W3C Process - suggestions

Reynolds, Gregg greynolds at datalogics.com
Wed Sep 15 17:18:10 BST 1999

Here's a few ideas for specific things the W3C could do to improve
communication with the outside world.  I'm rather pressed for time these
days, so I don't have time to write up a formal proposal, but maybe somebody
on the list will pursue something like it.

	- Add an "Issues List" or the like as an official required work
product, along with a required publishing schedule of, say, every two weeks.
To accurately record the topics of discussion at the least, with WGs free to
include debating points, comments, etc. as they see fit.

	- Provide a required format for said issues list, designed to
facilitate clarity and communication by including such things as a numbering
scheme, an annotation mechanism, a means of identifying and referencing
revisions/annotations/comments/etc, a means of relating items on the issues
list and parts of a working draft; etc.

	- Provide administrative support for the production of such work
products; that is, people whose job it is to see to administrative issues
like just editing the Issues List, putting it in the required form, putting
it up on the required web page, publicizing its release, etc.  Where the
WG's wishes are contrary to the required publication schedule, such
administrative staff should be empowered to publish anyway.

There are probably lots of other concrete steps the W3C could take to
improve communication, but those three strike me as reasonable for a start.
Confidential discussions are still protected, for those members that feel it
important, but the public feedback loop would be improved considerably, and
WGs would be held more strictly accountable to a publishing schedule.

I think such mechanisms might have prevented some of the unhappiness we now
see w/r/t XHTML, or at least reduced the surprise factor.  Unfortunately,
the last item, administrative support, is the most important and the least
likely to be adopted, since it involves real money and makes the WGs a
little less autonomous.

Surely somebody on xml-dev could come up with an issues-list dtd or the

(I guess I should say I haven't been able to follow the list closely for
some time, so if somebody already made these suggestions, uh, please pretend
that they didn't.)

Gregg Reynolds
these are my personal opinions only, and do not reflect the views of etc.
(you know the drill).

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