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

Re: Workshop and meeting requirements

From: David Singer <singer@mac.com>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2014 10:23:59 +0200
Cc: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-id: <F8142F9B-3C48-494A-BDCD-6C3197FACFBF@mac.com>
To: Chris Wilson <cwilso@google.com>
Hi Chris

I agree that making remote participation the best it can be is important.  But you missed — and we missed you at — a lot of ‘hallway conversations’ and the opportunity for socializing ideas and so on, by being remote from Shenzhen. Being there really is better than being on the phone.

I actually think that the W3C’s remote participation tools and techniques are quite good — more functional than some commercial projects — but that some amount of web engineering could make them even better.  On some WG calls, I have a chat session open, the spec., the tracker page (issues and actions), and the email threads — all in separate unlinked windows.  But they are all web resources.  Seems like a few tricks could really integrate these so participants are not dotting around between windows all the time.

On May 13, 2014, at 19:39 , Chris Wilson <cwilso@google.com> wrote:

> 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 participate".
> 	• 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
> 
> 
> 

Dave Singer

singer@mac.com
Received on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:24:33 UTC

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