Re: Thoughts on WAWG F2F + I Annotate next spring

Hi, Tim, all–

Good. I'm glad we've got that settled, and that we are on the same page.

Now, let's get back to the real challenges that this group faces:

1) Creating a technically elegant and excellent set of specifications 
that meet the use cases and requirements for Web Annotation;

2) Creating annotation solutions that work for different stakeholders 
across different technology stacks, including the "data web", the 
"browser web", the "ebook web", and the "device web".

3) Coordinating productively with other working groups so that we can 
reuse general components that they define, and creating low-level 
building blocks where we can so that our specifications can be used by 
other parts of the stack for different use cases and requirements.


On 11/20/14 9:49 PM, Tim Clark wrote:
> Hi Doug
> You have given a very long answer to a short question.  I am not
> accusing <> of anything at all, and
> there is no ad hominem here.  I think
> <> do good work, are valuable contributors, and am
> glad to have them around.
> I am simply raising the question of balance for the group, not as a
> ding against any one member.  Want to be friends with everybody.
> Sorry your blood went on the boil, it is not worth a stroke.
> Cheers and stay happy
> Tim
> --------------------------------------------- Tim Clark, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School Director,
> Biomedical Informatics Core, Massachusetts General Hospital
> co-Director, Data and Statistics Core, Massachusetts Alzheimer
> Disease Research Center website: mobile:
> +1 617-947-7098 fax: +1 617-213-5418
>> On Nov 20, 2014, at 8:25 PM, Doug Schepers <>
>> wrote:
>> Hi, Tim–
>> On 11/20/14 6:24 PM, Tim Clark wrote:
>>> Yet I have to say - I think there is a potential concern about
>>> balance here. Is this a W3C group or an group?
>> This is a W3C Working Group, and I would ask that you respect
>> that.
>> Singling out a particular organization for anything besides its
>> implementation or technical contributions is dangerously close to
>> ad hominem or even slander, and we actively discourage such
>> behavior on W3C's mailing lists, for obvious reasons. It leads to
>> ugly email threads which never end well, for any of the
>> participants. If you have concerns about any particular
>> organization or its behavior, you can bring it up to the chairs and
>> staff contacts; if that doesn't satisfy you, you can escalate it to
>> the Domain Lead (Ralph Swick, who you've CCed here), or even up to
>> the Director.
>> I ask for all mailing list participants to refrain from using the
>> public lists in this way, and not to respond further in public on
>> this sub-thread; you can follow up on if you
>> wish.
>> Further, failing some evidence of misconduct, your concerns seem
>> neither substantiated nor specific. It is common (in fact,
>> expected) practice for a member organization to host F2F meetings,
>> quite often associated with an event on a related topic (as cited
>> before, the SVG WG always meets around the SVG Open/Graphical Web
>> conference, hosted by one member or another); this is neither a
>> conflict of interest nor an example of undue influence. Suggesting
>> otherwise damages the harmony and credibility of the working
>> group.
>> To put this idea to bed, here are the facts at hand:
>> 1) Ivan Herman and I drafted the original working group charter; we
>> discussed the potential deliverables informally with many different
>> people, including some Hypothesis folks, but also including active
>> individuals in the Open Annotation Community Group, as well as
>> browser implementers and others; nothing about the deliverables
>> reflects anything specific to a single implementation. In fact, it
>> doesn't even reflect the current architecture of Annotator (either
>> the main branch or the Hypothesis fork).
>> 2) The charter was discussed by the annotation community and public
>> at large at a workshop hosted by Hypothesis, but Hypothesis
>> employees were dwarfed by the number of other attendees [1] (by
>> more than an order of magnitude), in both the number of people and
>> the discussion.
>> 3) The main spec that's been discussed thus far is the Web
>> Annotations Data Model spec. This is in no way a product of
>> Hypothesis nor Annotator; in fact, Annotator doesn't currently
>> support the data model, though Rob Sanderson and Stanford did work
>> with Hypothesis to make a patch for Open Annotation support, on the
>> grounds that it wouldn't be suitable for use by this WG unless it
