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Subject: RE: [chairs] OASIS Organizational Voting is Somewhat Absurd?

Having some level of scrutiny by all members is important to maintain the credibility of OASIS as an authoritative standards development organization. I don't worry much about getting too many specifications of less than stellar quality published because in the long run, the marketplace will determine which ones are best and worth building conforming products.  
My 2 cents worth ....
Jerry Smith
-----Original Message-----
From: Wachob, Gabe [mailto:gwachob@visa.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:28 PM
To: chairs@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: [chairs] OASIS Organizational Voting is Somewhat Absurd?

An issue about the way OASIS holds organizational votes to move TC drafts to OASIS specifications has been gnawing on me for quite a while.
Under the current rules, 15% of organizational members have to vote yes on a specification. Currently, according to my rough research, this is 15% of 342 voting organizations or 52 positive votes required *minimum*.
Now, OASIS TCs do work in a number of very specialized areas yet votes are expected by the general organizational membership. An example is the recent request to vote on the CAP 1.1 standard. I have no reason to believe that CAP is not a fine proposal and worthy of approval, and I personally think it sounds valuable. However, I also have no way of knowing if there aren't serious problems with it. I am not a domain expert, and I doubt there are 52 organizations in OASIS that are.
Having been involved in LegalXML in the very early days, I can only imagine this issue about competence and interest in a specialized area could be even more acute for other topical areas.
It appears that the only way specifications like CAP can emerge as an OASIS specification is for parties to approve the spec who have no domain expertise and no business justification to invest time in reviewing the specification.  An OASIS specification vote then becomes largely a matter of rubberstamping the TC's output, thus undercutting the value of the "OASIS Specification" stamp of approval. Additionally, as a TC co-chair, I'm concerned that getting approval for a specification at the OASIS level is purely a political "vote for my spec PLEASE" effort which is a waste of time for the TC chair and a meaningless gesture for the organizational voters (a role I also play for Visa).
Does anyone else feel this way?
It would seem more rational to have some sort of process that requires review and positive acceptance by some subset of the membership (e.g. broken down by topical interest areas, etc) while retaining the right for *all* organizational members to object as they do now.

Chief Systems Architect
Innovation Group
Visa International
Phone: +1.650.432.3696   Fax: +1.650.554.6817


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