Re: W3C's 'Moral Majesty'
From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@s...> >The article's perspective is interestingly different from that on XML-dev, >though some of the same issues arrive. It's definitely the view from the >Fortune 500, not from 'independents', but there still seem to be similar >pluses and minuses. All standards processes are subject to the same constraints that face-to-face meetings require travel, which requires money. Indeed, this fact makes W3C into largely a rich Westerners' club; there seems almost no participation from non-residents of Western countries (except Japan, which is rich). When people complain that standards processes disenfranchise them, they usually mean that their immediate neighbours are franchised and they are not. However, the facts of geography mean that a standards process that relies on unsubsidised face-to-face meetings is intrinsically discriminatory. There are four approaches: * "that is the way of the word": it cannot be helped; * positive discrimination, e.g. subsidies; * reduce the reliance on face-to-face meetings; * universal enfranchisement. I think there is no clear best solution; indeed to be frank, I cannot see the superiority of W3C opening its doors to allow non-member voting if in fact all those members are just more rich Americans: the groupthink may only increase. Complex standards and standards which do not allow alternative technologies (the bazaar) reduce the chance that non-Western or poor W3C members can contribute viable and well-formed technology to W3C. Of course, there are other big blocks, notably the reliance on text rather than diagrams in W3C specifications, and indeed the fact that English is the only language. Some complaints about W3C "standards"-making processes are based on the naive idea that standards-making can ever be fair, given the tyranny of distance and the Tower of Babelon. To an extent, there will always be a political aspect where the weak lobby to appeal to the liberality or self-interest of the strong to give them a voice. Rick Jelliffe "The very thing that makes you rich, makes you poor." Ry Cooder song. xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@i... Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/ and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1 To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo@i... the following message; (un)subscribe xml-dev To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo@i... the following message; subscribe xml-dev-digest List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa@i...)
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