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RE: Decision process in the HTML working group

From: David Dailey <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 10:24:22 -0400
Message-Id: <6.2.5.6.1.20070511085425.01db2ee8@sru.edu>
To: www-archive@w3.org
Cc: Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com,mjs@apple.com,connolly@w3.org

At  Thu, 10 May 2007 11:30:56  Chris Wilson wrote:


 >There are three states of response, to me, that are interesting in 
making a decision:

 >1) I like this solution
 >2) I don't like this solution, but I can live with it (you can lump 
abstains in >this category)
 >3) I can't live with this solution

 >(there is a four state that I think is largely untinteresting - 4) abstain.)

I certainly support the chairs' need to interpret votes and to 
provide objective wisdom that those who argue an issue might lack. At 
the same time, given how contentious certain issues can be, another 
option might be something like:

2.5 I believe this is an extremely bad idea; I think the arguments 
against it have not been dealt with objectively in discussions to 
date; I request that the chairs review those arguments; and I am 
willing to abide by the outcome of their thoughtful consideration.

This perhaps would create more work for the chairs in the short run; 
but perhaps less in the long run since it allows dissent to bubble up 
in priority without bubbling out of the WG. It seems like numerous 
creative approaches could be crafted.*

 >[...] #3 is essentially forewarning: "if the WG chooses this 
solution, I will >have to vote no on the specification and make a 
formal objection to the >director."

In a straw poll, it might alternatively mean, from the perspective of 
an invited expert, "if the WG chooses this solution, I will have to 
resign" As Dan points out the WG does not seek "consensus through 
attrition." http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007May/0214.html

It might also simply mean: "It upsets me so much I will begin hurling 
epithets at the HTML-WG from the sanctuary of my blog, or engage in 
silly behavior of some sort." While having WG members act silly may 
not seem like a serious concern, or one that anyone has much control 
over -- it could serve to undermine some of the progress of the group 
as a whole.

 >[concerning a particular video format...] I would have to say that 
it would be a dire mistake to require it in the >specification, 
because two of the major browser vendors would have to 
be >incompatible with the specification.

Absolutely. And that is clearly more important (dare I say: to all?) 
than the sentiments of those contributors who represent only themselves.

Balancing the harmony of the WG, supporting an atmosphere that 
encourages frank, open, and cordial discussion, while making forward 
progress at the same time are difficult balancing acts: all the more 
so in a group of this size.

I am pleased, though, that the chairs have enabled the WG to discuss, 
disagree, and make progress all at the same time, with what appears 
(so far as I can tell) to be a relatively small amount of enduring discord.

David

*Should contributors become too fond of exercising that option, 
chairs might restrict contributors to a maximum of three appeals or 
something. Alternatively, one representative each of the two opposing 
perspectives could be locked in a virtual room with a WG-wide 
moratorium on future discussions of the topic until agreement can be 
forged. Pro and con perspectives could be submitted each limited to 
400 words and a second referendum could be held. Etc., ..., etc.
Received on Friday, 11 May 2007 14:24:20 GMT

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