W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-archive@w3.org > June 2008

Re: tracker already has ternary state - RAISED

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 07 Jun 2008 20:26:45 +0100
Message-ID: <484AE0F5.2060501@cam.ac.uk>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
CC: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, www-archive@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org

Laura Carlson wrote:

>> I'm not sure having a formal procdure for this is needed, to
>> be honest.
> 
> Like I mentioned before policies and procedures can:
> 
> - Help everyone be aware of what is expected
> - Help prevent misunderstandings about expectations
> - Standardize operations
> - Provide more clarity and consistency
> - Encourage stability and continuity in operations
> - Stabilize action despite top-level changes
> - Discourage actions based on personalities
> - Help avoid future conflict

It's worth noting that policies and procedures have a downside too; they 
can slow down a process by creating unnecessary bureaucracy, make 
organizations less able to respond to changing circumstances, and often 
allow so-minded individuals to easily game a system by subverting the 
formal process.

This isn't to say that I think that having a better documented process 
is necessarily a bad idea (indeed there is already a great deal of W3C 
process). However I think it is worth considering very carefully what 
problems you want to solve before adding new process. For example you 
have asked for a formal process for people to get their ideas into the 
spec. However you have not mentioned the rather critical issue of how to 
keep stuff out of the spec; I would argue that this is really the more 
important side of the issue because saying "no" to people tends to go 
down less well than "yes", but putting in every half-baked idea that 
anyone comes up with has a significantly worse effect on the quality of 
the language (and hence the web as a platform) than failing to pick up 
all the good stuff as soon as it is first brought up.

> But most of all, a policy and procedures would help show that the W3C
> means to be above-board, fair, and accountable and not arbitrary,
> inconsistent, unjust, partial, disenfranchising,  or discriminating.

I guess that would depend on what any process was, right? For example, 
as I understand it, the Python programming language has a process which 
amounts to "in the event of conflict Guido (the language's inventor) 
gets the final say". It could be argued that this "process" is neither 
fair nor accountable, yet it has produced an extremely high quality and 
popular product which has retained a strong design aesthetic critical to 
the success of the language.

-- 
"Mixed up signals
Bullet train
People snuffed out in the brutal rain"
--Conner Oberst
Received on Saturday, 7 June 2008 19:27:31 GMT

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