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Subject: RE: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?

We are very fortunate that we have some very nice and reasonable TC Admins 
today, and they are are not closing TCs just because they missed a 
deliverable by a week.  I'll grant you that point.  But you must grant me 
that the process, as written today, explicitly permits TCs to be closed 
purely for that reason.   That is my concern.

By all means we need a way to prune out abandoned TCs.  I have nothing 
against that.  But personal I wonder whether the criteria, as written are 
overly-broad and the checks and balances absent?   I think this would be 
fairly easy to address in some future revision of the TC Policy.  If a TC 
has truly been abandoned or is moving in circles or aimlessly, then it 
probably doesn't hurt anyone if we had some safeguards that turned this 
from a one-person kill clause to a lightweight procedure that guaranteed 
the opportunity for stakeholder and member feedback over, say a 30-day 

Nothing urgent, just something to consider.


"Dennis E. Hamilton" <dennis.hamilton@acm.org> wrote on 07/16/2010 
04:32:24 PM:

> Well, before we get too carried away about the speculative hazards 
> of tyrannical TC Administrators, I have some anecdotal data-points on 
> There are a number of OASIS TCs that are definitely inactive in the 
> sense that there is nothing happening with documents, there is no 
> activity on the list, and there is no indication of meetings in a 
> considerable time.  This also includes situations where the chair 
> keeps scheduling calls that don't happen for one reason or another 
> (and cancelling others for one reason or another).
> I have also reviewed mailing lists (as part of wanting to know the 
> status of work that I was checking on) and observed inquiries from 
> the TC Administrator to determine whether the committee is really 
> active or is it ready to be closed.  My impression is that there is 
> nothing precipitate about the closing of a TC and that it is not 
> undertaken lightly.  Also, these inquiries don't happen until there 
> has been a prolonged period of inactivity - more like years, not 
> months, and action is not immediate or precipitate even then.  It 
> appears that there not only has to be no life in the corpse, it has 
> to be overgrown with weeds and returned to dust.  Even for 
> committees which, it seemed to me, were/are really nothing but one-
> man bands (zombie TCs?), the TC administrator is very cautious.
> I conclude that there is no trip wire or time bomb by which a TC, 
> once constituted, flushes down the drain like a "dunk me" target at 
> a summer amusement park.  That's true of all of the cases I've 
> researched.   I have at one time or another reviewed every OASIS TC 
> that has produced an OASIS Standard in this century, along with many
> that never will (because the need the standard was intended to serve
> has disappeared or been satisfied another way, because the standards
> are published in a different venue, or because the TC has a purpose 
> in which achieving an OASIS Standard is not the primary goal).
>  - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: robert_weir@us.ibm.com [mailto:robert_weir@us.ibm.com] 
> Sent: Friday, July 16, 2010 12:23
> To: Martin Chapman
> Cc: chairs@lists.oasis-open.org; David RR Webber (XML)
> Subject: RE: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?
> Just looking at the relevant clause: 
> http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/process.php#closingTC
> In full it says:
> "The TC Administrator may close a TC that fails to conduct at least one 
> Quorate Meeting or conduct any Specification Ballots during any six 
> period; whose membership falls below the Minimum Membership; which has 
> completed its deliverables within the schedule listed in its Charter; or 

> which has failed to show progress towards achieving its purpose as 
> by its Charter."
> I'd wonder what % of OASIS TCs actually complete their deliverables 
> the schedule they predicted at the time they chartered it?  I bet it is 
> quite small.  Nothing special about OASIS.  Schedule estimation is hard 
> general and we all tend to be overly optimistic.   But regardless, one 
> man's "lack of progress" is another man's "deliberate pace with 
> building".  Some of the best breakthroughs come after "lack of 
> including good stuff worth waiting for,  Hopefully we're not triggering 
> closures based on those criteria very often. 
> I realize that this is always going to be a judgement call, and you want 

