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Re: Participation in good standing

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 23:17:56 +0000
Cc: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>, WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Message-Id: <14AA905E-301E-11D8-8E2C-0003939B5AD0@btinternet.com>

Chaals, I have to disagree on this one. I also believe that "good 
standing" is of very little value, and de-bases WAI.
Who needs post-holders in a young, dynamic and exciting environment?

The whole WAI process misses a significant beat, okay so other 
organisations aren't ideal role models either, but that's not to say 
that WAI can't be improved on. The most significant issue or problem as 
I've mentioned in the past is:

 >>>>>>>    We don't appeal to very many users...    <<<<<<

this is a direct result of the current process, which places far too 
much power in the hands of "stakeholders" and gives users nothing.
They're the only people able to sit still, even if their pants are down.
People with learning difficulties have taught me that the feedback loop 
needs to be as short as possible, and we're nowhere near that at 

When we have real input from users to UA, authoring tools as well as 
WCAG, we won't need good standing, and we'll be sure that we've 
something to crow about. Until then I'm happier with Groucho ~:"


On Tuesday, December 16, 2003, at 01:48  pm, Charles McCathieNevile 

> Hey Joe,
> I don't think so.
> W3C is a consortium with a set of rules ("The Process Document") 
> designed to ensure that the massive variety of stakeholders get some 
> kind of accountability, whether or not they are actual members of the 
> Consortium. (This could be contrasted to many similar organisations 
> with similar impact that are not prepared to make themselves so open). 
> You can check these - they are published at 
> http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process/
> The participants in good standing stuff has been in the rules since 
> WAI began, and in every charter. If you join the group you are 
> required to state that you read the charter - it's about a page and a 
> half. Some minimal attention to what you are involved in might have 
> been helpful to ensure this didn't come as such a surprise. In other 
> words, to join the group you did explicitly agree to this already.
> WAI seems to be very aware of the difficulty of participation and 
> remaining in good standing. The rules require attending 
> teleconferences or sending regrets, and being up to date on the 
> mailing list. When I have been in good standing it has generally been 
> through following the mailing list, and sending timely regrets. It 
> isn't that hard to participate, and even if you aren't a member of the 
> group you can send comments, knowing that the working group is 
> required by "the Process" to address them.
> And whatever the rules, WAI seems often to work hard to ensure that 
> people can contribute valuable information. They are certainly not 
> perfect at it, but they strike me as being as good as the available 
> alternatives...
> I share your concern about the narrow range of people who are in a 
> position to contribute regularly. Representing an organisation where 
> the primary language is spanish (the other 4 are Portuguese, Gallego, 
> Catalan and Euskera/Basque) and where many people are not in a 
> position to follow the work because of a language barrier, I 
> understand the problems that the world faces in giving its input to 
> WAI. But I think in this case you're "going off half-cocked", and that 
> a single positive suggestion based on the facts would be more useful 
> to those of us trying to deal with WAI from the outside who don't have 
> a sinecured North American position...
> "Throw out the plan" isn't a suggestion. There isn't "a plan", the 
> status quo that you seem so happy about makes certain requirements of 
> participants, and the thing that got you so excited is a reminder of 
> those. It seems to suggest ways to reduce the commitment to the bare 
> minimum for effective participation. So if the system works now, you 
> seem to be making much ado about nothing.
> cheers
> Chaals
> On Tuesday, Dec 16, 2003, at 09:35 Australia/Melbourne, Joe Clark 
> wrote:
>> The Web Accessibility Initiative remains unable to see that:
>> 1. the PiGS designation (participant in good standing) is inherently
>> elitist and filters out anyone who cannot afford the time or money 
>> for up
>> to 150 hours a year of long-distance telephone consultations and
>> face-to-face meetings. It is a method of *reducing* public 
>> participation.
>> 2. an effort to impose PiGS requirements now is a convenient yet
>> suspicious method to limit participation in WCAG WG or Techniques WG 
>> or
>> any other working group.
>> 3. you can't polish a turd.
>> 4. WAI is acting as though there is something resembling agreement to
>> impose this requirement.
>> *Throw out the plan*. There is nothing broken with the current
>> participation methods that needs fixing, and the cure is worse than 
>> the
>> disease.
> --
> Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
> charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Jonathan Chetwynd
"A web by people with learning difficulties"
Received on Tuesday, 16 December 2003 18:13:05 UTC

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