>> consumed this group's dogfood. The editors of that spec, the ones
>> with the most influence on its development, are Rob Sanderson and
>> Paolo Ciccarese, neither associated with Hypothesis.
>> 4) The Hypothesis Annotator codebase was chosen as the basis for an
>> experimental spec annotation system, because it was the only one I
>> could find that had the features we needed, including the
>> requirements that it be open source and that it run in the browser.
>> We discussed other requirements with the chairs (and the chairs and
>> editors of other working groups) at length.  Hypothesis volunteered
>> an enormous amount of time to helping us customize, upgrade, and
>> install Annotator; certainly, that might help their reputation, but
>> so does any system that W3C uses... nobody has accused the
>> WikiMedia Foundation for undue influence at W3C because we use
>> MediaWiki. Because we insisted that it support import and export of
>> Open Annotations to other systems, and email archiving of all
>> annotations, you can use any OA-supporting annotation client with
>> the spec annotations.
>> 5) Ivan and I are also concerned with the group balance, not only
>> in the representation of organizations, but also in technology
>> stack choices. We try to reach out to various potential
>> stakeholders to achieve this aim. We asked Frederick Hirsch to
>> co-chair along with Rob Sanderson, so we could get a balance
>> between the existing co-chairs of the Open Annotation WG (which
>> leans toward Linked Data) and the browser world. (We approached
>> both Rob and Paolo, who would probably be equally good, and Rob had
>> more time available.) When asked (along with several other members)
>> if they would be interested in putting forth a nominee for chair of
>> the Web Annotation Working Group, Dan Whaley declined, saying that
>> he was concerned with the group balance. In fact, Dan is very
>> sensitive to this issue; I hope he doesn't mind that I reveal that
>> he's asked Ivan and me offlist if he should limit their
>> participation at TPAC, if they should offer the space for a WG f2f,
>> and other questions of balance. I made the judgment call that none
>> of these negatively impact the activity of the working group, nor
>> show any impropriety, because they don't exert any undue influence
>> over the technical work of the group's deliverables. If you
>> question my judgment on this issue, I am available at your
>> convenience for a personal call.
>> 6) I have never seen anyone from Hypothesis nor Annotator try to
>> "dictate terms" to the group, or put forth any argument for a
>> position other than a technical one. I sometimes don't agree with
>> their positions (I've had some good arguments with Randall, Nick,
>> and Kristof), but I respect the technical basis and experience for
>> these positions.
>> 7) If anyone else wants to volunteer resources (WG roles like
>> editor or test lead), or to host a F2F or other event, then we
>> would welcome that just as much as we would any such offer from
>> Hypothesis. I have yet to see any such offers.
>> 8) Annotator is an open-source project that has many other
>> contributors, not just Hypothesis; in fact, Hypothesis uses some of
>> its grant money to fund other contributors on independent
>> extensions and uses. It's neither proprietary nor completely
>> controlled by Hypothesis.
>> I'm not singling you out in this email, however; from time to time
>> we see accusations of unfairness (and obviously, this boils my
>> blood). If someone accused Harvard of undue influence because one
>> of the editors of the spec is affiliated your organization, I would
>> just as quickly dismiss and declaim such influence, and staunchly
>> defend Paolo's credibility, character, and technical ability. The
>> same for Rob Sanderson, who is both editor and co-chair, which some
>> might see as undue influence. I don't want any working group
>> participant to feel reluctant to contribute and speak freely
>> because of their association or role. Such a chilling effect is
>> poison to the group. People should argue their technical positions
>> in full confidence that they are being evaluated on their merits.
>> I hope I've made it clear that I won't tolerate any accusations of
>> any organizations or individuals on this list; I won't even abide
>> accusations off-list unless they show evidence of improper
>> behavior, or behavior that negatively impacts the group.
>> </rant>
>> [1]
>> Regards- -Doug

Received on Friday, 21 November 2014 03:44:34 UTC