W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-w3process@w3.org > December 2018

Process calls, and the way we work, and (no) meeting this week

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:20:35 -0800
Message-id: <20D7E7B4-19E4-4433-9EBA-CF8363121F50@apple.com>
To: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
First, we are tentatively pencilled in for a meeting this week. Since I have noticed no AC comment during the informal review period, and nothing else we need to discuss, I do not think we need a call on the process document and its issues. The call on 12/12 is CANCELLED.

However, this is a good time (and I have been prodded) to consider our work mode.  In theory, we
* open issues
* decide on our priorities
* assign people to issues
* debate in the issue until we see clarity, or at least the landscape
* have the assignees, or someone, make a proposed pull request
* debate that
* approve it

and most of this is supposed to happen in a large community, offline, in our own time, on the important issues. We use the calls to determine consensus on decisions, and decisions are about something concrete (“issue X is a priority”, “pull request Y is acceptable”, and so on).

The agendas are oriented around this work mode; the agendas I prepare
* review pull requests
* review the status of issues marked as priority, to decide what the next steps are
* categorize (priority or not? editorial or technical? who can we assign?) new issues
* look at issues that get attention that are not priorities

However, we observe that actually:
* the community is small
* the number of people doing offline preparation of comments, pull requests, etc., is even smaller
* we tend to work on what interests us, and some ‘priorities’ don’t get enough attention to be finished
* I have heard the process CG characterized as "grinding through tons of small issues via a heavily scripted monthly phone call that has a tiny amount of participation"

So, it’s not working as intended or as well as it should.

So, this email is supposed to spark a fun end-of-year meta-discussion. How can we improve?  Possibilities include:
* we go to more frequent calls
* we re-jig the agenda (Florian had a specific suggestion <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-w3process/2018Oct/0001.html>, which we partially adopted <https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-w3process/2018Oct/0004.html>)
* … other ideas …?


Given the distributed nature of the W3C, I think offline working is much more palatable than synchronous calls. The agenda already tries to steer people towards priorities; and I think we’re likely to make less progress, not more, if we have more free-floating discussion on the calls. So for me, the key is…how do we get more people doing more thought and posting offline, between calls, so we can make decisions on the calls?

So, un-characteristically, I’m throwing it open for free-form discussion. Blunt criticism, constructive suggestions, everything welcome.


David Singer
Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Tuesday, 11 December 2018 00:21:09 UTC

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