Please top back-channels [was RE: Please proof read this wiki page]

On Tue, 24 Feb 2009, Christine Perey wrote:

> Harry wrote:
> I am also distinctly uncomfortable with all this off-list e-mailing.
> Discussios pertinent to the group should happen on-list. It is inefficient
> and not transparent to have to e-mail all of you once, and then e-mail the
> list, every time something has to get done. Therefore, unless I get a reason
> not to, I will start just e-mailing the list for all tasks.
> My reply:
> I do not propose to continue this back channel indefinitely.
> The reasons that there is this off-list mailing on the proof reading of the
> wiki page which I prepared 12 hours ago are four fold:
> 1. sometimes it is valuable to formulate sentences, statements, proposals
> for action (the agenda for a meeting, for example), in a small group and to
> get quick feedback within that "trusted" circle before pushing an ill-formed
> or poorly articulated proposal (e.g., a wiki page) to a larger and important
> group. This pre-vetting process helps us to have well articulated and clear
> statements for people to read and think about, eventually to debate or agree
> with.

This can be done on a list. The list is not that huge. This is normal 
operating procedure in every W3C group I have been part of.

> 2. sometimes even in a well-meaning dialog, or a page which one has taken
> pains to prepare to the best of their ability, there can be confusing
> statements, errors, omissions (such as the IRC information). For example,
> dropping the word "not" or assuming that everyone has the same definition
> for "minimum requirements." And there are other circumstances in which one
> (like myself) does not have sufficient experience with the W3C processes and
> procedures. In these cases, I wish to consult with experts (in "private")
> and to only push to the list those suggestions (or an agenda) or remarks
> which are best for the group's operation within the W3C guidelines.

See above.

> 3. And, minor point, but I have found that when a person composes in a rush,
> without proof reading or having a spell checker run before the e-mail is
> sent, there are many new potential points for confusion. Many (or some)
> people on this list are not native English speakers and might be unable to
> decode hastily composed messages. Of course, those may happen on a back
> channel as well.

See abovve.

> 4. Last but not least, much of this procedural stuff is vitally important to
> our goals, however, is "off topic" in the sense that people who have signed
> up for this list are interested in the topic of social networking challenges
> and the ways to address these in the future, but not necessarily how you
> build the car that will get you all the way to your objectives.

The goal of the charter is important to the entire group, especially given 
the large disagreements about the number of deliverables. Therefore, after 
I am done rehashing the questionnaire, I will no longer respond to back 
channel discussions about the charter without asking to cc them to either 
the list or

> You may not be getting feedback from your circle but I have received plenty
> of comments which clearly indicate that tolerance for the discussion of
> purely organizational issues is tiresome and (to others on the list)
> off-topic. Maybe this is because this list was started after a workshop
> which included many non-W3C participants, maybe because we are collecting
> people from other worlds. You are the experts on the W3C procedures, many do
> not seek to become experts and couldn't care less if we are one XG or two or
> many. I can understand how, for many, the decision of one Unified or two or
> more XGs is not worth their time. They would rather leave the list than to
> have their inbox filled with our debates on this topic.

We received *one* comment, which was more concerned about the lack of 
speed in getting out the charter. The nice thing about public discussions 
on W3C lists is that you can reference previous messages by URI.

You can  also do this by cc'ing, as I have done in 
response to this post.

Note that the previous charter was ready  about 6 months ago. The previous 
charter was put on hold in order to have the workshop, as  agreed at the 
W3C TPAC, even though some people wanted to launch 6 months 
ago. Given length of  current charter, I believe most AC reps and other 
people will not read it.

> I hope that this somewhat clarifies why I have opened a back channel which
> was originally entitled "please proof read this wiki page" and the ensuing
> threads began.
> By the way, that's another issue which I have (maybe it's my old age):
> threads which go right or left from the original topic or have multiple
> topics within them and a totally different subject header than the content
> in the thread are difficult for me to follow. But that was not your question
> and it is off-topic. Just one of the issues with which I struggle.

Good point, feel free to change title but put "[Re: xxx] was YYY". See 
title of this response for example.

> Christine
> mobile (Swiss): +41 79 436 68 69


 	Harry Halpin
 	Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Received on Thursday, 26 February 2009 08:13:44 UTC