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[CSSWG] Minutes Paris F2F 2013-09-13 Fri III: Charter

From: Dael Jackson <daelcss@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 19:58:33 -0400
Message-ID: <CADhPm3uf47Fa3+s7B7=r42ehm_bowQ-tSiUyN2OYE6OgsUe3Cw@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org
  - There was discussion about how to handle timelines for specs as a
       part of the rechartering process.
  - The group also discussed possible alterations and alternatives to
       the current charter model that may better fit the process of the
  - It was decided that the chairs, plinss and glazou, would draw up a
       list of priorities from existing WG documentation and submit it
       to the WG for review and approval before inclusion in the charter


Scribe: fantasai

  <Bert> http://wiki.csswg.org/planning/charter-2013

  <dbaron> I disagree with the "what people expect to see in the
  Florian: It's easy to say as an editor that will make progress, hard
           to say it will definitely will make it to transition to next
  <dbaron> I don't think this exercise is useful.
  Bert: This was starting point for discussion
  <astearns> dbaron: do you have an alternative exercise in mind for
             preparing our charter?
  <dbaron> astearns, not listing fake deadlines for specs?

  fantasai: What are we trying to come up with to put in the charter?
  Bert: Most charter's say how long it'll take to get x to y status
  Bert: Our charter has traditionally just listed what status we expect
        to have at the end of the charter period.
  fantasai: I think we should just go with the format we used last time.

  ChrisL: I did a team-internal study on why specs were late
  ChrisL: And found out that it was largely because people were
          pressured to put deadlines of 6- months to 2 years
  ChrisL: Because of afraid the charter will be rejected
  ChrisL: If they gave the real answer.

  glazou: We have 2 AB members in the room.
  glazou: I want to say something;
  glazou: CSSWG is the oldest WG, rechartered every 2-3 years.
  glazou: I think system of chartering and rechartering is wrong for
          such a group.
  glazou: Charter's are great for group that is to do a specific thing
          and then close,
  glazou: But we don't do that, we start things that go on, and start
          more things that continue after.
  glazou: We spend a lot of time on chartering and rechartering.
  glazou: So I'm ready to take an action, this is something I'm saying
         to AB members, I want to send message to AC forum describing
         the issue,
  glazou: And asking if W3C staff would be willing to find a better

  SteveZ: 3 answers:
  SteveZ: It's already under AB agenda under title Super-groups.
  SteveZ: That is, groups with multiple work items progressing largely
          independently. Such as webapps has similar concerns.
  SteveZ: We don't have a good solution to the problem yet.
  SteveZ: The problem you just described is recognized and on the
  glazou: Do you think email describing issue can help?
  Tantek: Yes.
  SteveZ: Yes.

  SteveZ: Fly in the ointment is basically the patent policy.
  SteveZ: That's because what's on the charter is what people are
          committing to potentially make IPR commitments too.
  SteveZ: So for that reason updating charter on regular basis is not a
          bad thing, I think.
  SteveZ: It's every 2 years.
  SteveZ: Yes, takes a lot of time, but not all that frequent.
  SteveZ: But it forces us to do the evaluation, which we maybe ought to
          be doing more frequently, of are we making the progress we
          thought we'd make 2 years ago, and if not, why not.
  SteveZ: It's a useful exercise in that respect.
  SteveZ: Most companies do it every year.

  Florian: I think putting dates on things is sometimes useful.
  Florian: But if we do it for everything, even when not useful, it will
           confuse things.
  Florian: For example, if we had charter that said IE 10 will release
           by date X, and that Flexbox must be done before that, it's
           useful to say so in charter.
  Florian: Useful to say we want to put in date because the date is
  Florian: But if there's no reason for the date to be important, then
           we shouldn't put it down.

  tantek: Would it help to send an email, the short answer is yes. If
          you're ok with it, I would also ask to CC www-archive, because
          I think this is a reasonable discussion to stay public.
  tantek: On specifics of what you raised, I think you'll find as
          someone who also likes less process and less bureaucracy, I
          would agree with most of what you said.
  tantek: The act of rechartering, for CSSWG, is here are list of things
           we want to work on, with approximate priority for next N
           years. I think that's useful.
  tantek: I think that helps communicate to outside world what WG
          considers important, and gives the outside world the ability
          to communicate back if they disagree.
  tantek: So I think that's useful.
  tantek: Sometimes we may want to update that more often than just
           every 2-3 years.

  tantek: About the dates of delivery, I think evidence has shown that
           any prediction is futile; I have yet to see of them hit by
  tantek: So I will counter florian's assertion about dates
  tantek: with saying that if any editor wants to promise a date by
          which they will deliver a certain draft level, they're welcome
          to do so,
  tantek: But to ask the WG as a whole to do so, is ridiculous and
          bordering on dishonest
  tantek: Based on how none of that has ever worked.
  tantek: But if there are editors who feel confident in their ability
          to predict deadlines, go for it.
  Florian: I'm not sure we're actually disagreeing.
  <sgalineau> Was a *promise* requested? or an *estimate*? those are
              very different things
  glazou: I agree entirely.

