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Re: Issue-163 Update of Members that are Consortia themselves

From: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:21:42 +0100
To: "Stephen Zilles" <szilles@adobe.com>, "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>, "Ralph R. Swick" <swick@w3.org>, "J. Alan Bird" <abird@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.ycknmgrbs7agh9@widsith.local>
On Tue, 09 Feb 2016 03:38:27 +0100, J. Alan Bird <abird@w3.org> wrote:

> (adding Ralph)
> On 2/8/2016 23:03, Chaals McCathie Nevile wrote:
>> Hi Alan, all
>> On Mon, 08 Feb 2016 07:13:28 +0100, J. Alan Bird <abird@w3.org> wrote:
>>     Steve and company,
>> (That includes you, as a member of the group ;) ).
>>        I've taken my next shot at the language and THINK I have
>>     everything we need in the current version.  As a reminder it is
>>     located here <https://www.w3.org/2015/09/Process2.1Proposal.html>.
>> A few points.
>> Regarding the Introductory Membership changes, it seems that W3C is
>> effectively offering restrictive memberships in certain cases, e.g.
>> lower price for fewer privileges. Allowing this provides a general
>> mechanism for different classes of membership, but I suggest the text
>> we use be "subject to further restrictions included in the membership
>> agreement".
> This is something Ralph proposed so adding him for comments.

OK. I think this is purely editorial, but it clarifies that W3C can use  
differential membership agreements… Although W3C should be clear to  
communicate that there are in fact different classes of membership with  
differences beyond just the fee paid.

>> For representatives of a Consortium, I think we're not quite there.
>> 1. For the most part W3C doesn't accord numeric value to vote on
>> issues of substance. The exceptions are elections for TAG and AB -
>> while I think those cases matter I propose we handle the Working Group
>> case first.
>> We currently have in the Process Document itself (section 5.2.1)
>> "A participant/must/represent at most one organization in a Working
>> Group or Interest Group."
>> So the constraint in your proposed text: "and not the particular
>> interests of their employers." (first and second bullets, end of the
>> last sentence) seems redundant at best. I propose we remove it.

> This is the meat of the problem.  Consortium's appoint people who show
> up and represent one company - their employer NOT the Consortium that
> appoints them.

Yes. I don't think you can *stop* people from representing interests of  
their employer if that isn't their sponsoring organisation. Moreover, in  
most cases, I don't think we want to do so. We work by getting technical  
consensus around the best workable approach. Asking someone not to provide  
the perspective of their employer seems counter-productive, and runs  
against our general approach of working in a way that invites as much  
public feedback as possible.

That said, it should be clear that participants are expected to represent  
their "sponsoring member", even if they add further information. So  
"speaking for myself I think this is a great/terrible idea, but I have no  
idea or interest in what my sponsoring W3C member thinks" is below the  
expected level of knowledge. Whereas "my sponsor believes X and its  
business model means it is forced to fight ahrd for that, but on the other  
hand I and my other organisational affiliation think that we could also  
find consensus on approach Y" adds value to our discussions above the  
minimum level expected.

>> In principle, people could represent one or more organisations when
>> they participate in W3C. I think the most extreme case I can recall
>> from real W3C history was a W3C Fellow, who was therefore both a
>> member of the Team and a representative of a Member organisation that
>> employed him, and who furthermore represented his own company which
>> was also a Member. Pretending that somebody cannot provide information
>> from their various perspectives seems counter-productive, so in terms
>> of presenting the perspectives of multiple organisations it seems
>> perfectly reasonable that one person represent multiple perspectives.
>> There is a separate issue in which I propose we remove the constraint
>> on people representing more than one organisation, but I do recognise
>> that people appointed through a member consortium should primarily
>> represent the consortium in terms of "voting", so I think the broad
>> thrust of your proposal makes good sense.

> I think it's far more than just their voting.  I think it has to do with
> what their goals are for participating - i.e. taking knowledge to their
> employer who SHOULD BE A MEMBER

There's not a huge amount of knowledge to take, given our trend to do  
nearly everything in Public.

Formally, people who are representing a member should be bound to maintain  
member confidentiality to the point where their sponsoring member is the  
range of permitted sharing. I think we should look harder at that.

> and more challenging making technical
> contributions of IP from their EMPLOYER where there is not commitment
> for that IP being royalty free.

For this, see below.

>> 2. I would make the ponts about representation etc apply to all
>> representatives of the consortium. It is not unusual for a Consortium
>> to have officers who are employees of one or other member - perhaps
>> paid by the consortium, perhaps on secondment - consider for example
>> W3C fellows.

> We want to limit the non-employee participants of Consortia whose
> Members are Organizations to the direct employees of the Consortia,
> their appointed AC Rep and people in leadership roles in the Consortia.
> Right now that's not the case and we're having "revolving seats" from
> the Consortia.

Yeah, except that in practice that doesn't work - organisations should  
have the right to change their representatives as appropriate, and in  
reality that can often mean on a per-meeting basis.

>> 3. If Consortia participate in technical work, the problem of IPR is
>> pretty hairy. I think it is reasonable to expect that if someone's
>> employer has asked them to represent a Consortium of which they are a
>> part, that representative comes with an IPR commitment from both the
>> Consortium *and* their employer. I realise this is a potential
>> disincentive, but allowing people to bypass a commitment from their
>> empoyer by being nominated through a consortium strikes me as the sort
>> of case for which we *want* to provide disincentives.

> I'm of the position that if they are making IPR commitments from their
> EMPLOYER vs. the Consortia they are appointed by that we reject that IP
> and tell them to join to do it properly.   This may put a burden on the
> chairs but as Membership Fees are in fact over 75% of our revenue (not
> sure of exact percentage right now) we need to protect that revenue  
> stream.

I agree that we need to protect the membership revenue stream if we have  
no other business model. I think you should also look at the question of  
how many people can participate across W3C from a given organisation  
without that organisation being a member.

But where an organisation is *not* a member, and is providing someone to  
do technical work on behalf of a consortium, I think it isn't unreasonable  
- and is in line with W3C's goals to provide the broadest RF licensing  
protection possible for its standards - to ask that the person make a  
commitment on behalf of their employer.

Although to have this as well as the Consortium they represent, we would  
effectively be treating them as an IE, and have to check how that plays  
out in our actual processes.


Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
  chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Tuesday, 9 February 2016 15:22:21 UTC

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