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More of a statement for the 2014 AB election

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 06 May 2014 14:02:02 -0700
Cc: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Message-id: <5F2F0F55-3A8A-4B73-9A47-C47C686A6527@apple.com>
To: w3c-ac-forum <w3c-ac-forum@w3.org>
(bcc’d to www-archive, FYI)


(since the nomination statement I supplied was perhaps rather brief, I thought I'd follow up with a little more. But in the spirit of the times, I won’t be sending individual 'campaign’ emails.)

I am one of those odd ducks that think that good governance is important, and can even be fun. I like to include people, make sure that positions are heard (and — when possible — respected). Those of you in the privacy area will know that the Do-Not-Track group has tested my resolve on this (strenuously, on occasion) and I think it remains intact!

We have two ‘steering’ committees at the W3C: the TAG and the AB.  Quoting a little to set context:

AB: "Created in March 1998, the Advisory Board provides ongoing guidance to the Team on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution. The Advisory Board also serves the Members by tracking issues raised between Advisory Committee meetings, soliciting Member comments on such issues, and proposing actions to resolve these issues. The Advisory Board manages the evolution of the Process Document. The Advisory Board hears appeals of Member Submission requests that are rejected for reasons unrelated to Web architecture; see also the TAG.” (see <http://www.w3.org/2002/ab/>, quoting the process document).

TAG: "The TAG is a special working group within the W3C, chartered (under the W3C Process Document) with stewardship of the Web architecture.
As outlined in our charter, there are three aspects to this mission:
	• to document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary;
	• to resolve issues involving general Web architecture brought to the TAG;
	• to help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C.” (see <http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/>).

As I see it, for the most part, the two are distinct — TAG is about architecture, AB is about governance.  Until we get to talk about strategy or relevance, they mostly work separately.

The W3C is also an ‘odd duck’, in many respects.  We often try to merge the good aspects of modern ‘agile’ processes, open/collaborative development, and community-based approaches, with the good aspects of the more traditional ‘standards committee’ approach. Where the optimum balance lies is a question of tuning and watchfulness, and changes over time.

I like finding solutions that are not only 'right' but can be seen to have the desired effect: I am a pragmatist. I think that process, to a large extent, protects us from the unexpected and serves the unseen. We need process not when things are going well and we are in peachy consensus, but when we have problems. The process gives us a meta-language for making progress in the face of problems. Process also is there to serve the people not at the table: can they follow what’s going on, rely on it, and so on? Making process work for all the people — both inside and outside it — and for all the situations, is an art, and worthy of study and thought.

I also like reducing the temperature, finding light rather than heat, and being ‘diplomatic’.  I think we need people at the AB who can help reach out, and bring in, and help reduce alienation.

OK, so you need the usual boilerplate (which has, as they say, the advantage of being true):  I would be honored to serve on the AB.

* * * *

A bit about myself:  I have worked in the contexts of a wide variety of 'standards bodies' -- not only the W3C, but also MPEG, trade associations such as Blu-ray (I was on the board) and 3GPP, technology-focused associations such as the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (I was board chair for a while), and others. This experience has taught me that there is no 'right' model or way, and that a lack of introspection – and resulting stasis – are bad for any association.  I believe (passionately) in open, level, playing fields with the lowest possible 'cost' of entry: it is good for society, and good for innovation. 

I spend enough time with marketing people, lawyers, and so on, to be aware of their concerns and perspectives, as well as those of engineers. I enjoy working with the staff and AC representatives (and indeed, the whole W3C community).  I am aware that I bring not only my own opinions and those of my colleagues, but the experience and insights I glean from all of you, and a perspective that we are building something for society as a whole — everyone — that, if we continue to do it right, will be powerfully enabling and transformative. 

I hope if you have questions for me, or hopes, or concerns, you'll feel free to contact me. Email is a good place to start, but I'd also be happy to chat over the phone, or make contact in any reasonable way you like.

David Singer
Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Tuesday, 6 May 2014 21:02:32 UTC

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