social-ISSUE-19 (channel explosion): WG communication channel explosion

social-ISSUE-19 (channel explosion): WG communication channel explosion

Raised by: Henry Story
On product: 

During the Working Group call Tuesday 10 March [1] following on an e-mail thread [2] it turns out that one of the chairs ( Tantek ) and other members of the WG  have a policy of not using the e-mail channel at all, and of not responding to it. Harry Halpin argued that the W3C process does not require any one to read the e-mails there, and that this was the condition Tantek posed before becoming chair.

So the question is how does one have a detailed conversation that can lead to consensus?

It was pointed out that there are three other channels:
 + the wiki
 + the irc channel 
 + and this bug tracker

( But in fact these are not the only channels. The Social Web Working Group main wiki lists these others [4]:
 + Social Web Twitter ( run by Erik Wilde )
 + Activity Streams issues
 + Activity Streams repo:
 + Vocabulary issues: 
 + Vocabulary
 + Social WG Activity Streams issues
 + ... )

Things get a bit confusing here:
 + is there an automatic way to know when the wiki is updated? Instead of writing mails, should one open a new wiki page? How does one let everyone know about the wiki page? Do they comment on the wiki commenting section or on the mailing list? Who is following what there?
 + the bug tracker posts updates to the mailing list, so how are others notified?
 + the IRC channel is not always logged so it is difficult to know if one has missed posts there.  One can leave a message for someone there so that they notice it when they come online, but what kind of message will do? Will a pointer to the e-mail archive such as [1] do? Or does the URL have to point to a blog? 

It is not clear who is using which channels. Is there a list of how to communicate with various members of the group? Which channels are the preferred channels of the various WG members? How can one have a conversation the implicates all members? (It would be good to be able to have these conversations asynchronously and not only on WG weekly meeting calls of course )

Tantek argued that the best way to communicate  was using blog posts. But how does one know which blog posts various people are reading? Where are these discussions archived? How would one notify all the members of the WG about the discussion going on there? How does one avoid conversations being lost across blog posts, and people only being partially notified of them and so only having a partial view of the debate? What protocols do these blog posts have to implement so that communication works for all? Which of the many pinging mechanisms should be used? [3] Is it necessary to use Indie Web protocols? Or should one use others? And is that not assuming that the working group has already decided on what it is meant to deliver?

Does this not contradict the charter that says clearly

Most of the technical work of the group will be done through discussions on one of the group's public mailing list and a list for public comments allows posts by anyone: (archive) for Working Group discussion (archive) for general discussion and commentary
The group can use a Member-confidential mailing list for administrative purposes and, at the discretion of the Chairs and members of the group, for member-only discussions in special cases when a particular member requests such a discussion.

The problem of the social web is currently exactly related to the explosion of channels. We are here to solve that problem, but it has not yet been resolved. We can take a simple example from a well known organisation named OuiShare. They already have over 60 tools that they categorised in 13 groups. Many of these are overlapping in functionality. The following use case for that organisation show a microcosm of the problems that best the current dysfunctional social web. The full use case is written up here:

It seems to me that this is exactly the use case this working group has been looking for: channel explosion. And that is what the WG should be setting out to fix. But as it has not yet been fixed, the solution cannot be assumed before the working group comes to a conclusion.

[3] a discussion of some of these can be found here:

Received on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 19:59:09 UTC