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Re: Formal Recorded Complaint

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 13:04:24 -0700
Cc: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>, steve@w3.org, timbl@w3.org, jbrewer@w3.org, 'wai-ig list' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <CD15DBA9-EFF1-4D75-A5C0-75B6F7738BB5@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@us.ibm.com>

On Jul 30, 2007, at 12:28 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> The first thing I would like to point out is that I've seen nobody  
> questioning the competence of anybody who has participated this  
> working group.  Nor are we talking about classing 'troll' behavior  
> here.  We are talking about people who have value to contribute, but  
> seem entirely unable to disagree without being disagreeable.   
> Putting forward a counter argument isn't sufficient for such people,  
> they seem compelled to do so in a manner that shames the person who  
> advanced the other point of view into silence.

While the issue you raise can certainly be a problem, the RFCs you  
linked are not designed to deal with overly heated but valid and on- 
topic discussion. They are designed to deal with outright trolling,  
and the means to address it is banishment from the group. Quoting from  
RFC 3683:

"Notably, in a small number of cases, a participant has engaged in  
what amounts to a 'denial-of-service' attack to disrupt the consensus- 
driven process. Typically, these attacks are made by repeatedly  
posting messages that are off-topic, inflammatory, or otherwise  
counter-productive. In contrast, good faith disagreement is a healthy  
part of the consensus-driven process.

For example, if a working group is unable to reach consensus, this is  
an acceptable, albeit unfortunate, outcome; however, if that working  
group fails to achieve consensus because it is being continuously  
disrupted, then the disruption constitutes an abuse of the consensus- 
driven process. Interactions of this type are fundamentally different  
from 'the lone voice of dissent' in which a participant expresses a  
view that is discussed but does not achieve consensus. In other words,  
individual bad faith should not trump community goodwill."

I've certainly seen vociferous disagreement in the group, and often  
participants on both sides of a contentious issue can get overly  
worked up.  But I think if situations like that go too far, then  
removal from the group is not the right solution. If some action  
beyond letting the discussion work itself out is needed, then probably  
some form of mediation would be the best option.

Received on Monday, 30 July 2007 20:04:41 UTC

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