Applying W3C AC feedback to Verifiable Claims (Re: Voluntary (and non-) Standards)

On 12/09/2016 01:50 PM, David Singer wrote:
>> I agree with Mike: if the goal is to start on an Anticipatory 
>> Standard (in particular), then clear Success Criteria can (MUST?) 
>> be established and measured against. If the proposed WG cannot 
>> achieve their (and the AC's) definition of "success" in a 12 - 18 
>> month [sic] time-frame, then halting support for the work would be 
>> in order - conversely, if real measurable progress is being made 
>> then ongoing support for the WG would seem appropriate.

There is now an official call for review by Advisory Committee
Representatives on the Verifiable Claims Charter:

While the discussion here on "Anticipatory/Aspirational Standards" feels
like a healthy one, I'd like to bring the focus back to a more immediate
decision that the AC Reps will have to make over the next few weeks. A
great deal has been said over the past year about Verifiable Claims and
"Anticipatory/Aspirational Standards". The following is an attempt to
express those arguments in one concise statement:

Verifiable Claims is an anticipatory/aspirational standard, has not been
incubated long enough, and is thus not ready to proceed to a W3C Working

Any argument following the logic above is shaky at best because there is
data (linked to below) to prove otherwise.

We have not yet seen a clear definition of what "Anticipatory Standard"
or "Aspirational Standard", or "enough incubation", or, "acceptable
field deployment" means in concrete terms. Until we define that as a
community, there will continue to be conflict over these particular
terms and requirements.

For the time being, let's try defining this by using Verifiable Claims
as an example. Let's assume for a moment that Verifiable Claims *is* an
Anticipatory Standard. If we make this assumption, it would make the
definition of Anticipatory Standard have the following qualities:

* Incubation for 4+ years[1][2]
* Community of 92+ participants with an average weekly telecon
  participation from 15-25 participants[3]
* Data demonstrating Charter support from 48+ organizations[4]
* A consensus-based set of use cases[5]
* A consensus-based specification with community buy-in[6]
* Multiple implementations of specification with
  active deployments[7][8][9][10][11][12]
* Expert interviews with concerned/critical experts[13]
* Data documenting commitments from key ecosystem implementers[14]

Note: all of this has been done /prior/ to WG creation. That is the
status of the Verifiable Claims work so far.

Here is a sampling of active W3C Working Groups that seem to be doing
well despite the fact that they didn't meet all of the criteria above:

* Web Cryptography WG[16]
* Web Payments WG[17]
* Social Web WG[18]
* Automotive WG[19]
* EXI WG[20]
* SVG WG[21]
* Timed Text WG[22]
* Tracking Protection WG[23]
* Web Application Security WG[24]
* WCAG WG[25]
* Web Performance WG[26]
* Web RTC WG[27]

... and that's just the active list of W3C Working Groups. The list
doesn't consider any historical data.

I suggest that those that are asserting that Verifiable Claims is an
anticipatory standard, or that it has not been incubated enough, take
the data above to the W3C AB so that they can define
"Anticipatory/Aspirational Standard", "enough incubation", and
"acceptable field deployment" in more concrete terms. Doing so will
result in far less heartburn for everyone involved and will set the
appropriate expectations across W3C for starting new work.

To phrase this another way, the Verifiable Claims work has been
incubated more than the W3C WGs listed above when they were approved by
the W3C membership. Those other Working Groups seem to be doing just fine.

In the interim, I'll also point out that the Verifiable Claims work
meets the "W3C Recommendation Track Readiness Best Practices"
criteria[28]. If those opposing the Verifiable Claims work on the basis
that they would like to see more stringent readiness criteria put in
place for WG formation, then I suggest that they seek consensus on the
new criteria with W3C Membership, work with the W3C Advisory Board to
integrate that criteria into the readiness criteria[28] and refrain from
asserting that those more stringent criteria exist today.

-- manu


Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Rebalancing How the Web is Built

Received on Saturday, 10 December 2016 19:27:46 UTC