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RE: Working group moving forward?

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@soe.ucsc.edu>
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 15:54:20 -0800
Message-Id: <200503172354.j2HNsOVj015253@services.cse.ucsc.edu>
To: "'webdav'" <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>

Joe,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the WebDAV WG, and its future
direction. Thank you as well for your contributions to this working group as
its Co-Chair. I know well that this is a time consuming and often thankless
task.

But (and you knew a "but" was coming :-) I do disagree with you on several
points.


> My take on what I've seen in the last several months of the 
> WebDAV working group is that if there was to be a BOF session 
> today, I don't see any way that a working group would get 
> approved.

Irrelevant. In 1996 there was a clear and present need for an interoperable
web authoring standard. At that time, the WebDAV BOF had a standing room
crowd. Of course there would be fewer people today, just as it would be hard
to have a broadly attended FTP BOF, or Telnet BOF. We're not in that phase
of development. We're in completion mode, not ramp up mode. It's never
exciting to dot the final "i" and cross the final "t".

> As far as where we are now, some of the current drafts might 
> make much better progress as individual submissions.

This is very unclear. The progress of individual submissions in the RFC
editor's queue, once they have received IESG approval, is glacial. They
never turn into RFCs. Working group documents fare much better in terms of
responsiveness.

> Keep in mind that in the current process the WG chair has to shepard 
> WG drafts through.  As much as editors may not like this, it 
> means that you have to get at least one WG chair fired
> up enough about your draft to take on this responsibility. 

A Chair assumes certain duties when they take on the position of Chair. 

I do not see any process RFC that states that document authors are required
to generate enthusiasm in their Chairs.


> My guess for BIND is that either Ted or Scott would want 
> clarification on a couple of the interoperability questions 
> that Lisa has raised, regardless of whether the answer can be 
> inferred by a fully-informed reader.

I agree, and applaud that you, as Chair, are helping to focus the discussion
of the working group on productive, tangible work items.

 
> Frankly, I don't think the working group process is adding 
> much in the way of value for the drafts we are working on, 
> compared with other WGs I've participated in.  As such, it 
> may be needless bureaucracy, and we ought to think about 
> decommissioning it.

I disagree. This working group has had a good track record over the past few
years of shipping specifications to RFC status (3648 in 12/2003, 3744 in
5/2004). These specifications have had multiple implementations, and are in
shipping code that meet thousand's of people's needs on a daily basis.

The issues raised in the recent last calls have been subtle, and resolving
them has significantly enhanced the quality and value of the final
specifications. IMO, this is evidence of a working group doing what it's
supposed to do: providing careful, informed review, and producing top
quality specifications.

I think the WebDAV Working Group can very usefully serve two more purposes,
neither of which needs to take much time.

1) Complete BIND.
2) Complete Quota.

Both are very close to completion. Once these two are done, then it seems
reasonable to disband WebDAV WG. Given how close these two documents are to
being done, it would be a waste of all of the effort that has gone into them
to date to stop their development as WG items now.

- Jim
Received on Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:54:26 GMT

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