Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Comments for That Old-Skool Smell, Part 2

January 2012:

The discussion took up a large chunk of January:

Result: no change. Mailing lists are not going to be retired by the W3C any time soon, regardless of the obviousness of problems.

I'm not sure that mailing lists are, per sae, bad. The issues I'm flagging aren't even about them; they're about the efficiency of the organization towards the attention it demands of participants in the progress. There's a lot that lists can accomplish (although I don't think they're the best way to do design, e.g.). But using them for everything means they'll be pressed into service for things they're clearly not suited to.

by alex at
Yeah, there are some tooling things that are pretty clunky. Of course there are some that are pretty awesome too.

I've never encountered an organisation that can make actual meetings work as efficiently as W3C, which is something.

There is a very very strong culture of documentation at W3C. Looking back to 2005, it is usually pretty easy to find out why something was done the way it was. That gets more difficult for things from last century, but it is often still possible. Compared to many "modern" systems (such as unrecorded voice chat) where there is no really searchable record, that's something I find to be of immense value.

Yes, mailing lists are not the be-all, end-all tool. But it turns out many people involved with W3C spend a lot of their day in mail already, which adds to its advantages as a common baseline.

The dashboard issue is more complex to resolve - although you're right that the general lack of them is a pretty simple problem to understand.

by chaals at