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Re: A proposal for revising the rules on TAG Participation

From: Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:04:57 -0700
Message-ID: <CANr5HFW0U+YW1u1GLXGNi_0c+9=mZs+-e+iY3S6u-4bAk8n2_A@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Cc: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>, Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>, Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 8:18 PM, David Booth <david@dbooth.org> wrote:

> Now I'm sorry that I didn't respond to this sooner . . .
> On 07/12/2014 11:08 AM, Noah Mendelsohn wrote:
>> 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.
> Goodness, no such slight was intended!  I'm sorry my comments sounded like
> any sort of slight to those who have done such great work with such
> dedication and integrity.  My comments were simply intended to remind us of
> the inherent dangers of making such a rule change -- dangers that are not
> eliminated regardless of the dedication and integrity of the individuals
> involved.

No, but they're *directly related* to those qualities and the results of
their interactions with other personal incentives that are being discussed

Which brings me back to evidence and actual harm.

The TAG doesn't control other WGs. It's a talking shop; we can't make
demands. Any influence comes from building consensus in collaboration with
WGs that do the actual work of standards development. The only legitimacy
it has comes through talking sense and through a history of productive,
practical collaboration. WGs are free to ignore us (and frequently do). TAG
members who are pushing a corporate agenda aren't likely to get
*anything *done.
The largest risk is that they'll be able to reduce the rate of change
through a process...but that's a risk that W3C process already has in

So let me try to ask this a different way: what risk do you think TAG
member employment has that WG member employment doesn't since it's WG's
where the actual rubber meets the road?

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 Wednesday, 16 July 2014 04:05:55 UTC

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