  glazou: I'm making this discussion diverge a bit to meta-problem
  glazou I really feel we have an issue. This is 3rd time we are
  glazou: Every time it took a few months,
  glazou: Once it took 6 months,
  glazou: And it sucks up our time.
  glazou: Since AB works on that, I didn't know that.
  glazou: Maybe we could we serve an experiment?
  glazou: If you're looking for an example if we can make an example,
          could the CSSWG be that example?
  glazou: And could we write a charter that lasts a long time, and be
          amendable in a very simpler way.
  glazou: Amendable by note.
  glazou: I agree that the deliverable sections and milestones sections;
          we never meet them, they are crazy.
  glazou: The potentially expected deliverables and milestones are
  glazou: We can reach the CR status, CR and rec is in between
          implementers and writers out of tests suite and not fully in
          our hands.
  glazou: If the AB is interested, for this rechartering, in another way
          of doing a charter and managing a working group, even with the
          patents issues and everything
  glazou: I would really be glad.
  tantek: I think that's somewhat in your hands. AB is meeting soon.
  tantek: And make a proposal per email as said earlier

  ChrisL: Another thing that used to happen, the AC would worry about
          how many groups work working at one time.
  ChrisL: So they would charter group to do specific thing, and cease to
  ChrisL: Then we had idea of adding 6 months to the end to do
           maintenance work.
  ChrisL: Then we also found out later that if you closed down a WG, and
          then reopened to do second version later, you lost all the
          patent commitments.
  ChrisL: It didn't work for short WGs so much.
  ChrisL: MathWG oscillates between doing something, and then sits there
          for 2-3 years so it doesn't go away.
  ChrisL: Whether there's multiple specs or one, the assumption should
          be that to keep all of the IP commitments alive, the group
          must not close,

  SteveZ: Daniel, your comments you hit on the key point, which is
  SteveZ: of the WG.
  SteveZ: There's 2 organizations at least that care about that, one is
          W3C Team, and other is AC
  SteveZ: I agree with Tantek's comments and Florian's comments that the
          value of dates is in the short term and not the long term.
  SteveZ: But those dates were what the team was trying to use to see if
          progress is being made
  SteveZ: So any proposal to eliminate them has to come up with a way of
          indicating progress.
  glazou: Yes, I understand fully
  glazou: It's a way of simplifying things, not eliminating control

  Florian: I think I was disagreeing a lot less with Tantek than he

  florian: If we have a commitment for a date, and I expect this to be
           almost never or never happen, it's useful to state.
  florian: E.g. in Flexbox case, there was sense of time period.
  florian: If the working group is not committed to that time, then it
           works to put that date

  * sgalineau animations is only two years behind my first CR estimate

  tantek: I think time urgency should be driven by implementers
  hober: So, ChrisL described previous model of spinning up and shutting
         down groups which evolved into a hybrid of hibernating and then
         rejuvenating groups.
  hober: For core platform work, that model is fiction.
  hober: We have to be continuously working on core platform.
  hober: Steve described effort of rechartering as like annual reviews
          in a company
  hober: I think it's useful to have annual review.
  hober: However, I would like to decouple that from rechartering.
  hober: HTML, CSS, WebPapps need indefinite charters.
  hober: As mentioned, going from CR to REC is not in the WG hands
  hober: Now that we have core testing effort happening at W3C, I think
         one suggestion we can make at AB/AC is to make these CR
         transitions to be joint effort of testing efforts and that WG.
  hober: It's partially out of our hands,
  hober: Let's acknowledge that.

  plinss: Having been in core testing group, they really don't give a
          shit about advancing specs along REC track.
  plinss: The folks involved in web platform testing effort are not
          interested in advancing REC. Just interested in improving
          quality in general.
  plinss: There is a very small subset that does care about moving to
          REC. Not my experience that that has any core priority.
  plinss: "If we can do both great, but we're not going to worry about."
  plinss: That's kept me from committing to working with their
          infrastructure, because if I say "we need this to advance
          specs to rec" they say "we don't care about that."

  hober: Going from CR to REC should be joint effort, and apparently
          feedback from testing effort is not interested in that.
  hober: Unilateral option is that it still is a joint effort, and just
          make our primary goal reaching CR.

