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W3C Process 2016: Charter extensions and 60 days publication blackouts

From: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:11:17 -0400
To: public-w3process@w3.org
Message-ID: <8cefab94-a23d-e610-97fc-8f04e21958fd@w3.org>
The proposed Process 2016 introduces the following:
[[
Transition requests to First Public Working Draft or Candidate 
Recommendation will not normally be approved while a Working Group's 
charter is undergoing, or awaiting a Director's decision on, an Advisory 
Committee Review, until the Director issues a Call for Participation for 
the Working Group.
]]
https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/AB/raw-file/cfef536bff0d/cover.html

Depending on the interpretation, this addition may be either overly 
restrictive (1) or doesn't have effects (2).

(1) If the sentence is intended to prevent Groups from publishing FPWD 
and CR within 60 days of the end of their charter period, it will have 
unintended side-effects imho. First, it doesn't prevent Groups that are 
actually closing from doing so since those don't trigger charter AC 
reviews. "Working Group 's new charter" is a relative notion in the case 
of merging or splitting Groups and arguments will be made that a 
specific case doesn't apply "because it's not a charter for that Group". 
Second, FPWD for documents that contain non-normative materials will be 
discouraged and the Group will be advised to publish directly a Working 
Group Note, even if they're meaning to attract wide reviews within those 
60 days. Third, if the Group is 3 months away from publishing a REC but 
would like to start a new charter that keeps, adds or remove 
deliverables (it happens recently with Web Performance for example), it 
will have the unfortunate choice between delaying their REC (if they 
need to update their CR with a substantive change) or delaying 
requesting to keep, add or remove deliverables to their charter to avoid 
the 60 blackout period for the purpose of updating their CR. Fourth, 
that sentence prevents valid cases that are listed under (2) below. I 
believe that the sentence needs more refinement and considerations 
before we add it into the W3C Process and make the current rechartering 
process more complex.

(2) If an existing charter is effective (because it has been extended by 
the Director or because it's within its initial time period), a Group is 
allowed to publish a document under that current charter. This is 
independent of ongoing AC reviews as far as I know. This allows us cases 
such as adding an additional deliverable mid-charter, adding the 
document into an additional charter to make it a joint deliverable, 
publishing updated CR documents to keep our milestones as close as 
possible, etc. The sentence added in Process 2016 could be interpreted 
as not changing this since it's talking about the charter undergoing the 
AC review, and not about the current charter of the Group. As such, if 
an existing charter has been extended for the purpose of allowing time 
while we're undergoing an AC review for a new charter period, a Group is 
still allowed to publish FPWD and CR under the extended charter and I'm 
not sure what the sentence is adding or preventing.

Philippe
Received on Thursday, 25 August 2016 14:11:22 UTC

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