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Re: review process [was: identify...]

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 00:28:47 -0600
Message-ID: <38ACE69F.E1E317F8@w3.org>
To: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
CC: www-html@w3.org
Arjun Ray wrote:
> On Thu, 17 Feb 2000, Dan Connolly wrote:
> > Arjun Ray wrote:
> > [...]
> >
> > > > As with anybody else, the WG's obligation to me is to
> > > >    -- convince me to withdraw
> > > >    -- accept my suggestion, or
> > > >    -- escalate the issue

None of the descriptions of this process that we currently use
is sufficient to make it clear to lots of people I've been
discussing this with, so I took the time to draw a picture of the
process the other day... in the picture, the WG is represented by the
editor, E, and the reviewer is represented as R:

	Issue Disposition Process -- W3C Last Call

Does that make the process clearer to anybody?

> > > I read this and paused.  I got up and took a walk.  By the time
> > > I sat down again, it was clear that you have no idea -
> > > absolutely none whatsoever - how utterly *outrageous* this is.
> >
> > Why is it outrageous to say that the WG is obligated to seek
> > consensus among the community of reviewers, and escalate if they
> > feel it's time to move on without it?
> I was right: you don't get it.  A WG is organized with a job to do;
> its members are chosen, I *hope*, for the value of their *judgment*.
> They aren't there to warm some chairs and rubberstamp and/or appease
> the views of luminaries while their companies pay the W3C's rent.
> Yes, in the normal course of things, disputes can happen and do.
> But... here's one view (especially the last paragraph):
>  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-sgml-wg/1997May/0115.html

Yes, and that's a position that the W3C membership took exception to;
they objected to the use of voting to decide technical
issues in W3C working groups. But the WG chairs responded that they find
essential in some cases. The resulting compromise is that WG chairs can
a matter to a vote and move on if they feel they've done all they can to
try to reach consensus, but this is an exceptional case and they have to
note it when they go to the next step; i.e. they have to "recorded in
appropriate documents alongside those of the majority." i.e. they have
escalate it.

> *You* - as appellant - can escalate.  Escalation is *not* a WG's
> obligation; that's why it's a WG to begin with, ferchrissake.

Perhaps I've chosen the word 'escalate' poorly; substitute
'overrule and document for later review' if you like. I'm still
looking for a good one-word description of this step.

> > IETF WGs have had this obligation for decades, and I haven't seen
> > any objection to it. c.f
> >
> >   "As much as possible the process is designed so that compromises
> >    can be made, and genuine consensus achieved, however there are
> >    times when even the most reasonable and knowledgeable people are
> >    unable to agree."
> >       -- section 6.5  Conflict Resolution and Appeals
> >       of http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2026.txt
> I'm still right: you don't get it.  Please quote the section in that
> document which states that it is a *WG's obligation* to escalate.  You
> won't find it.

Right: the IETF doesn't allow voting; its process doesn't allow any
position to get overruled. Its process relies on a minority to appeal
a WG chair's decision that "rough consensus" has been reached if
the minority isn't satisfied that its position has been addressed.

W3C process allows WG chairs to decide issues in the face of outstanding
minority opinion, but requires that they note that in their request
to go to the next step.

>  For the very good reason that you don't get and by now
> I despair that you'll ever get.  From RFC 2026:
>   "A person who disagrees with a Working Group recommendation shall
>    always first discuss the matter with the Working Group's chair(s),
>    [...]
>    If the disagreement cannot be resolved in this way, any of the
>    parties involved may bring it to the attention of the Area
>    Director(s) [...]"
> The key words are "any" and "may".
> But this is just dilatory anyway (your diversion was successful, at
> least temporarily.)  Comparisons of the IETF and the W3C are bogus.
> Attempts to paint the W3C as equal to the IETF in *moral authority*
> are illegitimate.
> > If everybody else here didn't know they have the same right, I'm
> > here to tell you, you do:
> >
> >       1.3 W3C's consensus policy
> This is getting fairly ridiculous.  I thank you for your articulation
> of your understanding of this passage, but I can say with confidence
> that such an interpretation can't but bring productive work to a
> standstill - a good faith attempt to be open is not an invitation to
> filibuster.

If the WG thinks I'm filibustering, they need only decide to move
on and note that my minority opinion is outstanding in their
request to advance to the next stage. If it's judged that
I am filibustering, the document will advance to the next
stage over my objection.

> >    Substantial agreement means more than a simple majority, but not
> >    necessarily unanimity. [...]
> >    In some circumstances, consensus is achieved when the minority no
> >    longer wishes to articulate its objections. When disagreement is
> >    strong, the opinions of the minority are recorded in appropriate
> >    documents alongside those of the majority.
> So, record your objection(s) in an "appropriate document".

That's the WG's choice, not mine.

Dan Connolly
Received on Friday, 18 February 2000 01:31:24 UTC

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