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WOWG/ADMIN: Suggestions re: answering comments on WDs etc

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2002 20:49:21 -0400
Message-Id: <p05111705b9bd4e95083b@[]>
To: webont <www-webont-wg@w3.org>

WOWGers, the following mail is an ammended version of a message that 
was sent to the Chairs working group by Joseph Reagle.  He has kindly 
consented to let me forward it --  when we go forward to CR and 
beyond, the handling of comments becomes very important, and the 
advice below should be very helpful - The last paragraph in 
particular is helpful advice

>From: Joseph Reagle <reagle@w3.org>
>Hi Jim, I'm comfortable with you forwarding the following tweaked version to
>your WG (I removed the few specific mentions I had included):
>  I've removed the issue number and the name from the following email
>  because I want to draw attention to the bureaucrat-ness of it <grin/>,
>  not the actual subject or person.
>  I know the WGs are trying to do a good job in making sure everyone's
>  issues are addressed. Because of past mistakes, the trend has been for
>  us to be more formal in the responses. And I find this process can get
>  quite frustrating at times. For example, I lost a lot of context in the
>  lag between the time my comment was sent and the time I got a response
>  in [two recent comments]. If I'm referred to some table with
>  lots of unique conventions and links, trying to understand what
>  happened to the issue, or remembering what it was, is quite difficult!
>  Or, as below, after a period I'm told the WG made some determination and
>  will take no action. I ask, "did I even make myself clear? Did they
>  understand the issue or am I confused?" The response is akin to, "I'm
>  only responding, since there was no action, the editors' did nothing,
>  if this is not satisfactory we can reraise the issue at our next FTF 2
>  months from now." I end up feeling like a person trapped in a automatic
>  response system "please push the '5' key", desperately wishing to speak
>  to a real person. I'd rather be told I'm an idiot and don't understand,
>  or we clearly disagree -- if this is the case -- than the run-around.
>  Again, I'm not trying to pick on any particular group or individual.
>  This is a problem we all face in trying to be fair and complete with
>  respect to comments. However, I would encourage WGs to be willing to
>  engage the person relatively soon after the comment is made, for the
>  responders to be able to say, "I'm not speaking for the whole WG, but I
>  think the substantive bit here is that you're misunderstanding X."
>  Presently, we're moving towards process churn, formal run-arounds, and
>  circular loops of deferal instead of substantive discussion.

Professor James Hendler				  hendler@cs.umd.edu
Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies	  301-405-2696
Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.	  301-405-6707 (Fax)
Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742	  240-731-3822 (Cell)
Received on Sunday, 29 September 2002 20:49:31 UTC

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