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Re: Workshop and meeting requirements

From: Chris Wilson <cwilso@google.com>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 10:39:49 -0700
Message-ID: <CAJK2wqV9CBJVJb6w--h4qbfDyObPavf8BgCE1OyUP92CzSf19Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Singer <singer@mac.com>
Cc: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Sigh.  There is more in this entire thread that I can really get to, so I
want to underscore some points.

   - I disagree that in-person presence is vastly better than remote
   participation.  In short, I didn't go to Shenzhen at all (setting political
   reasons aside), because the hassle of getting there was simply too much to
   take out of my schedule at the time.  We owe it to the Membership to make
   remote participation workable.  Yes, there will always be value in meeting
   people ftf.  That doesn't mean we should continue to optimize around
   getting everyone in the same room at the same time, because that optimizes
   for those who will travel, can afford to travel, etc.  As Chaals said, this
   unfairly optimizes.
   - The Shenzhen WebRTC meeting was (afaict) poorly planned (due to
   expectation setting) and poorly executed (due to network and hardware).  I
   desperately wish that it had not happened, or that people would stop
   considering it as a test case, because those are solvable problems.  I've
   had two separate remote meetings this morning already, and both were a
   wildly better experience than flying to London to meet with the
   attendees. I think that meeting DOES underscore how critically important
   remote participation is to encouraging participation, since it turned out I
   wasn't the only one around who wanted to stay physically on my current side
   of the world.  This may sound exclusionary; quite the opposite, I want to
   enable those in China (or wherever) to productively participate when I set
   up a meeting in Mountain View on short notice.
   - I agree with David's "strength of outcome is related to opportunity to
   - To Chaals' reluctance to reduce notice requirement: I don't have a
   problem with 8 week notice for physical open workshops, or
   required-attendance FTF meetings, and I would not like to have 1 week
   scheduling be the norm or anything.  However, we already have the ability
   to be more agile, in the current process, given sufficient remote
   participation capability; if we continue to say that's undesirable, we
   simply encourage work to happen outside the aegis of the W3C.

And that last point is simply my main one: if we do not enable agile,
distributed, remotely-participated-in work to happen - with the caveat that
we are optimizing for openness and inclusion - then work will continue to
happen outside the W3C; I'll just stop feeling bad about it.

To be clear again - I do not believe this requires changes to the Process;
it simply means most meetings are distributed, and we put emphasis on
enabling remote participation.  I do not particularly care about revamping
Workshops, because I can always create a Community Group and call a
distributed meeting.  :)

On Tue, May 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM, David Singer <singer@mac.com> wrote:

> There are a lot of inter-related concepts at play here, and some of them
> are in conflict.
> Even if the process formally says that decisions made at face to face
> meetings are not final, there is strong social pressure — and indeed, for
> meetings to be effective, there needs to be strong social pressure — to
> allow the meeting to set a direction and move ahead.  “Look, maybe you have
> a point, but we discussed this for two days in Uttar Pradesh, and we need
> very convincing arguments to re-open the discussion.”
> I think if you really want a workshop with an open-ended international
> attendance, on a subject important enough to warrant international travel,
> it really ought to be possible to plan 8 weeks in advance, be clear about
> the subject and agenda of the workshop — and prioritize attendance based on
> demonstrated interest and ability to contribute (statements of interest,
> position papers, and so on).
> Travel starts to get expensive as periods shorten; we’re not all rich (and
> the rich didn’t get that way by being careless about money, either), and
> visa requirements and so on can be time-consuming. If “all X have the right
> to attend” but not the opportunity, how strong are the rights?
> But at the opposite extreme, sometimes a question comes up in a working
> group, and a subset volunteer “look, let’s get together around a whiteboard
> and in a place we can experiment, and we’ll report back” that clearly
> doesn’t need nearly as much planning (and it’s done all the time). Perhaps
> it’s worth stating as a principle that the strength of an outcome is
> roughly proportional to the opportunity to be involved in it; so a formal
> vote of all members of a WG is stronger than a consensus at a face to face
> meeting, which is stronger than the outcome of an informal get-together,
> and so on.
> Remote participation is better than no participation; but in-person
> presence is still vastly better than remote participation. We only have to
> look at the WebRTC meeting in Shenzhen and Seattle to realize that one
> group (as it happened, in the official location in Shenzhen) felt that they
> were in second class by virtue of being remote from what transpired to be
> the main meeting.
> WG meetings, and sub-meetings, really are different from open events. The
> list of candidates for a WG meeting (the members) is known in advance, and
> can self-indicate a desire to be involved. Open workshops have no such
> advantage; indeed, often a major point of them is to help locate
> appropriate talent and expertise we were previously unaware of.  That takes
> time.
> If it’s worth holding a meeting, it’s worth keeping and publishing a
> record (I doubt anyone disagrees with this, though people tend to get lax
> after a meeting has happened and the excitement has passed).
> Dave Singer
> singer@mac.com
Received on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 17:40:16 UTC

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