Re: Distinctions between Payments CG, Payments Workshop, and

I'd like to offer some comments as a participant in the Web Payments
Community Group, on the various point Daniel raises. His feedback is quite
useful, and being detailed and very specific, is to be welcomed.

I write here representing only myself, an economist with a small services
firm, The Opman Company, with some professional interest in the web
payments field. As an economist I assist various micro and macro projects
in various domains, but usually in a background role. That has also been
the case with my own work over the years relating to standards under the
identity of private or public sector organizations. Elsewhere I also chair
the Open Source Initiative's Working Group on Management Education About
Free/Libre/Open Methods, Processes and Governance (newly forming as of last
month, and still just going together, web info in-the-works).

Daniel, I looked at some background on your work, and see that you're
coming from a basis of considerable experience:*a199685*s207772*

But for context, please let us know if you're writing to officially
represent the views of eBay and its wholly-owned subsidiary PayPal. Or is
your message sent here in the informal context of expressing some concerns
that you and some colleagues have?

Following are some specific comments on several points you raised.


> 1) The Payments CG is publishing sites and documents indicating they
> are developing payments standards at W3C.
> The Website says:
> "The primary output of the Web Payments Community Group are
> specifications that will be implemented by technology companies" [1]

[JRP] Good point you raise. How about if the text were revised to read:
"The primary output of the Web Payments Community Group are proposals for
specifications available under free/libre/open source licensing for
adaptation, implementation and redistribution by any technology company"


> "Some (but not all) Community Group and Business Group Specifications are
expected to serve as input to a Working Group."

[JRP]: Also a good point. I suggest that this sentence be included in the website text, directly following the sentence above.


> A lot of the verbiage on seems to be written as if
> the CG was developing specs and standards for payments, instead of
> providing a common community of fellow travelers. It also fails to
> clearly make the distinction around what CGs do and what WGs do.

[JRP]: Again, a useful point here about the importance of distinguishing
the CG versus WG status and role within the W3C structure. On the other
hand I'd suggest that the substance of what the CG participants are
providing is more than just a gaggle of "fellow travellers". The CG exists
to assemble the fellow travellers in the commons-based peer-production of a
preliminary proposal for a set of specifications and for an open standard
for web payments. As yet (correct me if I'm wrong) eBay/Paypal has not put
forward a proposal or reference implementation relating to web payments
under the W3C CLA. Has eBay/Paypal actually made a definitive decision to
not participate in this one? Or might eBay/Paypal be willing to participate
(have its staff/partners participate) if certain adjustments are made?


> Phrases such as "technology that the Web Payments group creates" could
easily lead one to believe that the CG is empowered to do more than is
actually permitted.

[JRP]: Personally, I was also not keen on the word "technology", but it
arose only last week from Manu's discussion with the W3C communications
team. FWIW my suggestion is to use the more cumbersome but precise phrases
"free/libre reference implementations" and "free/libre proof of concept


[Daniel] > 2) The site publishes a lot of 'specifications' on this page [3]
> All have been moved over recently from Payswarm's domain, and with
> one exception were written by Manu Sporny. While I appreciate Manu's
> contributions to the team, these documents seem to be an attempt to
> pre-establish the basis for future work by the (hypothetical)
> Payments WG.
[Manu] No, that is not what these documents are attempting to do. ... they
are the only specs that have been placed under the W3C CLA
license and have been developed in an open and transparent manner.

[JRP]: What's required I think is some clarification text on the site.
These documents are an attempt to draft and operationalize a
free/libre/open source proof-of-concept and reference implementation.
Hopefully there's a rationale possible under which which eBay/PayPal might
consider participating. Daniel, you say "basis for future work by the
(hypothetical) Payments WG". I'd have thought that's a normal reasonable
intent for people working on a proof-of-concept and reference
implementation? How else might it be positioned?


[Daniel]> These documents may reflect Payswarm's interests in this area, but
> they don't reflect the interests of the rest of the payments
> community, including eBay/PayPal. Under W3C's rules for CGs, these
> documents have no official status; they may be used as input to some
> future Working Group (or not). At the moment they don't represent a
> good cross-section of the community and don't follow W3C rules.
[Manu] If PayPal/eBay, or any other organization, would like to contribute
specifications (especially counter-proposals) to the group under the W3C
CLA, they'd be welcomed with open arms.

E. [JRP]: Daniel, are you able to say if eBay/Paypal are planning to put
forward any other W3C-CLA-licensed specifications and free/libre/open
reference implementation software for web-payments workflow?
   Is there anything that this community group might do to orient the
current Web Payments Community Group in a way that would include a wider
range of leaders in the web payments community, including eBay/PayPal?


> Also the site (and presumably the documents on it) are using the
> CC-BY license, where the W3C clearly specifies using the W3C-CCLA
> [6].

F: [JRP]: It appears to me that while all contributions to the W3C are
under the W3C-CLA, there's no W3C prohibition against dual licensing with
CC-BY or any other license. Since the site is not itself a
W3C site, and since the CC-BY permits re-licensing by default (i.e. it's
not CC-BY-SA), there seem to be no licensing conflict. On the other hand
clarity and understanding on these matters is important. I'll be happy to
assist in drafting a sentence or two that clarifies the dual licensing of
any works to which it applies.

