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RE: I will work on Delta-V

From: Jim Whitehead <ejw@ics.uci.edu>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 11:37:58 -0700
To: moore@cs.utk.edu
Cc: ietf-dav-versioning@w3.org, WebDAV WG <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>

> The purpose of a BOF is to determine whether there is sufficient
> interest in forming a working group.  When I ask for a show of
> hands of those interested in doing work, and only six people
> raise their hands, this is not a good sign.  It raises the question
> not only as to whether there are enough people to do the work,
> but also as to whether the BOF has attracted the right constituency.

One of the contributors to the low show of support at the BOF was the
perception that, since we had a successful BOF in Minneapolis where there
was significant support shown, it was not necessary to repeat this in Oslo.
Since repeated emails to you from Jim Amsden and myself between Minneapolis
and Olso for feedback on our charter were never answered, we assumed you
were simply busy, and it never crossed our minds that you needed additional
evidence, in the form of a cadre of eager workers, to be convinced.

> When a group that isn't yet chartered claims to have not only a
> design team but an already mature design, this is not a good sign.

I'm a bit confused by this -- I have been laboring under the impression that
starting a working group using a reaonably-thought out draft as a starting
point is a plus, rather than a minus.  We've been aware from day one that
the mailing list is the final arbiter of consensus on any specification we
produce, and hence this design is subject to change based on discussion on
the mailing list.  There has been no conscious effort to stifle discussion.
In fact, I welcome any and all discussion on our drafts, and I also welcome
any ideas you have on how to increase discussion and feedback.

> To me the fact that the WebDAV group did not get versioning done
> within its alloted timeframe may be an indicator either that the
> group was spread too thin, and/or that it did not have the right
> constituency to work on versioning.  Regardless, the advantage of
> a new group is that it attracts new blood, and that it allows
> the participants of a new group to make a fresh start.  That does
> not mean that prior art should be ignored or discarded, but neither
> should the leaders of the group assume a priori that it will be used.

I agree that the original WebDAV group didn't have sufficient versioning
expertise to do versioning well.  However, the participants on the Delta-V
mailing list are substantially different than those who worked on the
initial WebDAV specification.  I think the Delta-V group has a good mix of
fresh participants who bring a solid versioning and CM background, as well
as people who worked on the WebDAV Distributed Authoring Protocol, so that
some design continuity is preserved.

> I'm also concerned that people seem to assume that it's appropriate
> to do most of this group's work in design teams, and/or in face-to-face
> meetings outside of IETF.  Unless such meetings are approved in advance
> by the area directors, and the other announcement and reporting
> requirements are met, this is a process violation.  Numerous groups have
> been violating these rules, and it should be very clear that this will
> not be tolerated in the future.

These should probably be re-stated on the wg-chairs list, then.  I have been
laboring under the impression that full WG meetings outside the IETF needed
to go through this approval channel, but that smaller design meetings did
not.  I'll bet I'm not the only chair who is confused about this.

But, as for wanting to do work outside the IETF in face-to-face meetings,
this doesn't surprise me.  Versioning and CM are topics where it is
extremely helpful to be able to draw trees and graphs and point to things
and say "that's what I mean".  ASCII art on a mailing list is a really
painful alternative.  Furthermore, it's hard to get meaningful work done in
just a couple of hours in an IETF meeting.  Frankly, two days of intensive
meetings just on a particular subject are more useful in getting work done
than 1 or 2 sessions at an IETF meeting.

But, I agree we need to continue to work hard at making our process as
transparent as possible.

> I am certainly among those who believe that web document management
> will be hugely valuable, and I certainly want to see this work happen.
> All I have asked for is evidence that a sufficient number of people
> are willing to do the work (by having them send email to me and
> my co-AD),
> and that the work represents a broad constituency of those interested in
> web document management - so I can have confidence that it will be done
> in an open fashion rather than by a self-selecting group of narrower
> interests.  Considering the number of danger signs I saw in the BOF,
> I don't think this is an unreasonable request.  And I'm perfectly
> willing (eager in fact) to push the group's charter if the proper
> assurances can be provided.

I certainly believe this broad interest exists -- as you've seen, I have
been encouraging people on the Delta-V list to contact you and let you know
they're interested, and willing to work.

- Jim
Received on Tuesday, 20 July 1999 14:46:52 UTC

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