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Re: Process Problems

From: thierry michel <tmichel@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 11:35:34 +0100
Message-ID: <020301c04d5d$756aba80$228a608a@inria.fr>
To: "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>, <symm@w3.org>, <www-smil@w3.org>
Cc: "geoff freed" <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>, "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>, "'Cohen, Aaron M'" <aaron.m.cohen@intel.com>, "'Brad Botkin'" <brad_botkin@wgbh.org>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>
To: <symm@w3.org>; <www-smil@w3.org>
Cc: "geoff freed" <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>; "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>;
"thierry michel" <tmichel@w3.org>; "'Cohen, Aaron M'"
<aaron.m.cohen@intel.com>; "'Brad Botkin'" <brad_botkin@wgbh.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2000 11:10 PM
Subject: [Moderator Action] Process Problems


> I have serious concerns that the list for the SMIL mail archives
> (www-smil@w3.org) is being operated in a manner contrary to the W3C
Process.
> That process is supposed to operate by _consensus_ based consideration of
> "all participants' views and objections"
>
(http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process/Process-19991101/background.html#Conse
> nsus).
>
> I have encountered several problems that I think need to be addressed.
>
> THE PROBLEMS
>
> 1. Long-time Delays in Posting
>
> I have experienced long time delays -- as long as five days -- from the
time
> that I send a memo to the list and the time that it appears in the
archives.
> For example my first memo
> (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-smil/2000OctDec/0044.html) was
sent
> to the list on Friday, 20 October (U.S. East Coast time) and only appeared
> on the list on Wednesday, 25 October, thus amounting to five days. Another
> memo, sent on 1 November 2000 appeared on the list on 6 November 2000,
again
> a five-day delay
> (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-smil/2000OctDec/0072.html)! I
> presume that e-mail messages are generally sent to list subscribers at
about
> the same time that they appear in the archives.
>
> I think that such delays are much too long. If someone encounters such
> delays on their first interaction with the list, they may doubt that the
> list is intended to be truly public or may feel that their input is not
> valued. For people who are accustomed to seeing their message appear in
the
> archives within a few minutes, such delays can be confusing because they
may
> wonder if the list is actually working properly. Each thread in the
archives
> represents a conversation and if there are excessive delays in
> communication, the conversation tends to end. I suppose that there are
some
> cases where one party to the conversation _wants_ the conversation to end,
> and therefore delays would work to their perceived advantage, but such
delay
> tactics are unlikely to improve the overall quality of the end-product
> (e.g., the specification). I don't think I could say exactly at what point
a
> delay becomes excessive, but I think that the point reached much sooner
than
> five days.
>
> Suggestion: Each legitimate message sent to the list should promptly
appear
> in the archives.
>
> ====
>
> 2. Removal of Critical Information
>
> When my first memo did appear
> (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-smil/2000OctDec/0044.html) after
a
> five-day delay, it was missing critical information, most notably the date
> and time at which it was sent. The date and time information were
important
> since it was sent (and received!) during the Last Call period, which ended
> 20 October 2000. Removal of the data and time information thus obscured
the
> fact that the memo came _before_ the end of the Last Call period rather
than
> after.
>
> Suggestion: Each legitimate message sent to the list ought to appear in
its
> entirety.
>
> ====
>
> 3. Improper Manner of Posting Messages
>
> I believe that one of my messages was posted in an improper manner in that
> it appeared not by itself but rather as part of someone else's memo.
> Specifically, when my 1 November 2000 memo appeared on 6 November, it was
> not a discrete memo authored by me but rather was included as background
> material in someone else's memo
> (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-smil/2000OctDec/0072.html).
> Specifically, the first part of the message body was someone else's memo
and
> at the end of his memo, there was a line saying "> -----Original
> Message-----", after which was included my memo followed by other older
> material from that thread.
>
> I find this very troubling because it means that my memo never appeared on
> its own as an email to subscribers or as a distinct entry in the archives.
> When a person sends a message to a list, the expectation is that it will
> appear as sent, not as part of someone else's message.
>
> It is common for a posting to the list to consist of multiple parts, each
> part representing a piece of the total conversation or 'thread', with the
> oldest piece at the bottom of the message body and the newest material at
> the top.
>
> I suspect that when we are following some thread on a list, we read a
> message until we encounter closing remarks or other boundary-marking words
> such as "Original Message", after which we tend to assume that we are
moving
> into older material that we have _already seen on the list_. At that
point,
> our attention wanes. Unfortunately, in the case to which I am referring,
> when they crossed that boundary they were not seeing old material but
rather
> new material that had _never appeared on the list_. I cannot help but feel
> that my memo has not gotten a fair hearing from list subscribers.
>
> I would liken this way of treating a submission to person A, who does not
> listen to or acknowledge person B who is speaking to him. Person A's
actions
> suggest that he doesn't value the person who is speaking, much less the
> content of his speech.
>
> Suggestion: Each legitimate message sent to the list should appear as a
> discrete unit (message) in the archives under the name (or email address)
of
> its author.
>
> DISCUSSION
>
> Some W3C lists seem to operate without delays, filtering, or special
> handling of incoming messages. This is not without problems, since they
> typically end up with a lot of 'spam' (unsolicited bulk e-mail) in
addition
> to legitimate messages. I like the fact that the SMIL archives seem to
have
> little or no 'spam'.
>
> Yet, in my opinion, the benefits of 'spam-lessness' do not compensate for
> the kinds of problems that I have encountered. It would be very
unfortunate
> if people came to feel that their viewpoints were not being considered in
a
> fair manner within W3C working groups. I think that one reason many people
> are willing to put so much effort into the W3C is because they like
> associating with people who are trying to practice the ideals of openness,
> fairness, and respect. It would be a great loss to the W3C, to the Web,
and
> to the world, if people came to feel that their contributions were not
being
> treated in a fair manner.
>
> Possible Approaches
>
> Perhaps there could be some system devised so that all messages would be
> posted to the archives immediately "as is". Then one or more persons
charged
> with cleaning up the archives would mark 'spam' for deletion. Then unless
> there was specific and credible evidence that a message flagged as 'spam'
is
> something valuable, the messages so flagged would be automatically deleted
> at a certain age (say one or two weeks). Of course, this approach does not
> solve the problem of 'spam' arriving at list subscribers' mailboxes.
>
> I trust that there are a variety of ways in which the spam problem could
be
> greatly reduced or even eliminated without threatening the integrity of
the
> W3C Process.
>
> CONCLUSION
>
> I am hopeful that the problems that I have encountered will be addressed
> quickly, so that in the near future, no one will encounter them.
>
> I would also like to emphasize that my criticisms are limited to the
> problems I have stated. I appreciate the thoughtful responses that SMIL
> subscribers have made to my submissions.
>
Received on Monday, 13 November 2000 05:36:01 GMT

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