Meanwhile, it's useful to reiterate to anyone that the first paragraph of
the CLA says any "code created by the Project is not subject to this CLA,
but rather subject to separate licensing terms for that source code".


> 3) There's a lot of normative language on the site that doesn't
> belong there.
> "The Web can help us heal our ailing financial infrastructure and
> create a more equitable future for all of us."
This sort of normative language does not belong in W3C documents. Is it
W3C's position that our "financial infrastructure" is "ailing"? I don't
think so, though some members undoubtedly do.

G. [JRP] First, let's be clear about whether or not the
web-payments.orgsite is speaking for W3C. Daniel, as you emphasized at
the beginning of
your message, it does not. It is a collectively authored work of an open
community group collaborating under the auspices of the W3C. But it doen't
purport to speak for the W3C any more than, say, a wiki page purports to
speak for the Wikimedia Foundation. So from a strict point of view, there's
no implication that all the content on the site needs to represent the
"views of the W3C". And as Manu mentioned, just recently he discussed all
the content of this new website with a communications person of W3C, and
some adjustments were made. What remains on the site is, so far as reviewed
for now, okay by them, though probably not to say "approved by" W3C.
   Having said that, and while understanding also that "marketing-speak"
does have its role, I'm going to support Daniel's inclinations on the
normative language matter. A fix to the language excerpts cited doesn't
necessarily require major changes, for example, one can say with
neutrality: "Today the Web plays a key role in achieving a resilient
financial infrastructure and creating a more equitable future for
everyone",... and "the goal is to make it as easy and fast to send money
around the world as it is to send an email". One can tweak those a bit more
of course.


> 4) The Paris workshop is not directly related to the Payments CG.

[JRP] Yes, agree that the role of the CG in relation to the Paris workshop
should be clarified. Especially because it's important that the CG not be
perceived as an organization. That's to say, it's neither representing a
Web Payments Foundation, nor a Web Payments Industry Association. It does
formulate some consensus amongst self-selected participants, and I've seen
that Manu make a great deal of proactive effort to solicit views and
reviews and to accommodate suggestions and contributions.


> This needs to be emphasized again. Companies with significant IP in this
space may not be members of the CG due to IPR restrictions. ... PayPal is a
good example - it's unlikely that we would ever join the CG for this

Daniel, More information on this would be appreciated.
   Companies involved in both restrictive technology and open standards;
and in restricted software and free/libre/open software projects have a
"membrane" to manage in terms of ensuring their restricted work is not
accidentally placed by their own staff into open view or under open
standards, or under free/libre/open source licenses. But this is not a
reason for eBay/PayPal to not participate in a CG like this one on Web
Payments. It just requires an efficient and effective clearing protocol
(i.e. the membrane) within the company's information management policies.
Admittedly, not simple to maintain in terms of operational rigor amongst
   On another intellectual rights matter, I wonder if eBay/PayPal might
find it useful to model its approach in this area upon that of the
OpenInventionNetwork especially given
the tenuous position of computational idea monopolies at this time in the


> We'll be at the Workshop however, since it is not
> bound by the IPR rules. Let's clearly separate these two things and
> keep them separate. The Payments CG members are certainly welcome at
> the Workshop, just like everybody else, and on exactly the same
> basis.

[JRP] However the Web Payments CG is not a single entity as a company would
be. It is just a forum for communication and collaboration involving
various entities and individuals attempting to consolidate some ideas into
shared statements and source code.  It's important to not conflate "shared
intellectual works" with "single entity".


> 5) The entire site is far too broadly posed ... The CG should simply note
> its dependencies on the work of others in these areas, and possibly
> identify requirements for these other groups to take into
> consideration in their own work.

[JRP] I agree with the second sentence especially, and was saying something
similar on yesterday's conference call: "It just might be useful to point
and say "our approach to XYZ comes from there""


> I'd like to suggest that this site be removed from public view until
> it can be revised in a way that represents both the spirit and the
> letter of the W3C's mission and the CG's charter. I'd be a lot more
> comfortable if it was hosted by W3C as well.

[JRP] Daniel, I'm wondering if the implication in what you've said is that
eBay/PayPal might be prepared to participate directly in this CG if the
language were tweaked and the whole activity were hosted within the W3C
site so that is becomes directly subject to the review of W3C's
communications policies.
   Manu, I don't see Daniel's suggestion as aggressive. He's just
suggesting that the site in it's current state should be considered
"pre-launch" because (a) the topic is very important; and (b) the text on
the site could benefit from some further wordsmithing.
   Perhaps a compromise is to put a disclaimer on the right-hand side of
the top navigator bar that says something like: "This website is new and
its content remains under active revision. Its contents should not be taken
as representing the view or position of the W3C. To suggest improvements,
please contact..."

Joseph Potvin
Operations Manager | Gestionnaire des opérations
The Opman Company | La compagnie Opman
Mobile: 819-593-5983
LinkedIn (Google short URL):

Received on Thursday, 9 January 2014 17:41:09 UTC