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Re: Decision process in the HTML working group

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 08:03:56 -0500
Message-ID: <463DD23C.1020508@w3.org>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, www-archive@w3.org

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> Hello HTML WG Chairs,
> I think the decision process for our first formal resolution has not 
> turned out so well. Counting every "no" vote as a Formal Objection means 
> that to register any kind of dissent, one must automatically lie across 
> the metaphorical railroad tracks, requiring either work stoppage or 
> escalation of the dispute. I think this creates two problems:
> 1) People who disagree with the majority feel pressured not to vote 
> "no", since it would potentially impede the progress of the group. In a 
> straw poll, people should feel free to vote their conscience without 
> worrying they may put the work of the group at risk.

This isn't a straw poll.

People who just want to express disagreement
without formally objecting are supposed to just express that
disagreement in email or in the rationale field and abstain.

> 2) People who do want to register their disagreement automatically 
> escalate it to the most serious level just by virtue of their "no" vote. 
> For example, I don't think the voter who said he liked the name "HTML 
> 5.01" better than "HTML 5" necessarily would have chosen to escalate it 
> to the Director after the vote.

True, he probably didn't understand what I meant the "no" option
to mean when he chose it. That makes for a little extra "paperwork,"
but it doesn't seriously impact things.

> In many W3C Working Groups, resolutions often carry just by majority 
> vote, with dissentors given the opportunity to lodge a Formal Objection 
> afterwards if they still strongly disagree.  Often the Formal Objection
> is only done at LC time so there is plenty time to work things out 
> before the FO has to be recorded for the Director. I suggest the chairs 
> adopt this process for future WG decisions.

I expect to give participants various chances to withdraw their

> Furthermore, ordinary 
> comments on a Working Draft or Last Call draft are not normally 
> automatically considered as Formal Objections, even if the resolution is 
> "Disagree". Generally the disputant has to explicitly say it is a Formal 
> Objection.
> I propose that for future resolutions, "no" votes be treated only as 
> ordinary statements of disagreement. Only if the dissentor explicitly 
> chooses to escalate his dissent to a Formal Objection should it be 
> treated as such.

WBS doesn't currently support that, as far as I know. Perhaps
I'll look into getting it enhanced.

> This way, Formal Objections will be the rare special 
> appeals they were meant to be and not commonplace features of the 
> decision process.
> Regards,
> Maciej

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 13:04:13 UTC

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