[Standards] A Meta-Discussion about the Standards Process

Daniel Gultsch daniel at gultsch.de
Fri Jan 17 09:18:10 UTC 2020


I didn’t want to respond to this last night and then Dave already made
most of the points for me.  (Which however won’t stop me from
repeating some of them.)

Am Do., 16. Jan. 2020 um 22:17 Uhr schrieb Kevin Smith <kevin.smith at isode.com>:

> Tidying up the unlawful East cost to make it more like the well-policed and gunless wild West (ok, I’m not going to pretend to be cultured or a student of history) is easier to see (for me) through to the end goals. We got here, at least in part, through people not understanding that Experimental means Experimental, and implementing and putting these things in production anyway - how would we go from here to where that’s not happening? There are also implications on Draft - where Draft’s barrier to entry would have to be lowered in order for implementable XEPs to move in with our friend in the wild West country, or no tidying up is really possible - if things that previously we thought weren’t ready to Draft because there were likely to be further changes that we wouldn’t want to inflict on (informed) production implementations become Draft, what are the implications for the deployments who expect Draft XEPs to be somewhat stable (as now).

I think it would be OK to lower the barrier to Draft from it's status
quo back to what is spelled out in XEP-0001.
Currently the barrier to Draft is crazy high and to me, in practice,
almost indistinguishable from Final.
I think this is evident in two things:
* One of the questions in the Last Call is: Are you *planning* to
implement this. To which we regularly get responses like: I already
have.
* I have never witnessed a XEP actually getting to Final even though
we have multiple Drafts that fulfill the 'implemented in two
implementations' criteria.

It *almost* feels like we shifted our stages to the left were Draft is
the new Final and experimental is the new Draft. The latter is
currently less true than the former; However I’m afraid that
introducing a stage before experimental will make us raise the bar to
experimental even more and complete this shift.

I also don’t think that we got here because people didn’t understand
what Experimental meant but because people had no other choice. I mean
if I'm a developer, somewhat outside the XSF (and every developer
starts out like this), and I need a feature X *now* and all I see is
an experimental XEP I have two choices; Implement that Experimental
XEP or create something myself.
The truth is probably somewhere in between people not understanding
this (and/or at least not seeing the full consequences) and our
failure to move things to Draft more quickly. In any case I think
those two factors are reinforcing each other and we need to stop that
cycle.

The answer to "people don’t understand the nuances between our 5
different stages" can’t be "let's introduce more stages".


On interesting point about the super inbox / non working group draft
version is that it would probably be easier to fork drafts if the
original author is unresponsive. For example if draft-kile-mix-01 is
not moving fast enough I could just create my own
draft-gultsch-mix-01. However I’m not fully sure if we would want to
do that in super inbox and/or if we couldn’t just do something similar
in experimental.


cheers
Daniel


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