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Re: formal objection to one vendor/one vote (and group decision process for, e.g. ISSUE-7 video-codecs)

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 21:35:55 -0500
Message-ID: <643cc0270907091935i4a4eebb4rfdad90484c323f34@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Dan Connolly<connolly@w3.org> wrote:
> Where to begin... this is a bit rushed, in hopes
> of getting it out as input to today's teleconference...
> One brief thought I had is that if you squint right,
> a policy of "one vendor, one veto" is the same as
> a policy of "zero formal objections" i.e. W3C's
> definition of consensus.
>  http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/policies.html#Consensus
> The W3C policy doesn't completely require consensus,
> but it puts a high value on it.
> Of course, W3C puts a high value on consensus among
> not just browser implementors but also the web
> developers etc.

Makes sense to balance all user needs. You may not get 100%
concurrence, but at least you're getting a more comprehensive

> The WG design principle 3.2. Priority of Constituencies
> shows a commitment to more than just browser implementors.
> http://www.w3.org/TR/html-design-principles/#priority-of-constituencies
> How to balance the input from these constituencies is
> something this WG hasn't really come to grips with; I think
> your concern is shared by a lot of participants, Shelly.

> In particular, the HTML 5 editor's draft has material
> of various levels of maturity; some of it is so widely
> deployed that to change it is a fool's errand, and some
> of it was cooked up last week. It all stands there with
> the same authority, i.e. written by an editor appointed
> by a chair appointed by a W3C director. So it's not surprising
> when the community at large (mis)takes it all as the
> position of W3C.

> On Wed, 2009-07-08 at 07:28 -0500, Shelley Powers wrote:
>> At one point in time, I believe, the W3C operated with a philosophy
>> that if it had implementation, or promise of implementation, from
>> three vendors (three being the majority), that would be sufficient.
> Perhaps some groups have used that as a process, but I don't think
> I have seen it. It's certainly not a W3C-wide policy.
>> A commitment from three vendors would allow the specification to
>> advance, and provide enough support to hopefully put pressure on the
>> recalcitrant companies to implement the specification.
> It's something perhaps we could try. Sam did suggest
> something along those lines:
> "Identifying three independent
> supporters, placing a message out on the mailing list soliciting
> objections, waiting a sufficient period of time, and noting for the
> record at a later date that no objections were produced is an example of
> how things work in a healthy working group."
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jan/0688.html

Seems that this might be an approach. At a minimum, interested parties
can respond. And those parties who don't response, loose their chance
to protest or object later.

> Note Sam didn't fill in the blanks about what to do in the
> case of objections. That's as much art as science.

Cry? Swear? Get drunk?

(Sorry, not feeling hot tonight, so I'm rummy)

> Also about "three being the majority", it's tricky to count; the
> market share of the three might be less than the market share of
> the one. I like to look for a critical mass of the marketplace,
> though I admit with a marketplace as large as HTML's, I don't
> really know how to find/measure it.

I hate to say it, but the one (and it's still the one) is the one we
hear from the least. That's an unhealthy situation, too, but nothing
we can do much about.

I'm also concerned about under-represented groups, such as those
related to accessibility, and to an extent, SVG and MathML, both of
which have been inhibited by the XHTML requirement. With recent
activity, I think RDFa could actually hold its own now.

The point is, the market is very diverse. What's key is ensuring
diverse needs are covered.

>> There has always been a chicken and egg approach to web standards
>> development, but there is such a thing as determining a course to take
>> that has at least significant support and hope to, over time, convince
>> reluctant parties to join in.
> Are you suggesting that wasn't tried with video codecs?
> Perhaps more time could be spent, and I'm not sure why Ian chose
> 30 Jun to announce a change, but the issue has been tracked formally
> in this WG since 2007-11-08 and I don't know how long before
> that it's been discussed in various other fora.

Actually, I don't want to answer for video codec. I responded more,
and made this objection, because of statements Ian made relative to
one vendor/one vote, and its seeming application to video codec.

> The issue has been sleeping (in "RAISED" state) in our tracker
> for a while... I just updated it a bit to note recent developments:
> ISSUE-7 video-codecs
> codec support and the <video> element
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/7
> It would be nice if the WG could make a decision on that
> issue and the next HTML 5 WD publication would reflect that
> decision. I think that would be a lot better than the
> current "well, Ian said X and you have to follow 1000s
> of email messages to figure out what everbody else thinks"
> status we now live with.

Oh, agree, very much so.

>> Sorry, I had posted this to the wrong place. Re-posting here. I've
>> also taken the liberty of copying over a couple of emails that
>> followed this posting
>> -------------
>> I believe the process to register a formal objection is to send an
>> email to this group, and label it as such.
> Well, actually, formal objections are only in order as part
> of WG decisions, and as others have pointed out, this WG
> hasn't made a decision on video codecs.
> http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/policies.html#Consensus
> Just for formality's sake, another process option is to appeal
> such non-WG decisions as:
>  - the W3C decision to charter the WG (i.e. you might object
>   to the commit-then-review aspects of the charter)
>  - the chair's decision to appoint Ian Hickson and Dave Hyatt as editor
> p.s. I write this after chatting with Sam Ruby a little bit, but
> I haven't checked that he supports the details. And I haven't chatted
> with Chris Wilson about this at all, nor Mike Smith.
> --
> Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
> gpg D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E

Yeah, I'm aware that I'm really out of sync with this. Both as to
focus of objection and timing.

It would be nice if we could do things to better ensure consistency
now, as well as the aforementioned support for a diverse audience,
rather than have to face formal objections later. But if that is the
best way to proceed, then I'll support that approach.

I appreciate the response from both you and Sam. And others in this
thread, and the one in www-archives, too. And appreciations to the
HTML WG for indulging my many expressions of concerns the last few

Received on Friday, 10 July 2009 02:36:36 UTC

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