W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-smil@w3.org > October to December 2000

Re: Process Problems

From: thierry michel <tmichel@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 12:21:40 +0100
Message-ID: <025001c04d63$e4fc3990$228a608a@inria.fr>
To: "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>, <symm@w3.org>, <www-smil@w3.org>
I am the moderator of the www-smil@w3.org mailing list.
This mailing list is trashed with a lot of spam, therefore we have decided
to have it moderated.

I have been traveling for the last two weeks, in places were I could not pop
my mail every day.
This is why there was some delay on the appearance of your mail on the W3C
archives.

To avoid such problem in the future, I will remove my action of moderating
this public mailing list.
From now on any mail will automatically be posted to the mailing list and
promptly appear in the archives.
Thierry.



----- 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 11:09 PM
Subject: 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 06:21:48 UTC

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