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Sillier and sillier (Was: XML-dev futures discussion)


sillier and sillier
Tim,

I have tried to confine the opinionated part of this post to the subject line alone.

As objectively as I can I want to point out some of the deficiencies of the process you suggest in your recent post. I will snip fairly extensively but try to fairly reflect your points (warts and all).

I would suggest that you review these comments and consider whether you wish to produce a better thought out set of options for discussion by the list. I would also ask you to consider the timing of any future consideration of this issue.

In a message dated 15/03/2003 06:49:42 GMT Standard Time, tbray@t... writes:


If Mike Fitzgerald wants to set up a five-way voting booth, that's fine,
but there are all sorts of problems with vote-tracking-by-IP and frankly
I personally will pay more attention to who says what here in a posting
to the list.


The possible deficiencies of vote-tracking-by-IP are fairly evident. What reasons are there to believe that the "method" (not fully expressed) that you propose is any less deficient?

The vote-tracking-by-IP is objective even if flawed. Is the process you propose objective?

BTW if we are to go down the vote-tracking-by-IP route I think the list should be given the opportunity to comment on the options offered to ensure that they are logically structured.

Process: what I propose to do is to watch the traffic for a few days,
then canvass the opinion of a few of the most active users of the list;
stats on this are available.


So we are to have a situation where some votes are to be given more weight than others. Can you explain why? Did the list decide this?

In the country I live in the "those who shout loud and are powerful" process is now thought to be a little backward <aside>although current political events raise some questions about that assumption</aside>.

>  If there's rough consensus

How does one evaluate a "rough consensus"? Does someone being really upset and shouting loudly outweigh 10 simple votes? Or 20? Or what? Or if someone is really upset, shouting loudly and is really important is that worth 100 ordinary votes?

If the (self-appointed?) person appraising the "rough consensus" has a personal strongly held view might that not tend to produce some bias in the appraisal?

The discipline of qualitative research by survey, which your present proposal resembles, is well known to be subject to interpreter bias.

As I mentioned earlier, vote-tracking-by-IP at least is objective despite its other flaws.

among these

activists and a clearly-perceptible majority trend of all the people
posting on the subject,


Um .... so each person on the list (of unknown size) must take up bandwidth to be heard at all. If we have 1,000 people on the list they *all* have to email the list to register their view??  It seems to me that that suggestion is inadequately thought through.

This seems a highly, inefficient use of time/bandwidth. Given the poorly structured options offered the results may well be uninterpretable.

What if some/many on the list take the "There is no point in voting ... resembling the UN Security Council in this?? .... Tim is going to push this through anyway?

Why not organise a better structured poll with better expressed and more logical options?

> and they agree, then it's easy.

With the present flawed methodology I beg to differ.

  Otherwise the

default action I suspect is to do nothing.


Quite possibly.

- if you want to expand at length that's fine but please try to get the
meat of your comment in the first couple of screens-full.

There are two issues we need to discuss here.


With respect there is at least one other issue which is whether or not these options are well structured or not.

It would also be very useful to have statistics of how often the problems occur with this list. My experience, as I have said before, is 99% or so uptime.

A. Move the list, yes or no?  I think reasonable opinions are

A.1 I'm against moving it anywhere
A.2 Yes, please move it
A.3 I don't care, I'll go with the majority
A.4 My opinion depends on where it might go


None of these reflects my view. If we are to pursue a better thought out version of this process I would like to suggest additional options at a later time.

Can you explain this notion of "majority" in A.3? Is this "majority" a volume-weighted, activist-weighted "rough consensus"? Or something else?

Can option A.4 be combined with earlier options? Or are all four options mutually exclusive?

The most frequently chosen option (judging by past similar scenarios) is
A.5 I don't care, but it works for me

A.5 may be expressed as not voting. But if we don't know how many are on the list how can we evaluate the seeming abstentions?

B. If moving the list, where?

These are listed in the chronological order I became aware of them.

B.1 Move xml-dev to ibiblio.org
B.2 Move xml-dev to Betty Harvey's ISP
B.3 Move xml-dev to the W3C
B.4 Move xml-dev to DISA


Is this a descriptive list or a voting slate from which, for example, one has to choose one? How does one vote?

How does one rank these options?

Is it ok to vote for more than one?

If some think they are voting for one and others think there are multiple options, how can votes sensibly be added? Surely you are not proposing the activist-weighted, volume-weighted "rough consensus"?

If anyone feels strongly negatively about a particular option how do they register that feeling?


I excerpt from the recent statement of Patrick Gannon, Oasis CEO:


It seems to me that if we have the ear of the CEO it is a particularly inappropriate time to be pursuing this, even if we were to do so with a process much better thought out than the one you currently propose.

Although we are still
in the midst of that launch, we recognize the need to respond to your
issues, and we are currently evaluating the feasibility of hiring an
additional IT resource to better support XML-DEV. Funding for this
resource will be provided by the sponsors of XML.org, host of the
XML-DEV list.


Sounds like an offer that it would be sensible to give time to work through.

If there are continuing problems let's objectively think about those, report back to OASIS, and if that doesn't resolve things then consider a well-thought-through vote in 1 month, 3 months, whatever.


I suspect most of us have experience with w3c lists.  XML-dev would not
be the largest or most active list in the w3c domain.  In my personal
experience the lists seem almost always accessible, the archives usable
and almost always there, and I've never seen editorial interference.


Is a W3C "almost always" better than the past OASIS performance? Or the hopefully upcoming better-supported performance? You don't make a case either way.

W3C lists ... and I subscribe to many ... are not perfect either, as you implicitly acknowledge.


I suspect this list generates a ton of traffic. I do not know how big
the membership list is,


Without that basic information how can we have a context within which any objective assessment of views can be made?

but I can see that this list might be a real

challenge to host.  Some unreasonable expectations, a lot of visibility,
and some people that just go off on the least little thing.


Surely not! :)

Regards

Andrew Watt

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