[Standards] Experimental XEPs (was: Re: whiteboarding and shared editing)

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Thu Aug 16 11:37:18 UTC 2007


On Wed Aug 15 21:01:07 2007, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> The XSF is a standards development organization. We're supposed to 
> be
> developing standards. If people want to publish the results of their
> experiments on their own websites as input to the XSF's standards
> development process, they are free to do so. But as far as I can 
> see,
> nothing in the XSF's mission or bylaws dictates that such 
> experiments
> deserve to be published by the XSF.

Actually I disagree. Not publishing (in some way, it doesn't have to 
be as a XEP) experiments and early-stage working documents, and in 
particular encouraging these to be privately published, does not 
encourage the kind of commonly-owned specification that can be 
developed into (or used as input for) a proper standard.

I suspect - without much justification, I'll admit - that the result 
of encouraging specifications to be worked on outside the XSF would 
lead to fragmentation and proprietary extensions (by which I mean the 
term in the sense of not held under common ownership).

A good SDO, therefore, not only encourages open participation (as we 
and the IETF do), but also encourages open publication of proposals 
(as the IETF does with it's I-D documents, which represent a low 
barrier to entry, centralized, publication mechanism). We tend toward 
promoting a "do or die" approach to publishing XEPs, which leads to 
the bulk of a specification being developed outside the XSF, 
potentially encouraging multiple non-interoperable approaches to the 
same goal.

This has demonstrably happened with the whiteboarding proposals, and 
it's obviously not in our interests - whether that's as a result of 
the XSF's processes is most certainly a matter for debate, but I feel 
the XSF's processes might be adjusted to try to reduce this.

I believe the best mechanism for encouraging interoperable protocols 
through the XSF is to support their publication, even when the 
proposal has flaws that the Council require to be rectified. Hence my 
comments in another message about adjusting our processes to allow 
for a long-term use of the Inbox without forcing publication as a XEP.

Dave.
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