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   Re: [xml-dev] critique: Outsider's Guide to the W3C

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On 10 Jan 2003 at 12:37, Jonathan Robie wrote:

> At 09:34 AM 1/10/2003 -0800, Tim Bray wrote:
> >Jonathan Robie wrote:
> >
> >>It might be worth mentioning that the reason for labeling a WD as Last 
> >>Call is that we really want people to look it over for any show-stopping 
> >>problems. Also, it is worth noting that the last call review period is 
> >>generally three weeks, so people should be aware that there is not a lot 
> >>of time to review these documents.
> >
> >The realities are that most people ignore most working drafts most times, 
> >just because they're too busy.  So what Last Call really means is "we know 
> >you've been ignoring us, so really do take a look at this." One effect is 
> >that the name "last call" occasionally misleads WG members into thinking 
> >that they're almost finished, whereas in reality a lot of show-stopping 
> >objections will raise their heads for the first time at this stage.  -Tim
> Right. In fact, a Working Group may move a document to Last Call just to 
> force feedback, even though we know there is more work to do.

I hope not! The reason for Last Call is for the WG to say "we think 
we're finished"; claiming to reach that stage too early would cause 
other WGs to ignore the first Last Call and wait for the second, 
third, ...

There are usually different categories of WGs that need to review a 
particular spec. Some WGs are really close (XSL and XLink on XPath, 
for example), and need to be aware of what each other is doing 
throughout the process and to be reviewing specs regularly. The other 
WGs, which aren't as closely affected, can in general afford to wait 
until Last Call to review closely what the WG claims is finished. 
(And some WGs may not need to ever review the spec). Changes made 
after Last Call should not be substantial, although they may take a 
long time (80-20 rule) and it does happen that what looks like a 
small change wrecks everything. 

The trick is figuring out which WG fits into which category, of 
course, which is one reason the W3C runs the large technical plenary 
meetings, encouraging all the technical WGs to meet once a year in 
the same location in the same week. This gives people a chance to 
figure out if there's more overlap than they first thought...




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