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Re: Some procedures for handling and closing ISSUEs -- comments on Compliance spec

From: Peter Swire <peter@peterswire.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 20:39:29 -0800
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>, Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu>
CC: "Aleecia M. McDonald" <aleecia@aleecia.com>, Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>, "public-tracking@w3.org (public-tracking@w3.org) (public-tracking@w3.org)" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CD277362.6B3C8%peter@peterswire.net>

As I have gone around meeting people in the process and listening to them, I have heard concerns broadly similar to Jonathan's raised by a number of people.

The concerns that people have raised with me include:

(1) Volume of email on the list;
(2) The perception that objections need to raised repeatedly or else silence is understood as consent; and
(3) Lack of clear notice which emails are crucial, so that people in a practical way realize when something they care about is being decided.

As David's email points out, there are transparency and process guarantees that are established in the existing practices.  With that said, with over 100 groups/individuals/entities now in the TPWG, many of whom have not worked previously in a W3C standards process and may be used to other approaches.

I have asked W3C staff to help me work on these concerns for the Compliance spec process.

I expect to have more to say about this going forward on the work for the Compliance spec.



Professor Peter P. Swire
C. William O'Neill Professor of Law
    Ohio State University

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com<mailto:singer@apple.com>>
Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013 6:46 AM
To: Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu<mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu>>
Cc: Aleecia McDonald <aleecia@aleecia.com<mailto:aleecia@aleecia.com>>, Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org<mailto:tlr@w3.org>>, "public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org> (public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>) (public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>)" <public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: Some procedures for handling and closing ISSUEs
Resent-From: <public-tracking@w3.org<mailto:public-tracking@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013 6:47 AM

On Jan 23, 2013, at 18:57 , Jonathan Mayer <jmayer@stanford.edu<mailto:jmayer@stanford.edu>> wrote:

Batch issue closings were historically for uncontroversial maintenance.  The notion that we would now batch close hotly contested issues seems risky.  What's to prevent gotchas?

The fact that they are announced, and we all have the opportunity to say "please don't close that, it is still a contested issue".


On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 3:56 AM, Aleecia M. McDonald wrote:

I would be very pleased if we could modify this slightly by having a low-volume announce mailing list for precisely these sorts of things.


On Jan 23, 2013, at 2:08 AM, Matthias Schunter (Intel Corporation) <mts-std@schunter.org<mailto:mts-std@schunter.org>> wrote:

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your question!

What I meant with “silence means agreement” is that, e.g., once I sent an email where I suggest to close an issue,
participants that cannot live with the proposed resolution should indeed reply to this mail and say so.

This may require re-stating concerns once or even multiple times. The reason is that (while I try), I sometimes overlook a concern or may falsely assume that a concern has been resolved.

Note that due to the heterogeneous mix and the conflicting interest, I believe that we can only make progress if we to focus
on and address on strong and sustained objections (“cannot live with”).  Again, not responding to my emails suggesting to close an issue will make me believe that you can live with the proposed resolution.


On 23/01/2013 10:11, Jonathan Mayer wrote:

Could you clarify your view that "[s]ilence means agreement"?  Are you suggesting that, once a participant has expressed a concern, they have the burden of perpetually re-raising that concern?


On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 12:47 AM, Matthias Schunter (Intel Corporation) wrote:

Hi Team,

ISSUEs formalise specific questions under discussion in the group.

In order to ensure that we are all on the same page and continue to
operate smoothly,
I would like to give some info/background on handling of ISSUES.

Questions/feedback is welcome!



STATE of an ISSUE: Each issue has a status that can be
RAISED: Someone (anyone) believes that this is a topic to discuss
OPEN: Questions/topics under active discussion
PENDING_REVIEW: The discussion has concluded and a proposed
resolution is on the table
CLOSED: We accepted the proposed resolution
POSTPONED: We decided not to discuss this issue at this point in time.

1. - Issues should usually only be closed if there is an documented
proposal that does not trigger sustained and substantiated objections
(i.e., everyone can live with this option).
2. - If this is not possible (i.e., none of the proposals is acceptable
following point (1)), then the chairs may ask for input and decide
[so far, we only needed executed (2) a single time]

- Silence means agreement, i.e., if I ask for objections and nobody
reponds, I assume agreement and consensus.
- Please only speak for yourself/ your organisation: Do not send emails
like "I believe that Joe objects". I am likely to ignore such emails in
the future.
[Note: It is OK to send wakeup emails behind the scenes ("hey joe,
are you aware that Matthias is closing this issue")]
- Try to substantiate your objection/concern and indicate what changes
you would like to see

- If I attempt to close issues via Email, I send an explicit email
asking whether anyone sustains and substantiates an objections (the
emails usually saying "Batch closing...")
- Usually, I only attempt this if I perceive sufficient agreement in the
group (I may be wrong)
- If you believe further discussion is needed or that I misrepresented
the status of this issue, please respond.

- We may decide to close issues during F2F meetings
- This will be reflected in the minutes
- In the future, I will do a better job informing all participants
(e.g., my an email saying that we decided to close issues A, B, C)

Meaning of "CLOSED"
- Once an ISSUE is CLOSED, we believe that we have resolved the question
at hand - either by answering it or it became irrelevant
- Usually, ISSUEs are only re-opened if we receive new information/insight
- You can still provide new insight / input / observations to convince
the group to re-open an issue.

David Singer
Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Friday, 25 January 2013 04:40:05 UTC

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