Re: The Standards Manifesto

At 11:07 AM 5/22/02 -0500, Aaron Swartz wrote:
>W3C-style standards bodies clearly aren't working anymore. Perhaps they 
>made sense in the old days of the browser wars, but we're no longer 
>getting innovation from Working Groups who have so many members that they 
>have to form subgroups to decide what they're going to do about deciding 
>what they're going to do.

While I have some sympathy for your frustrations, I think this paragraph 
maybe misplaces the role of working groups.  The job of a working group is 
primarily to produce a specification, not to innovate.  The most successful 
working groups start out knowing pretty much all of the technical details, 
and simply get them down in a concise, understandable form, and thoroughly 
review the result.

If there's a problem with W3C process, I think it is that too much 
innovation is done in working groups, rather than in separate research 
activities.  For example, it's not for the joy of organizational complexity 
that the Internet architecture is developed in parallel by the IETF and 
IRTF.  (Not that the IETF doesn't sometimes suffer from the same problem.)

(I note that the rest of your message seems to support this view, so maybe 
I'm overreacting to a single word here.)


Graham Klyne

Received on Wednesday, 22 May 2002 18:40:12 UTC