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

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

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2018 15:03:14 -0800
Cc: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-id: <F2AC979C-4EB9-4EEC-8AD3-EE9CC0F62D8F@apple.com>
To: Léonie Watson <tink@tink.uk>
I have been thinking this over, and I think we get worried about the lack of participation on the calls.

But we’ve been asking people: file issues, comment on the issues, try to find consensus in offline debate; and we’ll confirm consensus and do the management/triage and so on, on the calls. I don’t want more frequent calls, I don’t want longer calls, and honestly I don’t see it as a problem if most people think they don’t need to attend the call (but they can if they like).

So, do we *actually* have a participation problem?

I agree, the focus on interesting and significant issues problem remains. But that’s almost the nature of standards work, as Chaals points out — people work on what they are motivated to work on. It’s hard to change that. We can’t *tell* people to do anything.

> On Dec 12, 2018, at 1:35 , Léonie Watson <tink@tink.uk> wrote:
> 
> Thinking out loud...
> 
> It seems that lack of participation underpins much of the criticism. It does take a particular kind of person to be interested in this aspect of the work, and most of us are busy people involved in many other activities.
> 
> Is it worth doing a recruitment campaign? It's notoriously hard to get a response out of the AC at the best of times, but for the sake of an email or two, it might be worth a shot.
> 
> Can the team help reach out to organisations who tend to ignore the AC forum, to encourage participation? Thinking specifically of team contacts that operate within the different host regions.
> 
> Oddly, despite the criticism, I find the process CG one of the more useful places to participate. Florian is doing a terrific job raising PRs in response to issues/discussions, which is really helpful, and Dave is a crack Chair.
> 
> So perhaps the question is not whether we should adapt our model or not, but how we can better focus on the priorities? I don't have an immediate solution for this though I'm afraid!
> 
> Léonie.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On 11/12/2018 00:20, David Singer wrote:
>> 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.
> 
> -- 
> @LeonieWatson tink.uk Carpe diem

David Singer
Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 23:03:45 UTC

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