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CL Proposals "in the hands of the technical committee"

    Date: Thursday, 24 July 1986  19:10-EDT
    From: Kent M Pitman <KMP at SCRC-STONY-BROOK.ARPA>
    To:   Fahlman
    Re:   CL Proposals "in the hands of the technical committee"

    I don't think you've allowed appropriate time for discussion of these
    issues on the open list.

    I did not have time to respond to these. Please don't take my silence as
    consent.  You've picked a very busy and awkward time (conference season)
    to try to force decision-making through.  I spoke with Moon and Rees
    privately to find out if you were acting unilaterally in your
    presentation of these proposals and selecting a cut-off date or acting
    as the voice of the committee and it's my impression that they were as
    surprised as I that you were trying to run things in this way.

    Even though I don't agree with some of the proposals (which as I say, I've
    not had time to reply to), I definitely concur that it's good to have your 
    proposals on the table in concrete form so that we can debate them usefully.
    What I'm objecting to here is your sense of timing. 

I let everyone know when I sent out the first set of proposals what sort
of pace that I thought was appropriate and I received no complaints.
Maybe people were already swamped by then.  (Moon complained about my
proposed schedule for technical committee voting, but that as a
different issue.)  I think that this time of year is no different from
any other -- every time is bad for someone.  The real issue is whether
we wait to hear from everyone who might be temporarily buried, or try
to make decisions and move on.  That's a tough one.

I'm prepared to listen to suggestions from anyone about the timing of
all this, and about how things should be run in general.  All I ask is
that you first look carefully at the ISSUES file and think hard about
how long this will take under any schedule you care to propose.  I think
we have one year at the most to do whatever cleanup we are going to do
for the first version of the standard, including such things as errors
and objects.  If we must resign ourselves to taking longer than that,
that's OK, but in that case someone else will have to run the show.

The current way of doing all this is not working very well.  Maybe the
technical committee should decide things secretly among ourselves, then
divulge the result for a period of public comment, then hide again to
make final decisions.  Maybe we shouldn't focus on individual issues,
but should write up a spec with the changes marked and argue about that.
Maybe we need a discussion list that is moderated, so that people can't
drag us off on a tangent twice a day and so that DCP and NGALL get no
more than two screenfuls of comments a day.  (They've contributed
considerable good stuff along with lots of randomness, so I don't want
to stifle them.)

I have no desire to be a dictator about any of this, but I can easily
see us taking another month to decide how long it is going to take us to
decide how long it is going to take us if someone doesn't try to flog
things along a bit.

-- Scott