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Re: [802SEC] reflector observations


I disagree only slightly with Bob.  I would delete his first sentence. 
I agree with the rest of what he has to say.

There is nothing wrong with the SEC writing the rules.  The problem is
the way we go about it.  And in particular, the habit of
confusing/substituting "wordsmithing" for making policy decisions.  The
generation of the rules text needs to follow the policy decisions, not
what policy can we discover in/ infer from text that has been hacked
together through multiple acts of wordsmithing.  If we wrote standards
the way we write our rules, we would have long ago been out of business.



"Grow, Bob" wrote:
> Matt:
> The major problem with our rules and our rules change process is that we (the SEC) are writing them.  We have been maintaining them for some time through a cumbersome process where the focus is on the specific words rather than what a rules change is trying to accomplish.  There have been so many authors that there isn't a consistent style which is important for understanding the intent of the rules.
> I have expressed before that I believe we would be better off with a total rewrite of our rules.  A single author would be able to reorganize them into a better format (Bill made a proposal on this), that author would use the current rules as the basis.  A third party author would not be inventing new rules for us, but simply capturing the intent of the SEC and producing the language that we would still vote to accept.  If our SEC discussions were focused more on what we are trying to accomplish rather than the specific words, I believe rules changes would be accomplished much more efficiently.
> A total rewrite is I believe the best way to fix the inconsistencies with superior rules, inconsistent naming and abbreviation, etc.
> --Bob Grow
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 6:04 AM
> To:;
> Subject: RE: [802SEC] reflector observations
> Howard,
> I have mixed feelings about this.  First the good part - you'll put me
> out of a job.  Probably a good thing since I'll simply focus my efforts
> on other EC issues.   Next the bad part - we develop our rules by
> consensus.  I'm not sure we want someone to write the rules for us,
> which sounds kind of like what you are proposing.  I wouldn't mind
> having someone else to run the ballots and collect the feedback.  But
> I'm not sure we should turn over the process of writing the rules to an
> outside party.
> Another question for you is - Are you proposing changing the current
> process we use to develop rules?  In my mind, the rules need a complete
> rewrite.  Again, I'm not sure we would want to turn that over to an
> outside party.  Yet it is too big a task for any one of us to take on
> all at once, perhaps even with outside help.
> I think a large part of the problem is that we have become more aware of
> the short comings in our rules, and of the rules in general.  On one
> recent P&P revision (the one to use Executive Committee rather than
> Sponsor Executive Committee in the rules) someone abstained citing as
> one of their reasons the fact that the use of acronyms vs spelling the
> acronyms out was inconsistent throughout the document for many acronyms.
> I'm not sure how critical all these issues are, but in the past I think
> we may have ignored these more minor issues rather than fixed them.
> I try to initiate 2 rules changes a cycle (I'm running 3 right now).
> Other EC members run other P&P revisions as well.  This cycle we
> promised 2 revisions by other EC members but only delivered one (for a
> total of 4).  If we actually manage to complete an average of 3
> revisions per cycle, that is a total of 12 revisions per year.  This
> means our rules are in an almost constant state of change.  Note that I
> maintain a list of pending P&P revisions that individuals have noted
> they would like to make.  The list grows at a rate which is faster than
> I take things off.  As a result, I currently have a backlog of about 12
> P&P revisions that need to be run.  At our current rate of progress it
> will take us about 1.5 years to get through them all.  But as I noted,
> the list grows fast than it shrinks, so I can't say honestly we will
> ever get through them all.  Also, I recently started to note conflicts
> in rules above and below our P&P, that need to be resolved outside our
> P&P that I'd like to see addressed.  What I am really saying is that
> there are degrees of perfection and clarity.  Part of the problem is
> that we seem to have moved to a state where we desire greater perfection
> in our rules then we used to.  All of these issues have been around for
> years, but we are only now trying to address them.  However, we may also
> now be expecting too much perfection in our rules, and maybe we need to
> back off a little.
> Just a few rambling thoughts to get the conversation going.
> Mat
> PS - Yes I could have removed you from the "To" line so you only got one
> copy, and yes I could have gone down and deleted the rest of the e-mail
> trail.  But it is easier to just push respond to all and waste a few
> kilobytes - especially with our reflectors new found performance.
> Matthew Sherman
> Vice Chair, IEEE 802
> Technology Consultant
> Communications Technology Research
> AT&T Labs - Shannon Laboratory
> Room B255, Building 103
> 180 Park Avenue
> P.O. Box 971
> Florham Park, NJ 07932-0971
> Phone: +1 (973) 236-6925
> Fax: +1 (973) 360-5877
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Howard Frazier []
> Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 12:45 AM
> To:
> Subject: [802SEC] reflector observations
> Folks,
> A few observations:
> 1) We have exchanged more messages on the subject of
> wireless projectors than we exchanged on the subject
> of whether 802.11g was ready for RevCom.  In fact,
> we have exchanged more messages on this subject than
> anything else we have discussed in recent memory.
> 2) Most of the messages on the subject have been sent
> both to the SEC reflector, and to a list of individual
> addresses.  I am not sure of how many of you
> are getting duplicates, but I have gotten every one
> of the messages on this thread twice.
> 3) Most of the messages on the thread have quoted
> the earlier messages.  The most recent messages are
> about 9 kibibytes in length, but add only a few hundred
> bytes of new information.
> The point being that we don't really need to send
> duplicate copies of redundant information.
> And everyone seems to have overlooked the fact
> that the SEC reflector is operating MUCH FASTER
> now.  I notice that the duplicate copies are received
> back to back, with one addressed to me individually
> (thus bypassing the reflector entirely) and one coming
> via the reflector, with less than 1 minute difference
> in delivery time.  Pretty good, eh?
> Since we seem to have so much time to devote to the
> question of whether we should spend an extra $400 to
> buy a projector with a wireless interface (vs one without),
> may I ask that we spend a few cycles discussing the
> suggestion I tossed out earlier, which was for us to
> consider retaining a paid staffer to help with P&P
> changes and project tracking?
> Howard Frazier