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Re: HTML WG - editing vs. affecting change [was: evidence of harm]

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 10:29:22 -0500
Message-ID: <4A4397D2.2050801@burningbird.net>
To: "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>
CC: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, www-archive@w3.org
Michael(tm) Smith wrote:
> "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, 2009-06-25 23:59 +0900:
>> Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>, 2009-06-25 09:40 -0500:
>> [...]
>>>  Sam Ruby:
>>>  "The issue is not the ability to edit "a specification" it is the
>>>  ability of the "working group" to effect change of the html 5
>>>  specification."
>>>  Sam, you offer the ability to edit, not effect change.
>> I strongly believe that Sam has in fact outlined a plan for
>> affecting real change, not simply the ability to edit. But this
>> week's telcon is about to start,
> oops, sorry, I got confused about the time.
>> so I'll have to finish that thought in another message.
> So here's the rest of that thought: Sam wrote the following
> paragraphs a few hours earlier. (I'm putting there here out of
> document order, but I think it does not change the meaning.)
>   If we end up with multiple competing documents at the time we
>   wish to enter Last Call, the document with the greatest amount
>   of consensus will be the one that advances.
>   If this means more specifications each purporting to be HTML 5
>   with a survival of the fittest determining which one advances,
>   I'm OK with that.  Better would be more documents with clear
>   divisions of labor.  Best would be cooperation.
> Sam has the full authority, as co-chair of the group, to put that
> plan into place and to make it happen. And speaking as the W3C
> team representative for the group, I want to say that it has my
> support -- and in principle the support of those on the team to
> who I answer -- and I have the responsibility and ability to help
> make sure it does happen, if that is how the leadership of the
> group chooses to proceed.
> I other words, Sam is indeed offering the ability (and
> opportunity) for anyone in the group to affect genuine change.
>   --Mike
The inherent problem with this approach, Mike, is that in the meantime 
text exists uncontested within the HTML 5 specification draft, being 
implemented by user agents, with the HTML WG's concurrence and outright 

Consensus should be sought _before_ text goes into the draft, not 
afterwards, when chances are any ability to effect change will be lost. 
That is, to me, a definition of a working _group_. Not the current state 
of the group, which is author and backup chorus.

Even a Formal Objection may be too late to effect change, but could, at 
least, help to highlight issues. At a minimum, a formal objection may 
help influence perceptions about authoring conformance.

Received on Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:30:13 UTC

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