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Re: [Moderator Action] Working group voting procedures in Process 2018

From: T.V Raman <raman@google.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2017 10:00:17 -0700
Message-ID: <23027.26145.807008.868067@retriever.mtv.corp.google.com>
To: hta@google.com
Cc: david.wood@ephox.com, chaals@yandex.ru, jeff@w3.org, dbaron@dbaron.org, w3c-ac-forum@w3.org, chairs@w3.org, ab@w3.org, public-w3process@w3.org
1+:-) Thanks for the clear analysis ---

Harald Alvestrand writes:
 >    In a consensus process, voting is what you have when you have to
 >    decide, but consensus can't be found.
 >    So I think we all agree that it's an emergency measure, and will
 >    practically be done only in stressed situations.
 >    Making up rules while stressed is bad. So clear, reasonable "default
 >    rules" are needed.
 >    Sociology: People who percieve a situation as a "win/lose" situation
 >    will position themselves to win as best they can.
 >    So if voting is going to happen, people *will* try to skew the voting
 >    rolls - whether by changing "who votes", by trying to exclude certain
 >    groups/people from voting ("you can't vote, you have a conflict of
 >    interest"), or by making the vote particularly onerous to participate
 >    in ("you have to be on this telechat at 3AM to cast your vote").
 >    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.
 >    On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 3:51 AM, David Wood <[1]david.wood@ephox.com>
 >    wrote:
 >    Hi all,
 >    On 24 October 2017 at 05:52, Chaals McCathie Nevile
 >    <[2]chaals@yandex.ru> wrote:
 >      On Mon, 23 Oct 2017 18:49:14 +0200, L. David Baron
 >      <[3]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] [4]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][5]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][6]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<[7]https://github.com/w3c/w3process/issues>.
 >      More general discussion and comments should be sent
 >      [8]topublic-w3process@w3.org  (Mailing list archive, publicly
 >      available) or [9]toprocess-issues@w3.org  (Member-only archive).
 >      You may discuss your comments on any other list, such
 >      [10]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 [11]http://yandex.com
 > References
 >    1. mailto:david.wood@ephox.com
 >    2. mailto:chaals@yandex.ru
 >    3. mailto:dbaron@dbaron.org
 >    4. https://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/members
 >    5. https://w3c.github.io/w3process/
 >    6. https://www.w3.org/wiki/Process2018
 >    7. https://github.com/w3c/w3process/issues
 >    8. mailto:topublic-w3process@w3.org
 >    9. mailto:toprocess-issues@w3.org
 >   10. mailto:asw3c-ac-forum@w3.org
 >   11. http://yandex.com/


Received on Friday, 27 October 2017 17:00:44 UTC

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