Re: HTML WG F2F meeting

On Jan 26, 2010, at 5:33 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:

> I used to agree with this, but in the case of HTML5, conflicts have 
> escalated with each working group meeting. This may be a coincidence, but 
> it is nonetheless the case that up to the time of our first face-to-face, 
> progress was swift and arguments rare,

That doesn't match my recollection. There were many huge flamewars prior to the first f2f, including about versioning, whether to adopt Web Apps 1.0, XForms, the Design Principles document, Q, BLOCKQUOTE, the role attribute, whether to start with HTML 4.01 instead, table header association, whether we should change our namespace URI so that XHTML2  could use it, whether we should drop <img> <video> <audio> <iframe> <embed> in favor of <object>, sniffing, the title of the spec, whether to actually publish the spec as a Working Draft after much discussion and a poll, canvas, ping... and much more. Many of these arguments were lengthy and often developed into shockingly intemperate language. Certainly it was not an argument-free golden age. In fact, even though discussions here get frustrating at times, I believe the level of courtesy and professionalism on the list is much higher than in the past.

> and now after our third face-to-face, the working group is virtually deadlocked. 

The way we record irreconcilable differences is the Issue Tracker. In the less than three months since our third face-to-face this year, we have closed 15 tracker issues. In the the months prior to that, as we were preparing for TPAC and around the time of our chairing change, we closed 24 tracker issues. In the the whole previous three years of the Working Group, we closed a total of 27 issues. So in the past 6 months, we have settled more ongoing disagreements than in the whole prior 3 years. And I think we are on track to resolve some more soon.This record does not say to me that we are "virtually deadlocked", either in absolute terms or in comparison to the past.

Now, it's true that in the past 6 months where we have been so successful in getting through issues, we (closing a total of 39), we have also had 24 new issues come in. And we still have 32 total remaining to deal with. But on average the trendline is going in the right direction, for perhaps the first time in the history of the group.

Now, I wouldn't claim this is primarily due to face-to-face meetings. Rather, I think it is due to a strong desire on the part of the chairs and many Working Group members to get issues resolved, and due to having a well-defined process for settling issues in a definitive way. Most of the success we have seen has been via email interaction. But I do not see support for the hypothesis that face-to-face meetings hurt our effectiveness, or even that it has been deteriorating over time.


Received on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 04:50:47 UTC