Re: disinterested chairing [was Re: summary="" in HTML5]

I 100% support Sams actions here.

There is a real problem of a bad tone and distrust on the HTML mailing
list which has made me quite uncomfortable at times. In order to fix
this we need chairs to point this out and show that this is
unacceptable behavior.

If anyone suspects that someone on the list is acting out of malice or
not according to our goals (which includes ensuring that HTML is
accessible) then this problem should be raised in well formulated
emails in separate channels. Be that directly to the person himself,
to the chair, to Philippe, or even as a separate thread to the html
mailing list.

However underhanded comments in technical threads does no-one any
good. It just results in further mistrust and bad atmosphere on the

I've certainly head plenty of disagreements with Hixie. Not
specifically in the area of accessibility (since I don't have enough
experience there to have strong opinions), but for example on XBL and
on API design. However I've never found that being accusing has ever

I do agree that Hixies arguments aren't always consistent. I urge you
to instead of assuming malice, simply point out the inconsistencies
and ask what he means. In some cases I'm sure it's because of
misunderstandings. In others simply errors on either side.

But if we can't have a civil tone and assume that everyone is working
with the best intentions to the best of their abilities I don't think
we'll be able to accomplish anything. Much less something as complex
as a new version of HTML.

/ Jonas

On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 8:39 AM, Robert J Burns <> wrote:
> Hi Sam,
> On Feb 25, 2009, at 9:20 AM, Sam Ruby wrote:
>> Robert J Burns wrote:
>>> I say malicious since the continued repetition of the fallacious
>>> arguments seem directed at ensuring such information is not made available
>>> to visually and cognitively disabled users.
>> The above statement is neither productive nor acceptable.
> This is clearly taken out of context. I did not impute motives here (though
> the selective quoting certainly makes it look like that). Instead, I
> lamented the problem I have raised repeatedly that the editor continuously
> repeats the same fallacious arguments and then I posed the question why.
> Repeatedly the editor uses a limited repertoire of digs to shoot down
> legitimate arguments. Often these are done in ways that are clearly
> disingenuous such as when Ian uses one argument with one WG  member and then
> states the opposite with other WG members. For example claiming that
> @summary is not visible in one thread and then claiming in another thread
> that we cannot say anything about browser UI and the visibility of something
> like @summary
> It is equally bothersome that the editor continues to do this without any
> intervention by the chairs of the WG. These responses have been childish and
> insulting to other members of this WG (not only me). Such behavior is also
> unacceptable and not only unproductive but even counter-productive.
> On Feb 25, 2009, at 2:39 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:
>> William Loughborough wrote:
>>> By leaving out the modifying clause "however, one does wonder why the
>>> resistance to something so obviously benefitial is so *strong*." you have
>>> done David a disservice. He was clearly "wondering" about resistance and not
>>> trying to use bad manners.
>> David did himself a disservice.  If the remainder were a separate email, I
>> would have been actively trying to assist him with that effort. However, it
>> was not a separate email.  There is no point in reading past text that
>> condones the original behavior.
> Sam, I think you do yourself, the WG and the W3C a disservice by taking a
> one-sided stance like this. David did not condone anything. He merely said
> that if anything is inappropriate it can be ignored. Nothing about that
> statement condones inappropriate behavior and nothing about that statement
> justifies ignoring David's subsequent remarks. If anything David's
> suggestion of ignoring the behavior reinforces your stance.
> However, you're needlessly exhibiting defensiveness here when the WG instead
> needs you to be be a disinterested leader. Arguments that you are justified
> in ignoring David's or anyone's remarks should not come from such a
> disinterested leader. Also, while a WG chair should respond forcefully to
> unacceptable and unproductive behavior, a chair should always do so in a
> disinterested fashion and not single out one side and let others slide.
> Take care,
> Rob

Received on Thursday, 26 February 2009 18:02:44 UTC