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[csswg] using mailing list to resolve spec issues

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2012 01:42:06 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1306482206.7085081.1336725726665.JavaMail.root@mozilla.com>

I'd like to follow-up on one of the topics discussed briefly at the
Hamburg F2F.  Given the growing amount of work the group is tackling,
there was a question as to how to increase the throughput of group
decisions.  We currently rely on decisions made in either telcons or
F2F meetings while other groups at the W3C have shifted to making
decisions via some form of mailing list discussion.  David Baron
proposed doing more work via a mailing list, be it either www-style or
a public wg-only list (everyone can view, only WG members can post).

I see a couple alternatives here:

(1) Use the public www-style mailing list for simple issues.

  When an editor needs to resolve an issue, after an initial
  discussion on the www-style list, they issue some form of "call
  to decide" on that issue.  WG members would need to filter
  these and respond.  In addition to a simple yea/nea response,
  they could simply respond with "need to discuss" which would
  push the issue to a telcon/F2F discussion.

(2) Use a public WG list (publicly viewable, only WG can post)
    for simple issues.

  Same as (1) with subject-related discussions done on www-style
  but discussions related to consensus are handled on the WG
  list.  We already have a private WG list for administrivia but
  I think we should be deciding spec issues publicly.

(3) Use mailing list discussions to decide everything

  Telcons/F2F would be for discussions required to resolve
  difficult issues but most actual decisions would always be made
  via the list.

As an editor, I really like the idea of being able to make decisions
on topics that aren't necessarily controversial or require extensive
collective discussion in the group, either in a telcon or during a
F2F. Telcon time is limited and not convenient for all participants
spread around the world (for folks in Japan and Australia, the telcon
is in the wee hours).  I think there are naturally some subjects that
benefit from a telcon/F2F back and forth discussion but I think there
are often topics that simply require participants to review and
comment yea/nea on a proposal.  I can easily imagine a workflow that
allows a smooth decision making process for many simple issues.

During the discussion yesterday there seemed to be broad support for
this idea but both the chairs and Bert were strongly opposed.  I'm
wondering if we can find a process that combines the use of mailing
lists with the normal telcon/F2F discussions that doesn't suffer from
the signal-to-noise issues that the chairs seemed concerned about.


John Daggett
Mozilla Japan
Received on Friday, 11 May 2012 08:42:41 UTC

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