Standards and Straw Polls

David Megginson david at
Sun Sep 5 23:06:24 BST 1999

Steven R. Newcomb writes:

 > The voting idea appeals to me for several other reasons.  I find
 > these discussions in xml-dev extremely valuable, but I'm often left
 > wondering who convinced who about what, if anything.  I sometimes
 > need to know that somebody's point (which I may not have fully
 > understood) was or was not answered to that person's satisfaction.

In the XML Infoset WG, inside the Evil Empire, we have recently (and
informally) taken up the following discussion pattern:

1. Introduce a point
2. Brief statements of opinion on all sides
3. Straw poll
4. Further, detailed discussion, if warranted

Step #3 often shows so little support that the original proponent of a
point chooses to drop it, or shows so much that we don't have to waste
time on further discussion -- it's a very effective tool, especially
since a small minority (say, someone like me) can often make a
disproportionately large amount of noise.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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