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Subject: RE: About the office-comment mailing list

It not being clear where meta-discussion about [office-comment] should go, I
am following Rob's advice and applying my own reasoning to move over to
[opendocument-users] (interesting shift in name there).

Another way of looking at the distinction between comment and discussion is
that while clarification requests and statements do happen on the comment
list, these are not official responses of the ODF TC.  Furthermore, when
commenters begin discussing among themselves, with or without the complicity
of ODF TC members, that also tends to be something best discussed elsewhere.

It does seem valuable to differentiate between the opinions and attitudes of
individual ODF TC members and those responses that are the considered,
agreed results of ODF TC deliberations.  We have not been so disciplined
about that on the ODF TC. 

It is valuable to have this discussion about the constrained use of the
office-comment list to submissions of comments and the exchanges involved in
acknowledgment of receipt, requesting clarification, and reporting of
disposition.  In particular, I think that some responses from TC members
have been provided as dispositive and the comments not considered further.
I believe we want to avoid that just as much as it is inappropriate for
there to be discussions that go beyond clarification and understanding of a
comment submission.  

Our greater attention to maintenance and tracking of comments from both
public reviews and defect reports should improve this, especially as we
become better at providing accountability and providing closure for
submitters, even when it takes a while. 

Because of OASIS rules around dealing with intellectual property, the
office-comment list is the only approved way to submit proposals and
suggestions that the ODF TC is able to consider, adapt, and incorporate.  I
am not aware of any occasion where that safeguard was of material importance
concerning an office-comment submission, but this is one of those
better-to-be-safe-than-sorry arrangements where OASIS does not delegate
judgment on the matter, and rightly so.

 - Dennis

PS: This comment is my own observation as a participant in the ODF TC and
any similarity to an official position of the ODF TC or of OASIS is purely
coincidental.  Were there such an official position, there'd be provision of
a link to the official minutes or other approved document where the official
position is expressed.

Dennis E. Hamilton
NuovoDoc: Design for Document System Interoperability 
mailto:Dennis.Hamilton@acm.org | gsm:+1-206.779.9430 
http://NuovoDoc.com http://ODMA.info/dev/ http://nfoWorks.org 

-----Original Message-----
From: rjelliffe@allette.com.au [mailto:rjelliffe@allette.com.au] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 18:48
To: mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org
Cc: office-comment@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [office-comment] About this mailing list

> Hi Paul,
>   In general, yes. The piece that's missing is that this list is intended
> to be "input only" - that is, one should not expect discussion from TC
> members on any of the posts on this list. The intent is that the posts
> would be discussed by the TC which would then decide what action, if
> any, to take.

You say "one should not *expect* discussion" which is fine. However from
the latest ODF TC minutes:

"Michael asked that in alignment with the OASIS technical committee
process *no* discussions should take place on the public comment mailing

These are clearly not the same thing. For example, under what Mary said,
an interested, engaged TC member could ask for clarification or suggest
other angles to a comment on the public list, at their discretion, but
with no obligation. Under what Michael has said, this is positively
disallowed under the OASIS process. (Under Michael's interpretation, there
is in fact *no* forum provided by OASIS for public discussion of the draft
or future ODF specs?)

Which is correct please?

> If individuals want to take an active role in the
> development of the spec, they should then join the technical committee
> itself.

Certainly. However community engagement is often regarded as a sign of

>   I would like to make it clear to everyone commenting that the TC has not
> yet approved a formal 60-day Public Review of the specification; the
> approximate date posted in the call for requirements for "ODF-Next" was
> late April. At that point in time the TC will be required to log all
> comments received along with their resolution before proceeding to the
> next approval level. That said, OASIS encourages feedback at any stage
> of a specification's lifecycle; early feedback is typically much easier
> to react to than that provided late in the game.

You say that the "at that point" (i.e. late April) the TC will be required
to log all comments for ODF-Next. Yet the call document* speaks of
gathering requirements "now" with an aim of having a report ready 1 May.

Is it that requirements are not required to be logged but comments are?
That seems a little like formalizing discussion on details but not on the
broad strokes.

Rick Jelliffe

* http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200902/msg00007.html

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