W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > September 2015

Re: Barrier of entry to participation

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2015 15:47:06 -0700
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDCEmZJrHDTuz4LyO_jGAf8BzRP-R4V91BJ8=QQ+7XbyWA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dan Dascalescu <ddascalescu+w3@gmail.com>
Cc: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
On Sun, Aug 30, 2015 at 9:56 PM, Dan Dascalescu
<ddascalescu+w3@gmail.com> wrote:
> I've just submitted my first feedback to www-style, and wanted to bring up
> the issue of how non-trivial it was. Here was my workflow:
> 1. Read the draft I was interested in and identify an issue I wanted to
> offer feedback on.
> 2. Search for "issue" in the draft. Found Github. Great.
> 3. Go to GitHub - turns out there are only pull requests there.
> 4. Back to the draft, I see that feedback should be sent to an email
> address, www-style@w3.org.
> 5. Send email there - it's a mailing list, so my email wasn't approved (OK,
> I'm not that naive to send feedback directly to a mailing list without
> subscribing first, but this is a legitimate step that someone who wasn't
> born in the Listserv era might take)
> 6. Try to subscribe to the mailing list by clicking the "archives" link.
> 7. On the Archives page, there is a "subscribed" link.
> 8. The "Managing mailing list subscriptions" page doesn't list the "style"
> mailing list. No problem, I infer it from the examples.
> 9. Send an email to www-style-request@w3.org.
> 10. Wait two minutes for a reply.
> 11. Reply to that and wait for the confirmation message.
> 12. Finally email my feedback.
> 13. Get an automated reply asking me to release my email address to the
> public, with the risk of it being harvested by spammers.
> 14. Take the risk and give permission to archive mail.
> 15. The next page notifies me that my message might be delayed for up to two
> business days.
> Is all of this really necessary? Since the contribution process is managed
> on GitHub, why not use GitHub issues for feedback? That would solve the spam
> problem as well (spam is virtually nonexistent on GitHub), and if there is a
> need to archive messages somewhere under w3c's control, the GitHub issue
> notification emails could be forwarded onto the mailing list, as primitive
> as a mailing list is as a discussion forum, compared to modern alternatives
> such as a Discourse instance.
> 16. Since I must be subscribed to send my feedback, I started to receive all
> the traffic to www-style.

Yup, this is definitely all terrible.  The Houdini Task Force (an
offshoot of the CSSWG for dealing with CSS extensibility) resolved
last week to move to GitHub Issues for all of their issues.  (See
for the announcement, which includes reasoning for why mailing lists

Assuming this experiment goes well, I expect the CSSWG to make a
similar move sometime in 2016.  The only real point of contention will
be whether to use a single repository for all specs (as we do
currently) or individual repos for each spec.

Received on Wednesday, 2 September 2015 22:47:53 UTC

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