proposal process

   I must say that I'm sympathetic to Len in his comments on process, in
contradistinction to the last time this kind of debate came up. While I
have not put forth a "final solution" proposal, I've made several concrete
proposals (including required architectural forms, suggested XML BOS
algorithms, and terminology). Aside from the continuing arguments over
design principles, I've enver gotten any reaction or feedback on any of
these proposals. I've been waiting for the ERB to post a list of "design
decision queries", as they did with XML, once they felt that the discussion
had brought the issues out, and decisions were to be made.

   I find that it's very hard to try to make architectural or design
suggestions in a final proposal, because so many of the tradeoffs and
discussions have already happened by the time such a proposal is ready for
even a preliminary presentation. This is one reason that I've not dealt
with Eliot's proposal in depth or made an all-in-one counter proposal. I
think that it is a bit premature to have such proposals. I also am not paid
to do this (or paid at allfor that matter!), and I can't take a day and a
half just to write something that _should_ be discarded.

   If the ERB propagates it working decisions in the form of a complete
preliminary proposal before we have a directed design-decision by
design-decision discussion, I predict that the final result will be
strongly determined by the initial proposal. This may be good or bad, but
it is likely to happen.

    Like a lot of other people here, I've got other things that are
supposed to take a higher priority than XML, and I let the email traffic
eat more time than I have, but crunching through a long draft line-by-line
makes it much harder to fit into the schedule, than having an
issue-by-issue discussion where you need not even talk about issues not of
interest. Believe it or not, there are issues that I don't hold forth on!

   So I would ask that we get either a list of queries, or at least regular
updates on decisions taken, so that we can try to have them reversed, if
possible, even though that is a much harder process for everyone given that
the ERB suffers the weariness of revisiting the "final" decision on issues
multiple times. I think there is also strong inertia once a decision is
taken, regardless of the quality of that decision -- It's more work to
change your mind that to make it up in the first place.

   -- David

I am not a number. I am an undefined character.
David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/   \  Dynamic Diagrams
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