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   RE: [xml-dev] W3C Culture and Aims (Was: What does SOAP really add?)

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Jonathan Robie wrote:
> My experience is similar to Ann's.
> Quite simply, small development groups are more productive than large
> groups. If you have to communicate to too many people, the
> communication overhead begins to overwhelm the energy you have to
> create. Also, in the beginning phases, you make many wrong guesses and
> stupid mistakes, and in a small, creative team, you give yourself
> permission to do so, because that's how you make progress.
> In addition, I notice that people communicate differently when they
> think they are broadcasting to the public. They may start
> grandstanding. Some people get this sudden urge to prove that they are
> right and others are wrong when they are on public list with wide
> exposure.
> From time to time, you do need to pull your ideas together in a
> coherent way and present them to the general public. In the W3C, we
> try to do this every 3 months.

We really should draw a distinction between allowing open access to
information and open *participation*. As I said in my last mail, my
experience wrt the latter is similar to yours. Small groups, preferably of
2-3 people, are the most productive and creative. Large efforts get bogged
down as you suggest. I therefore agree that efforts to keep the number of
participants to a reasonable level by creating some barriers to entry make
sense. Note that in the context of an organization like the W3C or OASIS,
this isn't that easy to do, and I would contend that XML Schema, for
example, suffered from exactly the problems that you mention (i.e. due to a
WG that was way, way too big).

At the same time, not allowing open access to information really is a
completely different story. OASIS provides open access to mailing lists in
archives (but not posting). The result is that I occasionally get a
thoughtful mail from some outside party with comments. The other result is
that people get the overall feeling that they are involved, that nothing
"untoward" is happening behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms, etc.
That's it. The tiny risk of grandstanding is far outweighed by these



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