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Subject: Re: [dita] Subcommittee governance

Hi, Bob.

Thanks for taking initiative on this. I think it's a solid start. Another thing that I'd like subcommittees to do is to ensure that their meetings are on the DITA TC calendar.


Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Principal consultant, Eberlein Consulting
+1 919 682-2290; kriseberlein (skype)

On 9/30/2016 11:20 AM, Bob Thomas wrote:

As I prepare to step in as a co-chair for the Technical Communications subcommittee, I have been thinking about Subcommittee/TC governance and how things ought to work. This seems appropriate since our last couple of TC meetings have dealt with such matters. I put together a DITA topic to focus my thoughts. It occurred to me that the topic would make a good a straw proposal for TC/SC governance, so I changed it to be that, and I offer it for your consideration. While some may find the specificity to be overkill, it is worth noting that the TC will inevitably have to decide how it will conduct itself in each of these matters. It is far easier to do this all at once and not on the fly when a misunderstanding has cropped up between the TC and an SC.

I have attached the DITA topic. Meanwhile, here it is as rendered in HTML:

DITA Technical Committee subcommittee governance

This document specifies the policies and expectations for subcommittees operating under the auspices of the DITA Technical Committee (TC).


This document establishes concrete policies and expectations for subcommittees. The TC is doing this to help subcommittees be more productive and to avoid the misunderstandings that can arise when expectations are informal.

Criteria for subcommittee creation

Several criteria must be met before the TC will vote to approve the creation of a subcommittee. A prospective subcommittee must have the following:

  1. A charter that explains the subcommittee's mission
  2. A chairperson who is a voting member of the TC
  3. At least one other subcommittee member who is affiliated with a different company
  4. A willingness to comply with all of the policies and expectations in this document

Criteria for remaining in good standing

The TC expects the following conditions to be met for a subcommittee to be in good standing with the TC:

  1. The chairperson shall maintain voting status on the TC.
  2. The subcommittee should have work in progress. Idle periods must not last more than six months.
  3. The subcommittee shall meet at least once a month when work is in progress
  4. Minutes for each subcommittee meeting must be posted in the subcommittee’s OASIS document repository (Kavi) before the next meeting occurs.
  5. The subcommittee shall report to the TC at least once a month when work is progress.

Policies affecting subcommittee chairpersons

The following policies affect subcommittee chairpersons. A subcommittee chairperson:

  1. Can be removed for any reason by a majority vote in the TC
  2. Is accountable to both the TC and the subcommittee
  3. Is responsible for keeping the subcommittee in good standing
  4. Must maintain voting status on the TC. A one month grace period is automatically in place for chairpersons who lose voting status. Beyond that, the TC is willing to consider extenuating circumstance. For example, a chairperson may live in a timezone that makes attending TC meetings impractical or a chairperson may have a persistent work-related conflict that coincides with TC meeting times. In such cases, the TC may agree to have the subcommittee represented by another subcommittee member who is also a voting member of the TC.

Deactivating and reactivated a subcommittee

A subcommittee can deactivate itself if no work is anticipated for six or more months. If a subcommittee believes that it will not be needed in the future, it should ask the TC to decommission the subcommittee. A deactivated subcommittee can reactivate itself providing it still meets all of the criteria for subcommittee creation.

Decommissioning a subcommittee

The TC should consider decommissioning a subcommittee under any of the following circumstances:

  • The subcommittee requests it
  • The subcommittee has been out of good standing for more than six months
  • A deactivated subcommittee has been abandoned by its members and by its chairperson

Disposition of work products from decommissioned subcommittees

The TC should consider the following options for dealing with work products left by decommissioned subcommittees:

  • Ousting the work product from OASIS control
  • Appointing an advocate to service the work product
  • Asking the OASIS DITA community for volunteers who would be interested in re instantiating the subcommittee by meeting the criteria for subcommittee creation
Best Regards,
Bob Thomas
+1 720 201 8260
Skype: bob.thomas.colorado
Instant messaging: Gmail chat (bob.thomas@tagsmiths.com) or Skype
Time zone: Mountain (GMT-7)

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