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Re: Director-free branch

From: Charles 'chaals' (McCathie) Nevile <chaals@yandex.ru>
Date: Wed, 22 May 2019 09:59:12 +0200
To: "Daniel Glazman" <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
Cc: "W3C Process CG" <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.z16lsyufag6dn2@chaalss-macbook-pro.home>
Hi Daniel,

Summary: We should have a contingency plan for if Tim stops being director  
without notice. But an unforced change to the structure of W3C should not  
be forced by an arbitrary deadline. We should have a proposal at least as  
good and complete as the current process, as the basis for deciding  
between them.


like you, I have been asking about this for about a decade (I believe I  
first raised it as a W3C staff member, when it was not that critical - no  
Solid, No Web Foundation, Tim was primarily focused on W3C work).

It is important to work out what we are going to do if we no longer have a  
director, and it is important to work out how the transition might work.  
The AB had a discussion with Tim in Sapporo, and the upshot was it was  
clear nobody had a strong idea of what would happen.

My working assumption is that if there were some reason Tim stopped being  
director within a week, we could continue for a while with a mix of the  
model that we have now - effectively delegate to the Team - and delay hard  
decisions that don't get consensus - while we figure out a replacement  
strategy. That is unsatisfactory, although given Tim's reduced day-to-day  
involvement, it is less problematic than it was a decade ago. I would have  
liked to see such an "emergency" plan in place a long time ago and I  
believe you would too, but it appears we are a small minority with that  

The process does take time to change. The process is also extremely  
flexible. Most of the changes we have wanted, other than "what if we don't  
have a director" turned out to be things we could do experimentally  
*within* the existing process, or things like CGs and W3Cx that were done  
entirely outside the process.

An unforced change in the basic structure of the organisation - say  
shifting decision-making from a consensus model overseen by an individual  
who holds the reserve power to make decisions in the clear absence if  
consensus andd is answerable to the membership, to a model where there are  
voting and non-voting members who can make binding decisions - *should*  
take time.

The structures and procedures have been evolving as Tim has withdrawn  
somewhat from his earlier level of involvement.

The proposal to outline a new structure for W3C where there is no  
individual who answers for W3C's decisions is in development. There are  
people who are strong proponents of the idea, people who are sceptical,  
and probably people who are flat-out opposed to even working on it. I'm  
somewhere in the middle - I have real concerns about how it would work,  
but think it is worth trying to create a proposal with enough detail to  
make a sensible decision.

(My own preferred model is that we have a system that has a technical  
director, and a CEO, who do have the responsibility for decisions but with  
more emphasis on consensus and getting member agreement, when compared to  
the current approach that basically gives the Director free rein to decide  
what to do if there is disagreement.)

I think there is increasing support for a changed model in a "post-Tim"  
W3C, although we still have little idea of when that might arise beyond  
"probably sooner as time goes by". Working to satisfy ourselves that we  
have identified the issues and resolved them to a level at least as good  
as what we have now is a good ambition. As noted above, planning for the  
contingency that the post-Tim W3C arises without notice is something we  
should already have done.

Setting an arbitrary deadline to accept a structural change that we don't  
need seems more problematic. WHile it is helpful to focus on getting the  
work done faster, this isn't the "one top priority" (we don't have one of  
those - there are a number of issues that we need to deal with at any  
given time, and several of them are always urgent), and outside the  
contingency situation we can choose how important this is to us.



On Tue, 21 May 2019 06:30:40 +0200, Daniel Glazman  
<daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com> wrote:

>> Le 20 mai 2019 à 22:45, Michael Champion  
>> <Michael.Champion@microsoft.com> a écrit :
>> A few thoughts:
>> Florian, this is a great start, thanks!    But what's the priority for  
>> the CG to deliberate? It might be:
>> 1. Get a Repository mechanism in the Process
>> 2. Get an Evergreen option of some sort in the Process
>> 3. Get a Director-free model into the Process
>> Do we try to do all this for Process 2020?  Or defer 3 until Process  
>> 2021 (when presumably there is a Board of Directors to give some  
>> Director roles to).
>> That said, my personal interest is 3 > 2 > 1.  I'd be OK with skipping  
>> Process 2020 and using the saved effort to ensure that Process 2021  
>> accomplishes them all.  Unless of course we could quickly agree on  
>> solutions for 1 and 2, but I'm not optimistic.
> One of the reasons why the W3C must change and drives so many  
> irrelevance criticisms is that the Process takes eons to change. We are  
> able, in theory and some may say in theory only, to update in a few  
> months a technical document potentially impacting a large part of the  
> world's population. But it rarely takes less than 18 months to update  
> the Process, a document impacting a few hundred organizations and  
> people. We're slow, we're so slow, we're so damn slow...
> 2021 is one tech generation away. The first discussions about this  
> necessary change happened a DECADE ago, and it's a wide consensus that  
> we can't continue with the current directorial situation.
> The target should be 2020-01-01.
> </Daniel>

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Received on Wednesday, 22 May 2019 07:59:43 UTC

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