WOWG: Consensus, subgroups, and e-mail tags

Yesterday we agreed with the chairs' proposal [1] to form focus groups.

 - Subgroup 1. Language features
 - Subgroup 2. Implementation and test suite
 - Subgroup 3. Semantics
 - Subgroup 4. Guidelines

I was actioned to write this message concerning how consensus can form in
both the focus groups and the wider groups.

I also suggest tags for the e-mail subject lines.

I think that each focus group should send all its e-mail through the main
list, clearly tagged as belonging to that focus group.

The expectation is that only those working group members who are involved in
that focus area will read such messages. After a focus subgroup has reached
a consensus amongst themselves they will need to ensure that the rest of the
working group shares that consensus. This can be done, in the first
instance, by sending e-mail tagged for the whole group, which summarizes:

+ the issue,
+ the choice space,
+ the subgroup opinion,
+ the reasons for that opinion
+ and points to the thread(s) of discussion

as needed we can then have time in the main telecon to discuss the issue

The idea is that having formed consensus in the subgroup, it is likely that
the rest of the working group will agree if the case can be clearly
presented. However, that agreement must not be taken for granted, and full
group consensus is needed.

The same process may be needed in some instances in which a subgroup fails
to agree and needs input from other members of the wider group to consider
their issue in context.
In such cases, it is likely that the thread(s) of discussion have been
heated, and a clear summary that neutrally states the issue and the choice
space is more important.
It is also helpful if the combatants can agree the pros and cons of each
solution, so that the disagreement is reduced to what all sides agree is
merely a value judgement.

I suggest the following e-mail tags:

WOWG  (whole group)

and continued use of the ADMIN tag.

Part of this proposal is that messages to WOWG should be fairly well thought
through, since with 50 readers and one writer it is better for the writer to
spend time, rather than fifty readers. Messages to the subgroups, with only
a few readers, can be much more slapdash, and still be a cost effective use
of time.

The tags could be reduced to their first letter if people prefer.

I am not convinced this will work completely as planned, but I suggest we
give it a go.

Other tags could also be used, like JOKE or MISC with the expectation that
noone will necessarily read it.


[1] ADMIN: agenda/logistics Feb 28 telecon

Received on Friday, 1 March 2002 11:44:40 UTC