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   Re: Open standards processes

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  • From: Paul Prescod <papresco@technologist.com>
  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Sat, 02 May 1998 00:39:50 -0400

Lauren Wood wrote:
> At 14:31 01/05/98 -0400, Paul Prescod wrote:
> >So the XML effort had three levels: "Voting members", "Influential
> >non-voting experts" and "XML-DEV" and the DOM effort has essentially two
> >levels "voting members" and "non-influential, non-voting experts" and you
> >see that as more open? How so?
> I don't think equating lack of voting rights and lack of influence is fair
> in terms
> of the DOM work.

I didn't mean to equate lack of voting rights and lack of influence. In
the XML effort there were people (like me) that had no voting rights but
could still influence things sometimes. It isn't clear to me the extent
that the DOM is the same, because I haven't tried to influence the DOM and
haven't been watching the conversations clearly. 

I will say that in several months of watching the list I haven't seen any
heated debates similar to those we had in the XML group. My *guess* is
that these heated (and important) debates are taking place elsewhere. That
impression is further supported by the fact that I often see
questions/answers on the DOM list of the form: 

"Feature X seems strange to me."

"Yes, we thought about that quite a bit and argued about it. Do you think
we did the right thing?"

which strikes me as nearly the opposite of the XML-SIG version:

"We've got this hard problem to solve. We've got this group of smart
people assembled. WHAT DO YOU THINK? We'll make a decision after hearing
all of your opinions."

Casting an opinion on an issue that was debated two months ago is *not*
the same as participating in the debate. 

Paul Grosso said that the XML-SIG way was a procedural nightmare. In my
experience, all forms of democracy, even limited ones, are procedural
nightmares. But as Len Bullard once told me: "Chaos is the engine." I
can't prove that the XML spec. is better because I could participate in
ways that I cannot with the DOM and XSL (so far). But I know that it is
the fact that some of my suggestions were taken seriously and even adopted
in times of heated discussions that would never have come about at all
under the DOM/XSL processes. Even given read-only access to the main
conversational mailing lists (and meeting minutes), outsiders could
influence the process through private email in support of or rebuttal to
 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

"Perpetually obsolescing and thus losing all data and programs every 10
years (the current pattern) is no way to run an information economy or
a civilization." - Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog

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