

> Electioneering is counter-productive, reducing people to trading slogans,
> and discouraging otherwise qualified individuals from subjecting themselves
> to the process.

I have never petitioned anyone with a slogan.  I have written blogs about
why I thought it was important, as have candidates (you included, which I
thought was great), had substantive discussions, sent personal emails about
why things are important in both global terms and for specific orgs.  I
have also received contributions from others which we've used as 'buttons'
and done other things - always to draw attention to/linked to the subject.
 I haven't seen any smear campaigning or trivializing, and I think that
what the folks we have elected have accomplished is substantial and
valuable to the continued viability/long term health of the Web, the W3C
and to developers. People know what they are voting for, they know the
direction and have a sense of what sorts of advice and things they'd like
to work on.  I do not see how this is a bad thing.  Who is discouraged?
 Why is that?  I see this entirely differently:  Elections provide an
opportunity at regular intervals for people to stop, pay attention, reflect
on where we are and where we'd like to go and weigh in.

> I think the solution is to employ some other process than voting for
> selection.

I could be wrong about this, but as I understand the process - in order to
do this, you would basically need an election... The ACs and I'd expect AB
to have some comments, would have to vote to change the process - right?  I
expect you would debate on this, talk to ACs that you know, send personal
emails to the relevant folks to make your case.  I would blog about it and
tweet about it and do the same.  It's sort of like the election to end all
elections.  Possible, I guess, but I think you need to make a pretty good
counter case...

> The IETF chooses its volunteer officials (Area Directors, IAB)  using a
> Nominating Committee https://www.ietf.org/nomcom/index.html
> who evaluate candidates confidentially against well-published criteria,
> with personal interviews, (confidential) comments, review of candidates
> answers to a questionnaire...
> "Details of the selection and operation of the Nomcom can be found in RFCs
> 3777, 3797, 5078, 5633, 5680, and 6859. Four of those RFCs (3777, 5633,
> 5680 and 6859) comprise BCP 10."
> NomCom voting members are chosen at random among volunteers (subject to
> some attendance/participation qualifications).
> The NomCom's selections are confirmed (Or not) by a confirming body.
> W3C should consider adopting something like this for TAG and AB selection,
> e.g., select NomCom voting members through random selection of volunteers
> from AC members or their designees and active working group participants.
> The AC can then act as 'confirming body'.
So, if I understand: You'd like to add additional process, more committees
and more levels of indirection and nomination and closed-off-ness requiring
more data and further limiting who can serve (maybe, unsure of your wording
above)?  Maybe I am reading this very wrongly, but, that doesn't sound good
to me as I understand it - see next bit...

> You might wind up with more candidates qualified to manage the
> responsibilities of TAG and AB, and reduce the politicking.
> Where you might actually want politics and so forth is in choosing
> organizational priorities for resources, but neither TAG nor AB manage
> W3C's resource allocation.

Interesting - can you explain the specific distinction you are making here?
 Do you feel like somehow either TAG or AB elections have overstepped some
bounds?  Are they dealing with resource allocation somehow?

> Larry
> --
> http://larry.masinter.net

Brian Kardell :: @briankardell :: hitchjs.com
Received on Tuesday, 6 May 2014 21:58:22 UTC

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