Thanks, Juan.

I think you misunderstood my objections. I'm not quoting W3C scripture; I'm saying what needs to change in this proposal to get my support.

So, for "members", I do mean people who've clicked "join this group" and agreed to the IP rules. I do *not* mean stakeholders of all stripes.

For +1/0/-1, it's common in Open Source teams and other tech venues. I'm pretty firm on this one; objections need to be clearly labelled as such.

For the conversation split, it's more of a cultural practice than anything else. We can exercise the muscle of making objections on list.

For chairs, I do not consent to a process that cannot be managed and resolved by the chairs.

Finally, I'm not OK with retroactively delegitimizing the decisions made so far by this group in its years of existence. So, accepting this revision will require using our existing process.


On Sept 29, 2023 04:28, Juan Caballero <> wrote:
On 9/29/2023 5:07 AM, Evan Prodromou wrote:


Thanks for doing this, Ben. In general, I like it, but I have some details I’d like to see tightened up before I can support it.
  • It should be made clear that only members of the SocialCG should be involved in decision-making processes. The passive language like “if no sustained objections are raised” makes it sound like non-members could object.

Fair point. The exact phrase is copypasted from the W3C charter template on GH, and I believe the passive voice is deliberate there! My experiences with consensus-based governance at a Quaker College lead me to assume every passive voice is a deliberate choice.

Even if it were a mistake and there was an implied "by members," it might be a distinction without a difference because CG "membership" is not contingent on having implemented specs or attending meetings; instead, CG membership is purely an administrative difference, as anyone who consents to the IP policy on record is a member.  It's also worth noting that if non-members crash meetings or join the list without said IP ceremony, they can still raise valid objections and if a single member agrees that those should be addressed, it is now an objection from a member, so *in practice* this shouldn't trigger a distracting episode of overt gatekeeping or papers-pleasing every time a first-time contributor objects to a proposal on-list or in a synchronous meeting.

  • Objections or agreement should be clearly labelled as such, with +1/0/-1 voting. Questions or observations are not objections.
Forgive the nitpicking but that's "polling", not "voting". Chairs and proposal-callers can request polls during meetings or on-list, but I don't think they should be mandated for all proposals as the primary or only mechanism.  It's good practice but I'd prefer it be a SHOULD not a MUST.  Maybe after "response period of 14 days" we could add a sentence like:

> After some initial discussion to refine language, explicitly calling for polls for +1/0/-1 positions against a concrete proposal can aid discernment of which objections are substantial or blocking and is a recommended pattern for building consensus.

But I suspect that might strike some as "overspecifying", and might strike the less-W3C-savvy as intimidating.
  • Splitting the conversation across different communications forms would make for a lot of missed messages and duplication. Instead, we should keep any discussions requiring consensus here, on the email list. Off-list discussions are fine, of course, but it’s not a “real" objection/agreement unless it happens here.
In a great example of your point, I just wrote earlier this morning on a socialhub thread about a FEP PR that the conversation is already split! Directing traffic from other venues to the main venue for a given decision or process is only possible if you go to said venues, annoyingly enough. Something something Moses mountain.
  • The Chairs should have the final decision if consensus has been reached.

Another nit, but the W3C Process document words this more as an obligation to document the vibe check than as an authority to close discussion and proceed. In the W3C Process doc, section 5.2.1 Consensus:

> To promote consensus, the W3C process requires Chairs to ensure that groups consider all legitimate views and objections, and endeavor to resolve them, whether these views and objections are expressed by the active participants of the group or by others (e.g., another W3C group, a group in another organization, or the general public)” (emphasis added).

It's hard work being a chair! Round of applause for James and Dmitri who've been making it look easy so far.

  • I like this SWIP process, which you created for this proposal. It’s reasonable, but I’d like to see it defined separately from the consensus proposal. I think it would be a great test of this consensus process!
I'm cool either way, coupled or decoupled.  We need both capabilities soonish.
  • To adopt this policy, I think we need to adopt it under the current rules, such as they are, which is by proposal and plus-voting in an in-person meeting. I think we have one planned for next Friday.
I'm honestly baffled about how best to process into being a process without a process.  No harm in trying to do it on-list as well, but as I keep insisting, the big problem is that most stakeholders aren't on the list yet OR attending meetings, as both were inactive for 4 years during which other venues built consensus and buy-in from many stakeholders.  The train is moving in five different directions and we've gotta keep laying tracks in front of all five! And with that, I'm going back to socialhub to keep debating FEP PRs 🤪

Go team! This is what consensus looks like!