W3C's 'Moral Majesty'

David Megginson david at megginson.com
Sat Sep 11 15:11:50 BST 1999

Rick Jelliffe writes:

 > There are four approaches:
 >     * "that is the way of the word": it cannot be helped;
 >     * positive discrimination, e.g. subsidies;
 >     * reduce the reliance on face-to-face meetings;
 >     * universal enfranchisement.

The third is by far the best solution.  Face-to-face meetings are
generally more useful for working out political problems than they are
for technical problems, precisely they tend to make it even easier for
a minority of fast-thinkers and loud talkers (like me) to dominate the
discussion: often the best ideas come from quiet, thoughtful people
who need to mull over a new idea for a couple of hours (or days)
before stating an opinion.

Business and technical people used to need a lot of face-to-face
contact, but there is a new generation (the under 45's) that's very
comfortable with e-mail and telecommuting, and e-mail is a great
equalizer -- you can pick up mail for a whole group of people just by
setting up an old 286 to dial a local ISP once a day (of course, many
people in the world don't have electricity or phone, much less an old
286, but at least the circle is a little wider).

As a case in point, SAX 1.0 was designed and implemented on XML-Dev in
a few weeks without a single F2F meeting.

 > Of course, there are other big blocks, notably the reliance on text
 > rather than diagrams in W3C specifications, and indeed the fact that
 > English is the only language.

The reliance on text is important for accessibility -- both
visually-impaired people can have text read to them by software, while 
hearing-impaired people can read it; diagrams don't work as nicely.

The reliance on English is more of a problem.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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