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Matt, Where I sincerely appreciate your attempting to follow the intent of the framers of the Bylaws, I think you may be making a assumptive error in believing that the reason for the start-up rule was one of convenience or oversight, rather than design. My recollection of the intent as discussed and agreed during the drafting of the rule centered on the following primary points:
1. In order to begin the work of the new Working Group, it is necessary to have bona fide members who can elect officers and participate in votes on early substantive matters to help set the course and future direction of activities. Early consensus of the WG participants allows them to move forward expeditiously, and begin to focus on the issues where the real work needs to be done.
2. The make-up and character of those officially committing (by their attendance at the 1st official session) to participate in the work defined by the PAR, as approved, can change dramatically from that of the Study Group participants and that therefore basing membership requirements on prior Study Group participation might very well cause an unfair bias to the early membership and control of the committee that could lead to major problems and power struggles further down the road. Indeed where there has been shown to be a division of a large Group into two or more diametrically opposing factions, the tendency has been to divide the group and let each faction pursue its preferred direction, and let the market and ongoing support determine the eventual winner. One has only to look back at 802’s history to see several cases where serious technology splits lead to several standards, which ultimately failed to win enough market share to survive in the long-term (e.g. 802.4, 802.5, 802.6, 802.9, 802.12, 802.14, and FDDI to name a few).
3. WGs in start-up mode have many problems to deal with and it is the make-up of the actual participant group that will shape the tone and character of the Group. Each 802 WG tends to have its own “culture” and style. What works perfectly for one WG, may be anathema for another. So we have to be willing to allow the actual participant set to establish its own culture & traditions; no “One-Size-Fits-All” set of rules will do the job here. Diversity is the rule, rather than the exception. Our rules need to establish a common framework that is necessary and sufficient to achieve meaningful results, but there must be plenty of latitude to permit the diversity which has made 802 such a rich and productive environment.
4. The intent of the 3-meeting rule is to ensure that those joining an established WG have sufficient time and experience to learn the history, culture and style of the WG before becoming an active participant. However, in the case of a new WG, they will be establishing their culture and style as they go along (under tutelage from other WGs), so there is no need for the learning period. Later-comers, however, will need the time to “catch up” on the history and style of the WG as set by the original participants. The 3-meeting rule was also viewed as a serious deterrent to factions attempting to bring in a horde of supporters to influence the outcome of votes during a single session, since it would require a lot more cost and pre-planning under the rule. So far it seems to be working well in that respect. The fact that our rules allow sufficient latitude that there are occasional disputes over interpretation is a necessary evil to permitting the diversity we want and need. This is one of the primary reasons we need an SEC: to help resolve such disputes on a fair and equitable basis. We just need to be ready to step up when the time arrives.
I recollect no mention of any convenience or bookkeeping factors in selecting the start-up rules. The players get to choose the game and adjust the rules to fit their needs. If there is too great a division of large opposing factions to permit forward progress, then it is better to divide into independent groups that can each move forward independently. Splinter factions tend to find a mainstream camp to join and work with.
I think you at least partially misunderstand my intent in the changes I proposed. Your arguments seem to focus strongly on the officers of the group, and not the general membership. So let me ask you this. Why do we have the “3 session rule” that normally applies to achieving membership? If one meeting is enough for anyone to follow what is going on technically, and understand the procedures in place, why don’t we just let every expert act as a member the moment they walk in the door?
A WG is not a virtual particle popping in and out of a vacuum. On day one, it has a context that it evolved in and is continuing to evolve in. That context is the Study Group it evolved from, and 802 itself. To properly participate even in an election, I believe participants need to have a solid sense of what they are there to do, and how it is normally done. Not to mention some level of familiarity with the candidates. I don’t think one meeting or even one session is enough. And I don’t think the creators of the 3 session rule did either. While the EC may be able to mentor the leadership of a new WG, I don’t think they can effectively mentor the membership itself if it is completely green along with the leadership.
