Consensus and Community (W3C and xml-dev)

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Thu Sep 2 16:56:10 BST 1999

[Please tune out if you have no interest in the relationship between W3C
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At 09:52 AM 9/2/99 -0400, Ann Navarro wrote:
>I'm sorry, but this is pretty amusing. If he doesn't accept the proposal,
>the W3C is even more of a big evil empire? Does xml-dev really think that
>their (fractured) group opinion should carry more weight than anything

More weight than anything else?  Certainly not.  Some weight?  Wouldn't it
be nice to think so.  XML-dev is 'just' an open mailing list, but it does
appear to be the communications center of a large portion of the XML
community, for better or worse, and an important reference even for those
who don't participate.

While the W3C's charter doesn't suggest that it _has_ to listen to user
community opinion outside of the bounds of its paid membership, it might do
well both to listen and to make clear that it is listening - for PR, if
nothing else.  It would make it a lot harder to describe the W3C as a
closed 'evil empire' if in fact that were the case.

XML-dev has made significant contributions - or so various W3C-affiliated
folks have said repeatedly.  Pounding on XML-dev, as appears to be
happening above, seems unconstructive at best and provocative at worst.

>330+ AC reps will be voting on this. This group's voice is but just one. 

Actually, this group's voice is zero, per W3C voting rules.  Of course,
given that all power rests with the Director anyway, it seems reasonable to
question how much power those 330+ AC reps have anyway.

>> If the Director has
>>a preconceived bias on a critical issue, he can not make a fair decision.  
>And you assume this based on what? 

It seems to be a recurring theme in this discussion, though no one has
stated it explicitly - perhaps for fear of running afoul of W3C process.
The change was rather sudden, and rather large for a PR.  Rumors and
innuendo, in the absence of a public rationale, are as close to 'fact' as
we're going to get.

Don't like it?  Open the doors and say what's really going on!

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer (2nd Ed - September)
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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