> to look at the totality of the facts and circumstances.  So I'm 
> that this decision can be made by a single TC Admin.  I would have 
> that there would be at least some minimum notification time, comment 
> period, access to a Board appeal, etc.  Closing a TC -- absent approval 
> the TC members -- does not feel like an administrative action to me on 
> with sending out the announcement of a public review, or conducting a 
> committee specification ballot.  It sounds like a far graver action, 
> should have some more checks and balances behind it.
> My personal opinion, of course.
> -Rob
> Martin Chapman <MARTIN.CHAPMAN@ORACLE.COM> wrote on 07/16/2010 12:22:59 
> PM:
> > 
> > So what is the exit strategy for your TC?
> > IMHO, the only way to avoid these automatic shutdowns  is for every 
> > charter to be explicit enough so that TC members themselves can 
> > declare victory and shut themselves down. Also the criteria isn’t 
> > that onerous: maintain minimum membership (I’m sure temporary lapses
> > are tolerable), and hold a quorate meeting every six months!
> > 
> > Cheers,
> >    Martin.
> > 
> > 
> > From: David RR Webber (XML) [mailto:david@drrw.info] 
> > Sent: 16 July 2010 12:58
> > To: chairs@lists.oasis-open.org
> > Subject: [chairs] When is a TCs work done?
> > 
> > I'm reminded of the maxim in any good initial business plan asking -
> > what is the exit strategy?
> > 
> > Seems that OASIS has criteria based mainly around number of emails 
> > posted, who's posting them (apart from the TC chair) and how many 
> > meetings and minutes you have posted.
> > 
> > As TC chairs however - I think we deserve more support than OASIS 
> > hitting our TC with FUD messages to bolster continuation of the 
> > technical work.
> > 
> > Several members I recently canvassed told me they would like to do 
> > more than observer but their company is restricting hours and 
> > requiring formal manager approval and justification for any new TC 
> > related work - even just reading emails or joining a group.  Given 
> > those types of challenges its little wonder that typical TC work is 
> > being driven by just a handful of individuals.
> > 
> > OASIS needs to therefore do more in terms of assisting garnering 
> > support for our work.  So for example - one simple thing I notice 
> > that is misleading - is that Kavi only shows voting members - what 
> > should be shown also is the total number of observers (just the 
> > count), and non-voting members underneath that also on the whole 
> > 
> > Clearly TC chairs have a huge role in continuing work of a TC.  In 
> > the lifecycle of a standard it is way more than just calling 
> > meetings, writing specifications and publishing schema. 
> > 
> > Rather than FUD messages from OASIS staff to our TC - we need more 
> > informal coordination to help with members who may be contemplating 
> > contributing - or just testing the pulse = looking to help get more 
> > involvement and so on by working with the TC chairs and reaching out
> > to potential new resources.
> > 
> > Also - chairs usually know way more about what is really going on. 
> > The mailing list only tells one small part of the picture - in terms
> > of what is external parties are doing, or planning to do with a 
> > specification, or additional potential resources to advance new work. 
> > 
> > The current administrative door slamming by OASIS seems to be based 
> > solely on reducing the number of TCs to some acceptable lower number
> > - rather than any rationale based on the importance of work - and 
> > need to actively foster and help TC chairs gain support either 
> > within their TC or with external industry groups or academic 
> > institutes who may benefit or contribute further.
> > 
> > Everyone is burned out of course on standards work - and its now 
> > layers of burn out over burn out.  Now in tough economic days it 
> > seems that bean counting and ROI have totally taken over the 
> > equation of specification development - rather than anything else 
> > relating to technical value and incubating potential groundbreaking 
> > or interesting XML capabilities within OASIS.
> > 
> > Ironically the small independent members would appear to be those 
> > that have the most flexibility to continue OASIS work and yet OASIS 
> > itself it set to penalize them for trying!
> > 
> > Thanks, DW

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