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Ann Navarro wrote:
> However, the larger argument against open access or open
> read-access is
> about getting work done. With member-restricted access to
> mailing lists WG
> participants are free to argue at length (and sometimes
> vociferously), and
> then gain consensus that will be published for the public.
> While there may
> be a prurient interest in knowing how Company X argued vs. Company Y,
> having those discussions open for public view will
> undoubtedly curtail such
> discussions, or drive them into private circulation, where
> the archival
> value is lost.
This has always struck me as an extremely dubious argument. Organizations
like OASIS have open access to mailing list archives and appear none the
worse for it. In fact, in my experience this is hugely beneficial, as
outside parties really do read these archives and provide their often very
valuable input at stages when this can be productively taken into account.
At the same time, there is no bogging down of discussion since only
registered members can post. Faced with the complete lack of evidence that
the fears outlined above are actually justified, I would have expected the
W3C to take a more open stance and revise it if events prove this to be
necessary (and I will give very attractive odds if someone wants to bet that
this would be the case).
Anyway, the W3C confidentially policy extends far beyond the opening of
discussion lists. As far as I can tell, any discussion of activities with
outside parties is uniformly banned. I've never heard any even slightly
plausible justification for this. I have seen many instances of the
unfortunate and very negative effects of this policy, both on the reputation
of the W3C as a forum and on the actual technical discussions, which are
thereby deprived of a lot of useful outside input, contact with potential
early adopters, etc.
The only theory that I can come up with to explain this is a conspiracy one:
the W3C wants to maximize the incentive of parties to pay the $5,000-$50,000
membership fees. I'm not saying that this is the case, but if it were I can
certainly understand why they would be hesitant to admit it.