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RE: Minutes

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 15:11:46 -0500
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00b001c69edc$e96dd1c0$8b17a8c0@NC6000BAK>
Hi all, 


Well, usually (not always - grin, but usually) there is a reason for what we
do and how we do it.

Let me try to address some of the questions about minutes etc. 


The minutes are intended to record all of the decisions of the group. The
context for the decisions, however, necessarily comes from multiple external
resources. The comments made during the meeting generally either supplement
or refer to all of the text we have in front of us from the comments and
task force work before the meeting.  Without this information they would not
make sense or would be misleading.   If we included all of this (the
comments, the proposals, the input from each member etc) that we cover in
each meeting for each of the 15, 30 or 50 comments that we processed each
week -- the set of minutes would not be usable by anyone - since they would
be reams of pages long. 


With the number of comments that came in, - and the fact that range all the
way from telling us about typos and where to add commas,  to different
theories of accessibility, - it is a challenge to get through and develop
action steps and responses to them all. And we don't want to mis-capture
anything in the minutes since we are using them as our formal record. As it
is we often sit silent on the call waiting for the minute taker to catch up
(since they also are participating). Taking minutes is a difficult task and
we appreciate the efforts of the people who volunteer (or get volunteered)
to do this each week. So we have been capturing exactly what the actions and
decisions are for each item at each meeting - but not the reams that go into


We are cognizant of all the information that must go into this -- and so we
have set it up so that each participant can review all of the material, (the
comments, task force recommendations, etc. in advance and take as long as
they wish to think about and craft their comments and opinions.   So people
don't have to comment on the spur of the moment or have to process all this
for the first time at a meeting.  Yes it does take much time (hours) to read
process and comment on the items to be covered at each meeting - but that is
true of all the participants.  And it is the only way we can fairly address
each comment that came in.  


RE: Referring to comments by number.  

Well we really wish that we did have something other than a number (and
shorter than the whole comment) to refer to them by.  But we don't.   The
issues are referred to by number because they have no names or anything else
unique that we can use to refer to them by.  People send in the comments and
we enter them verbatim into the record and give them a number.  We always
refer to them by number because we don't have anything except the number and
the full comment (and that is sometimes very long).  We can say "comment
referring to 2.3.1" or the like because there may be multiple comments
referring to any part.   We can't reduce comments to short phrases for two
reasons.  One, it is always one persons interpretation and simplification of
the comment.   This is dangerous because it loses much of the comment and
colors your reading of the comment. Usually, if the author could have
captured what they wanted to say accurately in a short phrase - they did.
We have short comments but most are too long to use as a handle.  Comments
also often cover several parts of the document or different topics.  Where
possible we break these up into separate comments to make sure we address
each part.  But this isn't always possible.    The best we have found is
simply to use the comment number which can be looked up easily in the
comment database by just typing it in. You have to go there anyway - to see
what the full comment is in order to be fair to the commenter and to make
sense out of any resolution and response.



Please note that all resolutions are tentative til we get all the comments
processed.  We don't want to tell one commenter one thing and then change it
later. So we are trying to get through all the comments before we send out
responses. So at this point we don't have any final resolutions.  In fact we
are still sending notes back to commenters getting additional information on
issues.  And working through them all. 


Thanks for your patience.





Received on Monday, 3 July 2006 20:12:10 UTC

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