W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > July 2001

Re: Clarifying the TAG

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 17:01:44 -0400
Message-ID: <3B574AB8.CF38CD3C@w3.org>
To: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>
CC: www-tag@w3.org
Aaron Swartz wrote:
> 
> First, thank you to the W3C for the great strides it has made
> towards openness with this group. However, I think it is
> important to make several clarifications to the charter to fully
> ensure the TAG succeeds in its mission.
> 
> In http://www.w3.org/2001/07/19-tag it is written:
> 
> > (refer to "Assumed Syntax", by Tim Berners-Lee)
> 
> I believe you mean: refer to "Syntax requirements", by Tim Berners-Lee.

The title in http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/ is given as
"Assumed Syntax"
 
> > W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative and Internationalization
> > Activity are already producing Architectural Recommendations in
> > the areas of accessibility and internationalization,
> > respectively.
> 
> Can you elaborate more on how their relationship with the TAG?

Like the TAG, they are producing Architectural Recommendations.
The TAG is not the only body within W3C to be doing so. And
there are bodies outside W3C doing so as well. This paragraph
is here to show that the TAG does not "control" Web Architecture.
 
> > Issues may be brought to the TAG by a variety of parties:
> > Working Groups, the public, the W3C Team, as part of an appeal
> > to the W3C Director, the TAG itself, etc.
> 
> Why not just say "Anyone may bring an issue to the TAG"? As
> written, it implies that W3C Members are not allowed to raise
> issues, since they aren't members of the "public".

No, that's not implied. This is a list that includes some 
examples, but also "etc.". The parties in the list
are noteworthy, but don't exclude Members.
 
> > There will be a Member-visible database of issues maintained at
> > the TAG Web site.
> 
> Why is this database Member-visible -- since these issues affect
> everyone, they should be public. Or at least, the vast majority
> of them should be public.

An issues list is not in general a deliverable, it's a tool for doing
work. I believe that, like every other WG, the TAG will have
public issues lists for its work on the Rec track. The Member-visible
list is a minimal requirement, but more will be done in the public
space as well.
 
> > Short-term issue resolutions are subject to appeal by Advisory
> > Committee representatives; refer to the appeal process
> > described in section 6 of the Process Document [PROCESS].
> 
> This appeal process really should be made open to members of the
> public. It is essential that they have recourse. See the
> discussion of voting below.

I'm not sure I agree. The W3C contract with the Members
gives them the "final say" should they choose to override
the Director's assessment of consensus. I don't believe that
W3C should be expected to offer the same "final word" to the
public - there is no contractual relationship with the public.
There is obviously a good faith obligation to the public,
and the TAG must take into account and provide substantive
issues to all public comments for documents on the Recommendation
track.
 
> > The TAG is expected to evolve with experience, and its charter
> > may be revised as its role and W3C change. The Director must
> > propose any non-editorial changes to the TAG charter for a
> > four-week review by the Advisory Committee. After the end of
> > the review, the Director must announce the new charter to the
> > Advisory Committee.
> 
> The public should be able to propose changes to and have to
> ratify the TAG charter. See the discussion of voting.

Anyone can propose anything at any time. Good ideas will be 
retained. But there are benefits to Membership. Are you 
suggesting that we eliminate the Proposed Recommendation
review as well? We could. But we might not have any Members
left....
 
> > The deliverables of the TAG are its Architectural
> > Recommendations, review reports, and issue resolutions. The TAG
> > may publish a variety of materials (e.g., short-term
> > resolutions to issues that arise)...
> 
> These resolutions must all be public and really should be
> publicly appealable.
> 
> > Other TAG information, including archives of the TAG's
> > Member-only mailing list, will be confidential within W3C.
> [...]
> > a Member-visible list for discussions within the TAG and for
> > requests to the TAG from Members that, for whatever reason,
> > cannot be made on the public list. For instance, if the TAG is
> > helping two Member-only Working Groups resolve an issue, it may
> > be necessary to conduct business initially on this list.
> 
> Why does TAG have a Member-only mailing list? What were to
> happen if a member of the public raised the same issue that a
> Working Group has raised? This member-only portion should be
> removed. The TAG is should only make architectural decisions,
> and all architectural decisions should be made in public, thus
> the TAG should only operate in public.

The rationale is provided in the charter: there may be issues
between Member-only WGs that should not be addressed in public.
This is "no worse" than the current W3C Process where Member
WGs can be created. The TAG was designed to be consistent with
this model. I understand that there are people who think that
there should not be Member-only WGs. But that discussion is
not specific to the TAG.
 
> > In rare cases (e.g., when the TAG hears an appeal of a rejected
> > Submission request), TAG deliberations may be confidential to
> > the TAG and Team.
> 
> This seems even sillier. Obviously whomever is submitting the
> document wants it to be public, otherwise they wouldn't have
> submitted it, right? If the TAG is having a discussion on the
> architectural principles in the document, this discussion should
> be public. If this is not true then the Charter should clearly
> explain why this is so.

Members don't want rejected documents to be public. That's why
the TAG's rare need for Team-confidential discussions is consistent
with the current Submission process.
 
> > The TAG may create additional topic-specific, public mailing lists.
> 
> The charter should be changed to read "topic-specific, public
> discussion lists (not just input)".

Yes, that's true, but not a substantial change. 

> > Meetings
> 
> The results (minutes, etc.) of all meetings must be made public.
> 
> > The remaining five TAG participants are elected by the W3C
> > Advisory Committee following the AB/TAG nomination and election
> > process.
> 
> The election process must be public for such an important body
> such as the TAG. (See, for example, the ICANN elections.) The
> election could be limited to to people with users of the Web, or
> people with websites. I would be happy to work with the W3C to
> plan and create a suitable election system.

You are, of course, welcome to propose a different election system,
but we haven't even tried the one we have. I suggest waiting
a little to see how things go in practice.

Of course, there will be people who disagree in principle with
W3C being a Member organization. I'm not really interested in
discussing that question here. That may be more appropriate
on www-talk. 

The first TAG charter was designed to meet the needs of Members and 
the public, and pressure from both sides will ensure that the TAG 
stays on its toes. 

Thanks for sending comments,

 - Ian


-- 
Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Cell:                    +1 917 450-8783
Received on Thursday, 19 July 2001 17:03:14 GMT

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