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Subject: How to approve a Committee Specification or a Committee Note that includes Non-Material Changes


You may recall that one of the recent simplifications made to the TC Process was to enable a TC to make minor changes to a Committee Specification Draft or a Committee Note Draft without triggering an additional public review. The purpose of this note is to explain when your TC can do this and describe the steps involved. 

What is a Non-Material Change? 

The TC Process defines a "Non-Material Change" as "any change to the content of a Work Product that does not add or remove any feature of the Work Product and that: (a) constitutes only error corrections, editorial changes, or formatting changes; or (b) is a pro forma change to content required by TC Administration." In other words, it is a minor change that does not alter what it takes to implement your specification. Fixing a broken link in a normative reference probably has no practical effect and thus qualifies. Adding a new normative reference, on the other, might not. 

Who decides? The TC. It is up to the TC to judge whether the changes you have made are trivial, editorial changes or material changes that ought to be put out for purlic review. In return, it is the TC's responsibility to (a) keep a record of the changes that have been made, (b) assert that the changes are Non-Material and (c) transmit the change record and the assertion to TC Administration as part of its request for a Special Majority Vote to approve the draft as a Committee Specification or a Committee Note. 

How do you proceed? 

The Non-Material Changes process kicks in when you are ready to request a Special Majority Vote to approve a working draft as a Committee Specification or a Committee Note [1].  If you make changes to a draft after its last public review, changes that you believe to be Non-Material, then follow these steps: 

1. Keep a list of the changes that are made. The TC Process requires that you "provide an acceptable summary that is clear and comprehensible of the changes made since the last public review." The easiest way to do this is to provide a red-lined comparison document between the last public review version and the revised version along with a narrative summary description of the changes. The summary description need not be line-by-line. A broad statement such as "fixed broken URLs in the References Section" is sufficient. It simply needs to have enough detail so that a non-TC member can locate the changes and decide for themselves if they are indeed Non-Material. 

2. Load the documents that record the changes into your TC Kavi document repository. If you have included a red-lined version along with a summary, please put both documents into a single ZIP file to expedite handling of the request.

3. Include the link to the summary of the changes and an assertion that the changes are Non-Material in your motion to request the Special Majority Ballot. Wording like this will suffice: 

"Do members of the TC approve requesting that TC Administration initiate a 
Special Majority Vote to approve  <specification name and version #> contained 
in <URL for the revised draft> as a Committee Specification? The TC affirms 
that changes have been made since the last public review. The changes made are 
documented in <URL for the summary of changes>. The TC judges these changes to be 
Non-Material in accordance with the definition in the OASIS TC Process 

4. Include the link to the summary of the changes and an assertion that the changes are Non-Material in the Notes field of the TC Administration support ticket requesting the Committee Specification or Committee Note ballot. (https://www.oasis-open.org/resources/tc-admin-requests/committee-specification-ballot-request or https://www.oasis-open.org/resources/tc-admin-requests/committee-note-ballot-request.) Cutting and pasting the wording from the approval motion is fine. 

What happens next? 

Once your ticket has been entered, TC Administration will set up the Special Majority Vote ballot to approve the draft. The language about the changes and the URL to the summary of changes will be included in the ballot. As always, the Special Majority Vote will stay open for 7 days. 

TC Administration will also send an announcement that a ballot to approve a draft with non-material changes since its last public review has been opened to the OASIS members mailing list and to the TAB. 

Should any OASIS member (technically, any "Eligible Person") object that some of the changes are indeed material, then the ballot will be withdrawn and you will have to put the Draft through public review. If no such objections be made during the ballot period and the ballot passes, TC Administration will proceed with publication of the Committee Standard or Committee Note. 

Please let me know if you have questions about how this works or if you want assistance with setting up and approving a draft with Non-Material Changes. We are striving to make working at OASIS more streamlined and efficient. I hope you will find that this change in particular helps you accomplish your goals more expeditiously.  


[1] TC Process section 3.3 Approval of a Committee Specification or Committee Note: "If Non-Material Changes have been made to the draft since its last public review then the TC must provide an acceptable summary that is clear and comprehensible of the changes made since the last public review and a statement that the changes are all Non-Material to TC Administration. TC Administration shall announce the opening of the ballot to approve the draft to the OASIS Membership and optionally on other public mail lists along with the summary of changes and the TC's statement. If any Eligible Person objects that the changes are not Non-Material before the ballot closes, TC Administration shall halt the ballot and require the TC to submit the draft for another public review cycle. If such objection is made after the ballot has closed, TC Administration shall reject it and the results of the ballot shall stand." (http://www.oasis-open.org/policies-guidelines/tc-process#Non-MaterialChangesSummary)

Please let me know if you have any questions. 


Chet Ensign
Director of Standards Development and TC Administration 
OASIS: Advancing open standards for the information society

Primary: +1 973-996-2298
Mobile: +1 201-341-1393

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