Re: [waf] New Charter proposal

Hi, Mark-

Thanks for your feedback.

Mark Nottingham wrote (on 1/6/08 8:48 PM):
> My feedback is that the proposed charter is far too broad. There's 
> already a substantial spread in the existing working groups, and 
> combining them multiplies it; you'd be working on protocols, APIs, 
> security mechanisms, DOM extensions, widgets and a major new XML language.

We're already working on each of these things, and are finding the 
overlap makes that harder.

> Doing so would advantage a few people who are involved and interested in 
> all of these efforts, but would disadvantage those who are not -- 
> including people with valuable expertise -- by overloading them with 
> e-mail and forcing them to sit through meetings where items not of there 
> interest were discussed. 

I agree that needs to be avoided.  I am particularly sensitive to this 
issue, because I participated in a WG in which each spec was discussed 
during each telcon, and it led to a lack of focus that drove the WG 
apart.  This is why I included the clause, "Most Web Application Working 
Group Teleconferences will focus on discussion of particular 
specifications, and will be conducted on an as-needed basis."

Perhaps I could have articulated that better.  The plan is to have a 
dedicated telcon for each spec, periodically.  The topic of discussion 
will always be announced ahead of time.  Only that spec (or specs, in 
cases of coordination) will be discussed.  Does that address your issue?

Please note that I am a big fan of telcons, so I do want regular meetings.

As far as email goes, each spec is discussed in a thread prefaced with 
the name of that spec, so it should be easy to prioritize the particular 
emails.  Maybe we could set up list conventions to aid this?

> It also puts constraints on the amount of
> things that can be discussed simultaneously, with perhaps the unintended 
> side effect of increasing the group's reliance on a few key contributors.

Assuming that W3C is going to be working on all these things, I don't 
see how this introduces any more need for discussion.

> A much better result would be achieved by splitting the efforts further, 
> into more focused working groups. This would undoubtedly increase the 
> burden on a few people who do want to be involved in all of these efforts,

I suspect that the majority of the people who are involved are already 

> as well as perhaps the Team (although it may be possible to mitigate that), 

Can you describe how?  Honestly, I think this will reduce the load on 
both Mike and me, because we can collaborate.  We will need only 2 
chairs and around 2 team contacts, rather than the several of each it 
would require for multiple groups.

> but would increase the likelihood of high-quality
> participation and a standard that truly reflects consensus.

Consensus is most valuable when it is inclusive of all the factors 
involved.  We desperately need to make sure these specs work well 
together.  It's easy to get consensus when you limit the scope, but it's 
also less useful for the final "product".

> Alternatively, if there's some intent of serialising the output, the 
> charter(s) could be written to only address the immediately upcoming 
> deliverable, with the understanding that later rechartering will move 
> the focus of the group(s) onwards.

The chartering process, while necessary, slows down the real work of the 
WG, and takes several weeks of review and approval.  To change that, we 
would need to change the policy of the W3C on chartering, and that would 
itself take time.

I'm not dismissing your concerns, but I think we can address them within 
the framework of a single WG.


-Doug Schepers
W3C Staff Contact, SVG, CDF, and WebAPI

Received on Monday, 7 January 2008 10:16:26 UTC