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Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

bryan rasmussen wrote:
> well come on, if the process is being gamed in an unethical manner do
> you think that the ethical obligations of an oath will deter this?
> People who could conceivably be taking a bribe to affirm a standard
> will say, hey I was all ready to take a bribe but not now when they
> want me to take an oath that everything is ethical!

Yes, I do. For one thing, in at least the U.S. and possibly other 
jurisdictions, what I propose is a legal concept that can lead to civil 
damages and perjury charges.

More importantly, at least some people actually take such statements 
seriously and are hesitant to affirm blatant falsehoods. Engineers and 
scientists in particular find it very hard to flat out lie or even 
dissemble in situations like this. With very few exceptions, I tend to 
believe that even engineers with whom I vehemently disagree are indeed 
stating their views as they honestly believe them. I think these types 
of people would indeed be deterred from rubber stamping specs by such a 
commitment, even a non-legally binding one.

Now if it were PR folks or salespeople who were joining the standards 
processes, then I suspect they would probably just go ahead and lie 
through their teeth without a second thought.

We can certainly play with the details. For example, there might need to 
be a way to challenge a specific vote on the grounds that the spec was 
not understood. For example, if an English major with no prior 
experience in the field joined a working group discussing wavelet 
compression standards and voted within the first 24 hours of their 
membership, I suspect a reasonable appeals committee should nullify 
their vote.

However I think the basic idea of requiring all voters on a standard to 
affirm that they have read and understood the spec they are voting on is 

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo@metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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