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RE: Decision process in the HTML working group

From: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 08:26:07 -0700
To: David Dailey <david.dailey@sru.edu>, "www-archive@w3.org" <www-archive@w3.org>
CC: "mjs@apple.com" <mjs@apple.com>, "connolly@w3.org" <connolly@w3.org>
Message-ID: <5C276AFCCD083E4F94BD5C2DA883F05A27DA36750C@tk5-exmlt-w600.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>

Pardon the full-quoting.

David, I agree with your analysis.  I think your "2.5" state is one I would consider "we haven't resolved yet", since it implies we haven't dealt with feedback.  And your alternate translation of #3 is exactly what I mean.

As for snarky posts on blogs, that might well occur with #2 as well.  :)


-----Original Message-----
From: David Dailey [mailto:david.dailey@sru.edu]
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 7:24 AM
To: www-archive@w3.org
Cc: Chris Wilson; mjs@apple.com; connolly@w3.org
Subject: RE: Decision process in the HTML working group

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.


*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 15:26:35 UTC

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