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Re: Improving Communication and Expectations

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 08:18:33 +0000 (UTC)
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>, www-archive@w3.org, "public-webapps@w3.org" <public-webapps@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0806160814150.6527@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Mon, 16 Jun 2008, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> 
> I am strongly against making binding decisions in telecons. In my 
> experience, there is not enough time in the course of a telecon to fully 
> think through a proposed decision, but usually no one objects to any 
> given decision if they cannot think of an immediate objection. Thus, 
> decisions are effectively made by anyone who can speak forcefully enough 
> to convince the chair to propose a resolution. This is exacerbated by 
> the fact that telecon decisions are often put as a proposed resolution 
> and the chair only asks for objections. That means that even if no one 
> understands the proposal enough to be affirmatively in favor, but does 
> not feel uncomfortable objecting to something they don't understand, it 
> still ends up passing. Also, telecon-based decisions often end up 
> ignoring email feedback if those who gave feedback by email are not 
> present to defend their position.
> 
> I will add that in my experience with API development in a commercial 
> setting, we would never think to make API decisions by phone, or even 
> via an in-person meeting. Every API addition has at least a week of 
> email discussion before it can become final, with additional in-person 
> meetings if needed for complex topics. I think Web standards desrve to 
> be treated with at least the same degree of seriousness.
> 
> It is simply not possible to make an informed technical decision in the 
> scope of a one-hour phone call, with only a few minutes of discussion. 
> No software project works this way, and a standards project shouldn't 
> either.

This very much matches my experiences and Google's internal practices, as 
well as the practices I've seen in all successful open source projects.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 16 June 2008 08:19:23 GMT

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