I firmly believe that the creators of the “first meeting” rule chose to let everyone in because it was convenient and easy to do the book keeping. I am sure they saw the potential flaws, but presumed those potentials were generally remote and could be neglected. They probably did not believe these remote possibilities justified the inclusion of a more complex initial membership process. I think we now see that those potentials are larger than may have originally been anticipated. I for one now see a need for a more complex start up process which better preserves the intent of the 3 session rule for gaining membership. So again I ask, in your mind why have the 3 session rule if 3 sessions are not required to participate intelligently in a group?
I vote DISAPPROVE on this ballot.
I believe that including any criterion related to experience with LMSC, its working groups, or study groups as a prerequisite to holding office is a path to constant judgment calls by the SEC as to how much experience is enough, what experience is relevant, and how recent that experience must be. So, must an officer candidate hold a working group office prior to running a study group, in order to be qualified? Which positions? How long?
If we are going to require an experience criterion to be met, I want it to be explicit, concrete, and measurable. It must NOT be subject to interpretation. Given that the current proposed change lacks this specificity:
In 184.108.40.206 delete:
"In no case should a person who is not a member in good standing of IEEE 802 by the end of the first session of establishment of a WG be considered to Chair a WG, as they are unlikely to have sufficient familiarity with the Policies and Procedures of IEEE 802, as well as the IEEE 802 Standards Association (IEEE-SA), and IEEE Computer Society."
and replace it with:
"Candidates for the positions of working group chair and vice chair(s) shall be members of the working group."
I believe that the SEC has the obligation to mentor the officers that are chosen by the working groups. It is the membership of the working group that is best situated to evaluate the qualifications of its leadership. The SEC, at best, is second guessing the working group decisions.
I also don't agree with the substitution of study group participation for credit toward working group membership. This is a hack to try to give preference to study group participants, on the theory that they have more "experience" with 802 by having attended a study group meeting or two and, thus, would make better officers. Or, possibly, this is a misguided attempt to prevent "loading" the membership at the first meeting and electing a slate that is "distasteful" to some constituency. This is unsubstantiated.
The nature of the work of a study group and a working group is fundamentally different. The task of a study group is basically administrative and marketing, to get a PAR and 5 criteria document approved. The task of a working group (at least initially) is mostly technical, evaluating technical proposals and writing a standard. The types and numbers of people that would attend the study group and working group meetings can be expected to be quite different. Why should the working group members have their choices of officer candidates limited to those that chose to perform the administrative and marketing tasks of a study group, when the character of the work changes dramatically at the formation of the working group?
In 220.127.116.11 reverse the deletion of the first sentence of this clause (i.e., put it back). This is clear and concise. The deletion is completely ineffective, since all one has to do at the first meeting is present a letter of intention to participate to the chair, in order to gain instant membership according to the sentence that is proposed to start 18.104.22.168. Also delete the first two sentences in the second paragraph.
Dear EC members,
Attached you will find the text for an LMSC P&P revision ballot on WG Membership. This ballot was approved at the Friday March 14, 2003 plenary session. It is identical to what was presented at the Plenary session except that per the minutes of that meeting I have change the Section number 22.214.171.124 to 126.96.36.199. The purpose and rationale for the ballot are as given in the attached document.
Ballot Opens: March 27, 2003
Ballot Closes: April 28, 2003 11:59 PM
WG chairs, if you haven't already done so, please invite your WG members to comment through you. Buzz, please ensure this gets sent to the "802ALL" email list as well. While I encourage discussion on the reflector, I am trying something new this time, and have included a ballot response / comment form. Prior to the close of the ballot, please fill out the attached form with your vote and a summary of your comments. Then send it to the reflector. I will accept updated forms until the close of the ballot. I’m also open to comments on how this process works. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to compile and distribute comments, and not much more difficult for everyone else. If it doesn’t work, we will fall back to the old process the next round of ballots.
Thanks & Regards,