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Fwd: Re: Invitation to submit a position paper on process improvement in the W3C

From: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 22:33:01 +0100
Message-ID: <4F39818D.5080601@inkedblade.net>
To: "www-archive@w3.org" <www-archive@w3.org>
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Invitation to submit a position paper on process improvement in the W3C
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 22:30:53 +0100
From: fantasai
To: Steve Zilles
CC: 'Tab Atkins Jr.'

On 02/02/2012 09:28 PM, Steve Zilles wrote:
> Dear Tab and Elika,
>
> At the November AC Meeting, the Advisory Board heard a number of views on how
> the W3C can best structure itself to improve the process of developing Web
> Standards. [...] To be able to make progress and to evaluate the proposals that
> were presented, the first step is to clearly identify the problems with the
> current W3C structure and process by Friday, 10 February  [...]

Hi Steve,
Since I was sick, and then at the CSSWG F2F, and then formatting minutes
for the F2F while trying to recover from being sick during the F2F, I
haven't had time to write a position paper. But here's my position in two
paragraphs:

   1. W3C needs an errata process for CR-level specs that doesn't involve
      looping through LC. The process would probably involve the approval
      of an errata document, which can then be folded directly into the
      spec. We can talk about details of an ideal process later, but this
      deficiency needs to be addressed. The current process of publishing
      Yet Another Last Call in order to fix problems is ridiculous, as in,
      very easy to ridicule, and doesn't communicate the true status of the
      document or the nature of the request for comments.

   2. W3C needs to accept live updates to the /TR/ page, ideally from a
      tagged mercurial branch off dvcs.w3.org. Right now we have groups
      that maintain official specs marked unofficial, and whose specs that
      are marked official are in reality unofficial (due to being severely
      out-of-date). I'm not saying snapshots shouldn't be required, but
      that having the official specs, according to WG policy, be hosted off
      the official /TR/ page is totally dysfunctional, and this needs to be
      fixed.

Given #2, a WG could

   - adopt the working policy that only periodic snapshots posted to /TR/
     are official;

   - or allow editors to directly live-edit /TR and declare the current
     live version official;

   - or do something in between, like directing straightforward error
     fixes to a /TR/ live-edit stream, and directing more experimental
     changes to the spec (or partial rewrite checkins) on an editor's
     draft branch for further review/revision before pushing to /TR

However the WG chose to operate, /TR would be able to stand as the official
spec in both name and actuality, and the "Editor's Draft" would be freed up
to fulfill a more appropriate role as scratch space.

(W3C could still require snapshots; that's a separate issue to whether the
undated "Latest version" URL points to the latest snapshot or a live stream.)

~fantasai
Received on Monday, 13 February 2012 21:33:32 UTC

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