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Re: Working group voting procedures in Process 2018

From: David Singer <singer@mac.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:36:41 +0800
Cc: David Wood <david.wood@ephox.com>, Harald Alvestrand <hta@google.com>, 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>
Message-id: <15699A34-598B-4607-BB16-394B6FA8B90D@mac.com>
To: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>
Can I confirm that I think we’re settling on?

If it’s a formal vote on a technical subject, then it’s one vote per member organization.  (And if it’s controversial, expect FOs, because we shouldn’t be making technical decisions based on majority voting, but on consensus and/or technical merit.)

If it’s a straw poll, then the chair can decide who gets to participate and what the tallying system is (e.g. “this vote is restricted to people who have registered to attend the next f2f”).

> On Oct 25, 2017, at 18:06 , Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru> wrote:
> 
> TL;DR: There are arguments for both kinds of default. I find the 1 vote per participant more compelling, and otherwise we need to work out how participants other than member organisations vote. But I can live with either default, and think voting on it would be a reasonable way to resolve the issue.
> 
> On Wed, 25 Oct 2017 03:51:00 +0200, David Wood <david.wood@ephox.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> On 24 October 2017 at 05:52, Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru> wrote:
>> 
>>> 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.
> 
> Indeed. Especially for large groups working on a lot of stuff that is more about boring plumbing than exciting shiny stuff (WebPlatform, CSS, anything where one organisation is effectively leading the implementation efforts...).
> 
> In such situations, some members' representatives say "I cannot speak definitively for My Employer, but it seems to me that...", while others say "our membership position is X". There are a lot of real examples of both, in practice. In the former case, it seems more useful to get individual [perspectives - in part because they are likely to come with clear arguments from various perspectives, whereas going with one vote per member we can expect a lot of the valuable discussion to be internal to the organisation trying to decide how to vote.
> 
> If the issue is contentious enough to generate a formal objection, then having an archive of the discussion is likely to help the Director better understand the issues and reach a better decision faster. IMHO.
> 
> On Wed, 25 Oct 2017 09:31:54 +0200, Harald Alvestrand <hta@google.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> It's obvious for both "one person one vote" and "one company one vote" how to stack the vote - in >one case, bring 100 of your closest friends to the meeting; in the other case, tell every company >and organization you work with to join up and send a representative. Both have happened in >standards organizations we've worked with.
>> 
>> The difference is that stacking the vote by adding companies:
>> a) takes longer
>> b) costs more - with some of that being money that ends up in the W3C's coffers
>> c) is harder to hide (because it takes longer).
>> 
>> If we have to have voting on issues that are important (and I think we have to), I'd prefer the >option that makes vote-stacking take longer and be more expensive for the stacker.
> 
> This is the best rationale I have heard for defaulting to 1 vote per member.
> 
> However, the reality is that W3C is also trying to encourage participation
> by people who are not in a position to join, meaning many groups get some
> invited experts. That leads to an asymmetry.
> 
> I don't think there is an ideal default, and I would thus be prepared to
> let this particular question be resolved by vote. (Should that be by
> organisation or individual?)
> 
> I would like to see a clear explanation of how Invited Expert votes are counted in such a situation, and what, if anything, to do with input from public contributors who are not members of the working group.
> 
> Cheers
> 
> Chaals
> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 3:51 AM, David Wood <david.wood@ephox.com> wrote:
>>> 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
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Chaals is Charles McCathie Nevile
> find more at http://yandex.com

David Singer

singer@mac.com
Received on Friday, 27 October 2017 07:37:15 UTC

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