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Re: A proposal for revising the rules on TAG Participation

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:08:01 -0400
Message-ID: <53C14F51.4040302@arcanedomain.com>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>, Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
CC: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>

On 7/12/2014 12:50 AM, David Booth wrote:
>
> No matter how well-meaning one is, it simply is not possible to maintain
> neutrality (or the appearance thereof) when one's food and mortgage are
> paid by one's employer.

David, I think you go too far there. Though I'm sure it's unintentional, 
this is really a slight to many people who on various W3C committees have 
done just that, or at least come very close. More enlightened employers and 
employees understand that, at least for some companies, promoting the long 
term health of the Web has more business value than advantaging some 
particular corporate product or feature. In such cases, the feeling of 
conflict goes way down.

Furthermore, and I suspect at the core of Marcos' concerns: even 
enlightened and well-intentioned bureaucracies tend to more easily 
recognize the value of, and plan for, formally committed employee 
activities. Joining a committee gives an organization a one-time chance to 
ask the questions: is this what we want (e.g. Marcos) to do? Are we 
committed to supporting (him) with travel money and work time? When that 
same employee is making that same contribution more informally, the 
organization has a less clear opportunity to buy into that commitment. I 
saw this at IBM all the time, and indeed I see it now: when I was 
officially chair of the TAG, Tufts University (my current employer) easily 
understood my contribution. If I tell them I participate in discussions 
like this to continue to help the W3C they tend to ask "but what are you 
really doing?".

In short, there are good and understandable reasons why contributing to the 
TAG informally can be harder than formally participating as a TAG member.

Noah
Received on Saturday, 12 July 2014 15:08:24 UTC

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