Re: [802SEC] Note the Author of 802.11 / JEDEC article / editor of Semiconduct or Business News
RE: Thus there is some flexibility within IEEE to deal with companies that
attempt to "stack the deck". But I should note that this rule is rarely
invoked, as it is rarely needed.
I trust that you realize that we are having this very problem at the moment.
Also I would note that in many instances in the past where there have been
suspicions of block voting, the chair has taken a straw poll by company.
The vast majority of the time the results of the straw poll do not inidcate
a different outcome.
At 01:04 PM 4/4/02 -0500, Matthew Sherman wrote:
>From: Matthew Sherman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: "'email@example.com'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: [802SEC] Note the Author of 802.11 / JEDEC article / editor of
> or Business News
>Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 13:04:46 -0500
>While the issue over the recent Semiconductor Business New article on 802.11
>has been largely resolved, there was one minor point in my mind that remains
>uncorrected. I think it is more a matter of opinion, so I have decided to
>express mine to the author and the editor. Below please find the letter I
>intend to send by e-mail. It represents my personal opinion. I do not plan
>to include my company affiliation, and will represent myself purely as an
>IEEE P802 participant. Still, I felt I should let people have a look at it
>in case they would like to comment. Please let me know if you do.
>Dear Mr. LaPedus,
>I recently read your article titled "JEDEC takes aim at defining wireless
>LAN chip standards" in Semiconductor Business News (
>http://www.siliconstrategies.com/story/OEG20020327S0017). While I found the
>article interesting, there was one point you made that I felt was highly
>biased. In the article you state:
> "But one of the main problems with the IEEE is that chip makers and
>systems houses can "stack the deck" in the standards process, according to
>sources. In other words, every individual from a particular group or company
>has a vote in the standards process, sources said."
>I note that your sources are unnamed. I also note that many other "sources"
>might disagree with this statement. I for one (as an IEEE 802 participant)
>do not agree, and felt it might help if I clarified the IEEE process a
>The assumption in IEEE P802 is that people attend and represent themselves
>as individuals. They are required by the rules governing membership to
>place their company affiliations aside, and vote their technical conscience
>on the matters they participate in. Of course this is an idealized
>scenario, and people do sometimes reflect their companies interests in their
>opinion. However this is less common than you might think. Many engineers
>tend to be idealist, and do cling to the concepts of democracy and free
>thinking. I will often see split votes within companies, and no company I
>am aware of forces there employees to vote according to a company platform.
>Still, any process is open to abuse, and sometimes voting based on corporate
>policy does occur. IEEE P802 is aware of this possibility, and in its rules
>explicitly allows for a Working Group chairperson to "Determine if the
>Working Group is dominated by an organization, and, if so, treat that
>organizations' vote as one". Thus there is some flexibility within IEEE to
>deal with companies that attempt to "stack the deck". But I should note
>that this rule is rarely invoked, as it is rarely needed. The standards
>developed in IEEE normally represent a broad consensus among many
>individuals, and in fact companies.
>Regarding the use of a one company, one vote approach, this has often been
>discussed within IEEE, but does not appear to have obvious advantage over
>the existing system. First, it too is open to abuse. Many participants in
>IEEE are independent consultants who run their own companies. While they
>are often funded by other larger companies there is no way to determine
>which large companies the consultants represent. Thus by "buying" a number
>of small consulting companies, a large corporation can still "stack the
>deck". Also, I am aware of a number of individuals who for various reasons
>actually do attend IEEE on their own dollar, and don't have any company
>affiliation. How would these individuals be allowed to vote and
>My own opinion is that there is much to be gained from the open, democratic
>standards process currently practiced in IEEE. Using a one company, one
>vote standardization process has it own advantages and pitfalls, but I see
>no clear and compelling reason why it would be any fairer than the current
>process used by IEEE today. I ask that this letter be published as an
>editorial so that a more balanced view of your statements can be had by the
>Semiconductor Business News readership.