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Re: Working group voting procedures in Process 2018

From: David Wood <david.wood@ephox.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 11:51:00 +1000
Message-ID: <CABdBTrZqTgD-5-QvOCuSjuNpfTsZ-wmBttAdfg1QOjrncDk2Bw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>
Cc: Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org>, "L. David Baron" <dbaron@dbaron.org>, W3C AC-Forum <w3c-ac-forum@w3.org>, "chairs@w3.org" <chairs@w3.org>, "ab@w3.org" <ab@w3.org>, "public-w3process@w3.org" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Hi all,

On 24 October 2017 at 05:52, Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>
wrote:

> On Mon, 23 Oct 2017 18:49:14 +0200, L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
> wrote:
>
> I'm curious about the rationale behind one of the changes within
>> #24, which covers voting *in working groups* (which is described in
>> both the new and old process as a rare procedure that should only be
>> used when consensus cannot be reached).
>>
>> In the current process, votes in a working group MUST be taken
>> per-organization (or group of related members).  In the revised
>> process, the default voting process (which can be overridden by
>> charters) is that votes in a working group default to one vote per
>> participant.
>>
>> This change seems to introduce the risk that, if a working group is
>> facing issues contentious enough to lead to a vote, it allows
>> organizations to add new members to the group in order to change the
>> results.  This seems undesirable to me.
>>
>
> From my perspective it is true that some organisation might try to fill
> the group to win a vote. In the unlikely event that an important issue
> really got determined this way and left people unhappy at the outcome, I
> would expect a formal objection. I expect part of the director's analysis
> of such an objection to include looking at any such attempt at "distorting
> the outcome" with about as much contempt as the particular case merits.
>


Chaals calls this scenario "unlikely". Is it really?

It might be worth noting that I recently (in the last two years) attended a
meeting where the CSS working group had a majority of voting members
attending from a single organisation. A quick check of the membership of
that group [1] yields:

Google: 19 participants
Microsoft: 11 participants
Apple: 11 participants
Mozilla: 8 participants

Without making any attempt whatsoever to infer whether those numbers are a
good idea (they might be for such a core WG), it is certainly an existence
proof that WGs can end up with a small number of organisations dominating
the active participation.

Regards,
Dave

[1] https://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/members



> Voting is a suboptimal approach for most important decisions anyway. It is
> potentially useful to stop a bikeshed discussion (not because it gets a
> good answer, but because there isn't one apparent and it stops the time
> being sucked into different ways to make a bad decision...).
>
> An alternative perspective is the old HTML Working Group, which had far
> more invited experts - each given one vote - than organisational members
> who were thus a small minority in any official vote. While I hope that was
> an historic anomaly, in a group where one large organisation has 4 times as
> many people as anyone else doing 75% of the work, while I suspect there
> will be other problems it seems reasonable to let them have more than 1
> vote, in the broken case that this is the only way forward on an issue.
>
> So yes, there is a power shift in the "default" model. Between Arrow's
> theorem, a sense that very many questions are badly put to vote in my
> experience, and the sense that this is already a case that should have been
> avoided, I'm not terribly concerned at what the default looks like because
> I think it represents an attempt to save discussion on an issue rather than
> a soundly justifiable basis for claiming the answer is *right*.
>
> cheers
>
> Chaals
>
> (I'm coming to this from the perspective of a member of the CSS
>> working group, which officially has 19 participants from Google, 11
>> from Apple, 11 from Microsoft, 8 from Mozilla, 6 from Vivliostyle, 5
>> from Adobe, 5 from BPS, etc., but has also never held a vote.  But
>> I'm under the impression that there have been a small number of
>> working groups where voting was used a good bit.)
>>
>> -David
>>
>> On Wednesday 2017-09-27 20:36 -0400, Jeff Jaffe wrote:
>>
>>> Dear AC representative, WG Chair, or member of the public,
>>>
>>> The W3C Advisory Board is forwarding a proposed Process 2018 draft [1]
>>> to the Advisory Committee for consideration and comment. The plan is that,
>>> based on the received comments, a revised draft will be sent to the
>>> Advisory Committee for formal Review prior to the November TPAC meeting and
>>> that there will be time for questions and comments on the proposed Review
>>> document at the TPAC meeting.
>>>
>>> [1]https://w3c.github.io/w3process/
>>>
>>> The major changes in this document and their rationale, with links to
>>> the current process and a diff from it, are provided in a backgrounder [2].
>>> [2]https://www.w3.org/wiki/Process2018
>>>
>>> We call special attention to issue #5 - designed to increase agility for
>>> errata management moving us closer to a living standard model and issue #52
>>> which updates participation and election rules for the TAG.
>>>
>>> Please send comments as soon as possible (to facilitate response
>>> preparation) and prior to October 26th (a 4 week comment period).  Specific
>>> comments on the text are best filed as Github issues or even pull requests
>>> at the Process CG github site<https://github.com/w3c/w3process/issues>.
>>>
>>> More general discussion and comments should be sent
>>> topublic-w3process@w3.org  (Mailing list archive, publicly available)
>>> or toprocess-issues@w3.org  (Member-only archive).  You may discuss
>>> your comments on any other list, such asw3c-ac-forum@w3.org, as long as
>>> you send the comments to one of the W3process lists above and copy that
>>> list in the discussion.
>>>
>>> Jeff Jaffe, Chair, W3C Advisory Board
>>> Charles McCathie Nevile, Editor, W3C Process Document
>>> David Singer, Chair, W3C Process Document Task Force
>>>
>>>
>>
>
> --
> Chaals is Charles McCathie Nevile
> find more at http://yandex.com
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 01:51:29 UTC

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