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Re: Agenda items for next conference call

From: Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2013 18:05:14 +0000
Message-ID: <CANr5HFWRrubg+360XHJNBmgk9rCQAxGbwZgwOELAsP0r0mVcYg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org List" <www-tag@w3.org>
Hi Noah,

Apologies for the slow reply.

On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, Noah Mendelsohn wrote:

> I'm about to do the agenda and I'll include the two technical items.
> Alex Russel writes:
>  I'd like to move that we have either fewer standing phone conferences
>> (half) or keep the same number but halve the time.
> I hope you'll indulge me a bit if I want to go slow on making changes, as
> this approach has served us pretty well for quite a long time. Let me
> explain some reasons I'd rather not rush into changing things just now.
> Regarding fewer calls:
> * Experience shows that when a reasonable fraction of the ten of us are
> well engaged, there are usually things to discuss. When not, the only way
> we discover what we should be working on is to interact trading ideas. When
> we don't talk regularly, the group tends to drift and splinter.

I think that's a legitimate concern. That said, the length of the calls
creates a lack of focus. It has not been my experience that there is every
a productive standing 90 minute meeting. If we need a *specific* meeting to
go that long, I'm always open to that and assume everyone else is too.

> * The TAG is traditionally populated with quite senior people who are all
> very busy. We ask them to hold a fixed slot every week so that we can get
> talk when we need to. Once we make it irregular, people stop holding the
> time, and scheduling gets hard. I can get you a quick hearing for the ideas
> in your note because we do have a call this week.

Agreed that's a valid concern. Happy to cut my ask down to 2/3 to leave
some overflow on a 45min meeting.

> * Crucially, when I don't feel there is sufficient material to merit a call
> I cancel, and TAG members have also felt free to push back when a
> particular agenda seems thin. I've been unusually busy lately, but I try to
> get them out by Tues evening so people can judge.
> Regarding shorter calls:
> * There's never a reason for the call to go 90 mins when 45 or 30 will do.
> We review and edit agendas at the beginning (you can ask to have things
> dropped), and we end the call when participants indicate time would be
> better spent on other things. Still, experience indicates that TAG members
> often do want to talk about these things for more than 45 minutes, and
> holding the time makes that practical. It's also not uncommon for the
> formal call to end early so that smaller groups can stay to work on
> particular projects. Even then, having the time reserved often helps.

Defaults matter. If the expectation is that the time is valuable and
limited, it has the social effect of causing participants to treat it that
way. Current state may simply be gas in a vacuum. Have shorter meetings
been tried in the past?

> As you know, TAG members commit to spend "approximately 25% of their time"
> doing technical work and writing for the TAG [1]. History strongly suggests
> that our impact goes way up when most of our members are engaged in
> significant efforts, and when that's happening, there is usually progress
> or controversy to discuss weekly. Given that time commitment, it seems to
> me that asking members to hold up to 90 mins once a week in case it's
> needed is not out of line.
> Believe, me holding calls is at least as big a nuisance for me as for
> you. I have to spend a couple of hours looking over what's outstanding or
> what we're forgetting to move ahead on, and then I have to prepare and
> distribute the agendas, chase scribes, etc. I have every personal
> incentive to cancel when the meetings aren't going to be worthwhile.
> Please give this a try for a few months. I think it's going to be at least
> until the March F2F and maybe until the next until we have a good sense of
> what we want to be doing and how. If after that the call schedule still
> feels wrong, we can of course discuss it. Thank you.
> Noah
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2004/10/27-**tag-charter.html<http://www.w3.org/2004/10/27-tag-charter.html>
> On 2/7/2013 2:32 PM, Alex Russell wrote:
>> Noah,
>> Thanks for the reminder about adding agenda items via mail. One of
>> these days I'll get the hang of our process.
>> For the next phone meeting, I'd like to see discussion of:
>> * *Fragment Identifiers*. Jeni and I were able to discuss this off-list
>>  last week and I feel as though the TAG could make note about this that
>>  contains architectural guidance in both the XML/RDF area and the HTML
>> in a way way that can make everyone happy. Short story: the XML/RDF
>> difficulties spring from an inability for RDF to replace the behavior
>> of xpointer. This arises because the XML processing algorithm does not
>> specify any such extensibility point (nor define itself in terms of
>> such a thing). Tension arises when higher-level semantics must use a
>> low-level representation. The same arises with ad-hoc application-level
>>  semantics and HTML; as HTML has not provided a way for changes in
>> fragment identifiers to be handled by "higher level" applications that
>> use it as a representation and wire format, fights break out when apps
>> want to implement a higher-level than "scroll to element" behavior. In
>> both cases, explaining the problem in terms of a lack of extensibility
>> point provides a way to think about the solution * *Shorter meetings*.
>> I'd like to move that we have either fewer standing phone conferences
>> (half) or keep the same number but halve the time. I suspect this might
>> lead to an increase in ad-hoc or topic-specific meetings, but that feels
>> a better use of our scarce interrupts. * *Polyglot*. We didn't get to it
>> this meeting and I'd like to understand what our collective options are
>> for making a decision; also come to at least a timeframe for whatever
>> decision we need to make.
>> Thanks.
Received on Thursday, 14 February 2013 18:06:26 UTC

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