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   Re: XPointer's sleeping ???

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  • From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 07:21:52 -0800

At 02:47 PM 11/18/98 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>If I could open the W3C process, or start a new parallel open process, I
>would.  Since neither of those things is possible (the W3C won't likely
>open its doors ...

There is some reasoning behind the rather-less-open
W3c process.  After the IETF HTML process went off the rails, some
people who were there (I wasn't) felt that one of the reasons was
that open processes in areas where there are all sorts of billion-dollar
bets on the table are highly fragile in the face of attack-trained
marketing departments.  The great virtue of the W3C process is that
the marketeers are more or less muzzled until consensus has been
achieved.  Which is pretty important.  In fact, engineers from
companies who are mortal enemies can demonstrably carve out 
mutually beneficial progress if they are allowed to do so out
of the marketing spotlight.

If someone came forward with a proposal that made the W3C process
more transparent while keeping the debate, as much as possible, on
technical grounds, that would be a clear step forward and I suspect
would be welcomed by everyone. 

At a deeper level, there is also a really tough issue at work here.
Simply put, smaller committees can get *way* more work done than can
larger ones.   On the other hand, such groups are by definition
much less open/democratic than larger ones.  So we have two virtues,
get-some-standards-built-quick vs make-sure-we-get-all-the-input,
which are in direct competition with each other.  Not an
easy nut to crack. -Tim

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