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[Issue-152] Note for Draft Process Document

From: Stephen Zilles <szilles@adobe.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2015 23:58:38 +0000
To: "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BN1PR0201MB0802AD93211DC19F91C29558AE120@BN1PR0201MB0802.namprd02.prod.outlook.com>
Per the request of the Advisory Board, the following note is proposed for attachment to the second paragraph of section 7.7.2 Revising a Recommendation<http://www.w3.org/2014/Process-20140801/#revised-rec> to explain the only open issue on the current draft of Process2015. [The proposed text has been hyperlinked inline to make it easier to copy.]

Steve Z

Note: It has been asserted that Process2014<http://www.w3.org/2014/Process-20140801/> has made the publication of Edited Recommendations more difficult in the case when they only have corrections that do not affect conformance and that this change was un-intended. This is Issue-152<http://www.w3.org/community/w3process/track/issues/152> on the Revising the W3C Process Community Group Tracker<http://www.w3.org/community/w3process/track/>. For this kind of change, Process2005<http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/> does not require any "technical review of the proposed changes." This also holds for Process2014, but an additional step, publication as a Proposed Recommendation, has been added.

The essence of the discussion has been around whether it is possible to reliably identify "corrections that do not affect conformance." It seems that a Working Group should be able to perform this assessment (and has been responsible for doing so in the past). However, several recent Patent Advisory Groups (PAGs) have shown that subtle changes in a text can have significant Patent implications. The Touch Events Specification PAG<http://www.w3.org/2012/te-pag/pagreport.html> noted that the Touch Events Specification does not fit an ellipse (as required by the patent considered) to touched pixels, relying only on a single coordinate point (thus avoiding a patent infringement). In a similar analysis, a patent infringement was avoid by changing the name of a method being used. These examples show the slippery slope of editorial changes.

Based on these examples, a number of people felt that any textual changes should have an associated exclusion announcement on the changed text. That puts the onus of checking whether any of the changes might trigger a patent problem on owner of the possibly infringed patents.  Any reviewer other than the patent holder may not have sufficient information to recognize the problem. If the 60 day review period passes without any exclusions that is good, and, if an exclusion occurred, then the change could certainly affect conformance. The essence of the argument is that getting a better Patent assessment prior to re-publishing a Recommendation is worth the added delay of an Exclusion period.

This does, however, elongate the process of updating a Recommendation with purely editorial changes. It has been suggested that it would suffice to have the Team Contact (as a disinterested expert in the group) review the changes prior to re-publication as a Recommendation, thus speeding up editorial updates.

No clear consensus position between these two positions has yet emerged.
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Received on Saturday, 28 February 2015 23:59:10 UTC

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