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when consensus competes with a schedule: formal objections

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: 01 Oct 2002 17:09:44 -0500
To: www-webont-wg@w3.org
Message-Id: <1033510185.13755.512.camel@dirk>

As we move to the end game, everybody should be aware that
while consensus is our goal, it sometimes competes with
timeliness; it's important that everybody understands
W3C process when the conflict arises:

"In some cases, even after careful consideration of all points of view,
a group may find itself unable to reach consensus. When this happens, if
there is a need to advance (for example, to produce a deliverable in a
timely manner), the Chair may announce a decision to which there is
dissent. [...]

In this case, a dissenter may request that any formal objections
be reported at later review stages."

-- 4.1.2 Group Consensus and Votes

When there's a proposal under discussion that you don't really
like but the chair puts the question anyway, you can choose to
silently concur (I don't promise that the record will
distinguish this from voting in favor), or to abstain
(I do promise to record abstentions) or to object.

Note that this only applies when the chair finally
puts the question; usually he'll say "any objections?"
or "any opposed?". If it's at all unclear what the question
is, you can ask to have it read from the record. But before the
chair formally puts the question, there may be any number
of straw polls and such; those aren't binding and you should
give your opinion, whatever it may be.

But a few times in our working group, the chair
has put the question even though there was dissent

This message is about those cases.

Eventually, we will request Candidate Recommendation
(and/or Proposed Recommendation) for our spec.
That request must report all formal objections.

(this isn't just for WG members; folks that are
unsatisifed with the way we handle their
public-webont-comments issues after our last
call go on this list too).

I have reviewed our decision record, trying to figure
out where we've made decisions with dissent, and which
of these should be included as formal objections
in our CR/PR request.

At our 1st ftf, there weren't really many group decisions
at all, let alone any decisions with dissent.

At the 2nd ftf, the record of the following decisions show
dissent, but not from whom; and if I don't know who
was dissenting, I can't really "include technical arguments
and propose changes that would remove the dissenter's
objection". I generally intend to promote all dissent
to formal objections, but I'll need some help for these:

RESOLUTION: All RDF/XML documents that are equivalent under the RDF
Recommendation are equivalent OWL exchange documents
==> 14 in favor -- 3 opposed

RESOLUTION: The exchange language for OWL is RDF/XML
==> 16 in favour

RESOLUTION: We intend to produce non-normative presentation syntaxes and
their mapping to the exchange syntax
==> 16 in favour -- 1 opposed

RESOLUTION: The preference of the WG is to produce at least one XML and
one frame presentation syntax
==> 11 in favour -- 2 opposed
  -- http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/WebOnt/ftf2.html

At the 3rd ftf, there's one clear case:

PROPOSED: in OWL Lite to go with owl:cardinality/min/max, restricted to
"0" or "1",
RESOLVED (dissenting: Wallace; [...])
  --- http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/WebOnt/ftf3.html

I hope the WG will reverse itself on that one (since
about 4 different commentors have asked us to), so
I don't really expect it to be a problem. But Evan,
you should be prepared to spell out your formal
objection if that doesn't happen.

And we have one case in a telcon, that I can see:

VOTE. A vote was taken on whether or not to approve the OWL test cases
as described in jjc's email.  The vote passed with one opposed (pfps),
one abstention (ChrisW) and the rest positive.
 -- 29Aug minutes

I expect the WG to work that one out too. But Peter,
you have the right to include a formal objection
if we don't eventually work things out to your satisfaction.

My search of our decision record was fairly careful,
but it wasn't exhaustive. Did I miss any?

Is there anything else you need in order to understand
how we make decisions as a group?

Please let me (and/or the chairs) know.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Tuesday, 1 October 2002 18:09:27 GMT

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