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Re: TAG and WWW Architecture

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 10:00:51 -0400
Message-Id: <200106061358.JAA220438@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: mjumbe@electricstoat.com, www-talk@w3.org
[disclaimer:  I am a W3C Collaborator, but not a Member.  I have agreed to
abide by W3C confidentiality practices and have had access to "Member-only"
information.  On the other hand, as a Working Group co-chair in the WAI, my
institutional responsibilities resemble those of an "outside director" or
ombudsman.  Institutionalized defender of "the stranger within your walls" as
much as the W3C has such.  So I believe you should take it that I see the
process from inside, but as something of an outsider let inside.]

At 10:54 PM 2001-06-05 -0400, Mjumbe Ukweli wrote:
>>From: Aaron Swartz <aswartz@swartzfam.com>
>>Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 01:34:55 -0500
>>
>>The W3C is working on a proposal[2] for what they call a Technical
>>Architecture Group (TAG). The TAG will be like a working-group but remain
>>active throughout the life time of the W3C. Members will be voted on, and
>>the group will write recommendations and notes. In essence, the group will
>>decide and define Web architecture in private. I think this is an awful
>>decision for the future of the Web.
>
[and again]
>i second Aaron's dissention.
>
>[1]
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/2001MayJun/0076.html>http://li
sts.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/2001MayJun/0076.html
>[2] <http://www.w3.org/2001/02/12-tag>http://www.w3.org/2001/02/12-tag
(apparently w3c menber access only)
>

Yes, the Technical Architecture Group is in the process of being put together,
and it is a good thing for the Web.  Without it, the W3C is at risk of either
a) promulgating un-coordinated Recommendations that reduce the Web to chaos or
b) spinning its wheels in endless internal coordination (just as private as,
and less discoverable than anything happening in the TAG) without getting the
product out.

Note that at the same time that W3C is moving toward more centralized stuff
(the TAG) to ensure consistency in the bookshelf of Web specifications, it is
moving more of its business into the open (consider the process of the XML
Protocol Working Group) to maintain its legitimacy and the public's trust that
it is indeed seeking the good of all Web users, and not just the short-sighted
interests of Members.

The individual Recommendations are specifications.  The are targeted to make
sure that two different applications using the same narrow slice of technology
specified in that particular volume can interoperate successfully.  But we
need
the TAG to ensure that two such technology slices will interoperate well in a
single application.  That application integrators can mix and match
Recommendations to good effect.

So please don't go to W3C saying "stop this awful TAG stuff."  If you want to
say "Architecture is very sensitive, the sunshine requirements for TAG
proceedings should be even more intense than for normal working groups" that
makes a lot of sense.  But the idea that the W3C has taken upon itself to
claim
a role of public trust, to make technical decisions on behalf of a wider
community that lacks the communication tools to bring the same matters to
resolution in as little calendar time -- that idea is hard-wired into the
Consortium deal.  It's there with a TAG or without a TAG.  If you're
spooked by
privacy, push for sunshine.  But don't kill the TAG just because there is some
privacy in the W3C's work rules.  The W3C badly needs the TAG so its various
Recommendations speak with one mind.  Otherwise we will just have created a
nice brand "w3.org" for yet another re-invention of the Tower of Babel.

Al

-- full prior message quoted below
>>From: Aaron Swartz <aswartz@swartzfam.com>
>>Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 01:34:55 -0500
>>
>>The W3C is working on a proposal[2] for what they call a Technical
>>Architecture Group (TAG). The TAG will be like a working-group but remain
>>active throughout the life time of the W3C. Members will be voted on, and
>>the group will write recommendations and notes. In essence, the group will
>>decide and define Web architecture in private. I think this is an awful
>>decision for the future of the Web.
>
>i hope that the letter that Aaron sent out[1] a couple weeks ago is 
>inaccurate.  if so is there anyone from the W3C who can refute it?  if not, 
>then these are not happy times.  the W3C seems to be trying to make the web 
>into some sort of paradoxical democratic oligarchy.  /they/ tell us what we 
>can and can't have a say over.
>
>the web is not theirs to rule over.  who even gave them the power to govern. 
>  not to downplay obviously more devastating experiences, but they're 
>assuming the amount of responsibility over the internet that European 
>settlers did over the Native Americans' and Africans' lands.  the W3C are 
>becoming technological squatters.
>
>now, don't take this as an "I Hate W3C" letter at all.  i quite appreciate 
>most that the people there have done for the internet so far, but this is 
>definitely a step backwards.  the power of the W3C lies in it's legitimacy.  
>becoming oligarchical will doubtlessly pit many people against the 
>consortium and thus reduce its legitimacy and make it a less effective 
>group.
>
>i second Aaron's dissention.
>
>[1]
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/2001MayJun/0076.html>http://li
sts.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-talk/2001MayJun/0076.html
>[2] <http://www.w3.org/2001/02/12-tag>http://www.w3.org/2001/02/12-tag
(apparently w3c menber access only)
>
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<http://www.hotmail.com/>http://www.hotmail.com.
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Received on Wednesday, 6 June 2001 10:00:20 GMT

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