Re: a suggestion and a request on bugs and change proposals

On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 11:20 AM, Maciej Stachowiak <> wrote:

> On Mar 9, 2010, at 7:07 AM, Shelley Powers wrote:
>  I've noticed in the dt/dd issue and now with Issue 66 that people are
>> providing multiple change proposals, or introducing additional changes not
>> necessarily reflecting on the issue at hand. These actions make it more
>> difficult to determine exactly what the person wants, specific to the item
>> under discussion. This goes counter to my assumption that when people write
>> a change proposal, it's in actuality a concise argument for a specific
>> action, and that this action is what the person prefers.
> That's not how I see the purpose of Change Proposals. As I see it, they are
> a tool to help build WG consensus. A Change Proposal author should
> definitely seek to modulate their proposal based on what they think will fly
> with the Working Group. There is no requirement that a Change Proposal must
> represent the authors own most preferred option.

I disagree, but my agreement or not isn't a requirement of the process.

I respect people who state their view, and provide a good, solid argument in
support of their view. I may even change my mind if the argument is sound
enough. Or not, but at least I know what the person wants, and can go from

I don't have a lot of respect for people who game the system--trying to
figure out what every person wants, or what will generate a "win", for the
sake of winning. If people put up multiple proposals, or one that doesn't
reflect what they feel is the best course, we have no starting point for
negotiation -- it's all quicksand. At this point, I can't tell the
difference between a genuine proposal, and one where the person is throwing
stuff up so that when they "seem" to compromise, what they're really doing
is advocating what they wanted in the first place.

I tend to be very specific: This is the bug, this is the issue, here is
proposal, here is a counter proposal--all tendered in good faith, no
ambiguity, clearly stating what is wanted, and why. Now, all the cards are
on the table. Now, we can negotiate.

"Standing by the courage of our convictions" isn't a tired cliche -- it is a
respect for the process and the other players, but most of all, it is
self-respect: I believe this, this is what I want, this is what I feel is
right. Why on earth would anyone do otherwise?

> A participant who can live with multiple alternatives and is not sure which
> would be more preferred by the WG can certainly submit multiple proposals if
> they wish.
Sure. But to me, this waters down their proposals. It shows me they really
don't care as much, which means I'm less likely to compromise: why should I
compromise what I believe strongly in, when the person is seemingly
indifferent, or not as concerned?

If I think the person really genuinely believes that their approach is
better, and they provide a good solid argument, I'm more likely to see if
there's a way we can't find something that works for both of us. I can
respect a person who disagrees with me, and does so because they genuinely
feel their approach is better.

In the end, it may come down to both proposals being weighed equally by the
members of the group, and one chosen over the other because of the strengths
of the arguments. In my opinion, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Ultimately, the most relevant question is not what a Change Proposal author
> really truly wants, but rather what position can find the most consensus and
> draw the weakest objections.

But then, how will we know what a Change Proposal author really wants, if
they don't include what they want in the change proposal?

Regardless, I'm just expressing an opinion. This is "process" stuff, which
bores the bejebus out of folks -- so onward. I have a dozen or so change
proposals to write.

> Regards,
> Maciej

Received on Tuesday, 9 March 2010 18:19:04 UTC