  Liam: We need to separate possible procedural changes in the future
        and the next rechartering, and to note the charter does not
        commit dates.
  Liam: Any change to W3C chartering process is not overnight, will take
        year or two. So be prepared to do current re-chartering as
  Liam: However, a common misconception among WGs, including Team
        people, is that the dates in charter are a commitment. They're
        not. They're just to document deviations in charter that will be
        documented on homepage.
  glazou: Kind of a thing in W3C Process that nobody reads/cares about
  <astearns> so we charter with 2yr dates, then we immediately document
              that those dates are meaningless.

  dbaron: I think it's worth discussing relative priorities of specs,
          and don't think it's worth discussing dates.
  dbaron: If we need to put dates, someone should just make them up.
  dbaron: I hope that it doesn't, and can just be left out.

  glazou: With regards to changing the charter process, I'm happy to
          just ask for a charter extension. If an experiment in 6 months
          is feasible, I'm willing to try that.
  glazou: Every time we recharter, has been long and painful effort.
  glazou: If there's a better way to do it, I'm willing to try

  zcorpan: Different people have different goals. Some people want to
           advance to REC, and some people want to find as many bugs in
           browsers and get them fixed.
  zcorpan_: The testcases in those two goals, have different incentives
            for writing tests
  zcorpan_: REC people look at a test and their incentive is that it not
            finds bugs because it blocks the spec.

  ChrisL: Another difference is that platform tests tend to test
          interactions among tests, whereas REC tests focus on single
          spec. There's definite need for interaction tests.
  ChrisL: We also need interaction tests within this group
  ChrisL: We're not testing that, but it's important.
  ChrisL: That could show us problems in the specs, that you could only
           see in combination of things.

  glazou: So I think we're agreed that first of our priorities in
           rechartering is defining list of priorities.
  glazou: Figure out what we want to work on. Milestone section is lower
          priority, work on list of documents first.

  florian: On the topic of tests, I think the behavior zcorpan talks
           about is something we did.
  plinss: I always describe our testing as 2-phase. Spec testing and
          conformance testing.
  plinss: There's no reason why we shouldn't build both test suites in
  Florian: If you go for one goal, you're not going for the other.
  plinss: Want to build both test suites in parallel.
  plinss: Say these are our spec tests, and these are our conformance

  tantek: I agree with prioritizing the prioritizing, in general
  tantek: But I think if something is not important to us, we should
          drop it regardless of what's required by process and charter.
  tantek: Drop sections of charter that we don't care about
  tantek: And move forward with that.
  tantek: Make that proposal, and I'll argue for that before AB.
  glazou: The history of WG has shown that we're really bad at
          estimating time for a spec, but we eventually finish it.
  glazou: So there are usually specs on the WG radar and they stay on
          radar until they're done.

  SteveZ: Requirement is expected milestones, meaning we don't expect
          any, then we don't need to record any.
  ChrisL: One reason for this scrutiny is because some groups, including
          in the past this one, have spent 10 years not producing any
  ChrisL: Since then have been producing things regularly/
  ChrisL: So we can point to that track record.
  dbaron: The group wasn't sleeping.
  ChrisL: From the outside, you couldn't tell that it was doing
  glazou: The web designers community was really mad at us, because we
          *seemed* to be doing nothing.
  ChrisL: We were doing a lot of detailed work on CSS2.1
  ChrisL: But from management POV, seemed like we weren't producing

[Break for Lunch]

  glazou: Discussion diverged a bit from original goal, but
          meta-discussion probably is over.
  glazou: We need to reach a list of priorities
  glazou: Still have option of doing what we did few years ago, asking
          vendors to send list of priorities
  fantasai: We did a poll recently, no?
  glazou: It's kind of old.
  glazou: Or we could review list of documents now.
  fantasai: I don't think it would be too bad to put together a list
            right now, based on the old data
  fantasai: Doesn't seem like there's anything controversial in the
            group right now.
  glazou: So maybe we take an action to draw up a list and ask for
          group's feedback.

  glazou: So what do we do with milestones section?
  fantasai: I suggest we follow Tantek's suggestion and leave them out.
            Replace it with pointer to current-work page.
  tantek: Since this group has gotten better at keeping a list of
          priorities for specs, maybe it's not worth group's time to
          discuss it in person.
  tantek: I would trust the chairs to take existing list, make any small
          adjustments as they see needed, and send that to group for
  tantek: It doesn't need to be discussed in a f2f. It is fairly
          uncontroversial and doubt we'll see much controversy.
  tantek: So let's move forward with that optimistically.

  glazou: Other opinions? Or +1? or -1?
  <dbaron> +1
  <florian> +1
  glazou: Ok, we'll do that.

  glazou: Related is EPUB interest group.
  Bert: I think that's less important than list of priorities.
  Bert: But we need to write something in liaison section.
  Bert: Do we want to have any closer cooperation with this group?

  glazou: Anyone from interest group that is member of this group?
  Bert: Hachete
  Bert: Peter
  Bert: Bloomberg
  Bert: Don't think anyone in room, aside from Peter

  fantasai: I think we can figure out logistics of it later, not
            necessary to put in charter.
  fantasai: Just put that we will have liaison

  ACTION plinss, glazou: List priorities in charter, submit to WG for
        review and approval, then submit to staff contact for proposed

  ACTION glazou: Email AB with regard to rechartering woes

  glazou: Ok, we still need jdaggett for Text
Received on Monday, 30 September 2013 23:59:01 UTC

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