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Re: Proposed Process Change

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 15:20:55 -0500
Message-ID: <49A5A827.4010904@w3.org>
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
CC: process-issues@w3.org, Karl Dubost <karl+w3c@la-grange.net>, www-archive@w3.org
Hi, Bijan-

Bijan Parsia wrote (on 2/25/09 9:57 AM):
> Hello,
>
> I think it could improve both the perceived and actual transparency and
> accountability of the W3C as a whole to have what I've tentatively
> called an "Audit Board". An Audit Board would be charged with
> investigating specific incidents and situations and producing a report
> and making recommendations. A key aspect would be clearly documenting
> facts to produce a common base of verifiable information that people can
> make judgments on.
>
> I would hope that such a group would help mitigate some of the heat that
> arises as people involved in a FAIL situation recount what happened,
> esp. to make a new point. It would also provide a body of knowledge that
> e.g., chairs could draw on when coping with issues that arise in WGs.
>
> There is a concern that such a group could either be a witch hunter's
> club, or be systematically unfair to certain people or positions. I
> can't really say anything against those concerns. No rule can rule out
> bad acting.
>
> Even if not a board, some sort of report repository wherein things like
> Formal Objections can be gathered and analyzed would be, imho, helpful.
> At the moment there is a sea of data at the W3C about its history, but
> you have to do difficult and dedicated research to ferret it out. Some
> of it is hidden from the public and some of it is hidden from the
> members, which makes things even trickier.

I think this is an interesting idea.  I would extend it past FAIL 
situations, and proactively have it be able to reality check events like 
contentious Last Call situations where there is a potential Distributed 
Denial of Spec attack.  There are cases where cooler heads from outside 
the fray might be able to arbitrate a reasonable position, in a public 
forum, and record why particular decisions were made.

Right now, the chair of a WG is tasked with deciding when an objection 
should be overruled; having public oversight on that strikes me as a 
good balance of power, and can call into question or justify a chair's 
decision, for the good of the W3C/Web Standards community as a whole.

Like you, I do see some risks in such an arrangement, but it's would be 
more useful to discuss them as we drill into details.

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs
Received on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 20:21:04 UTC

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