Re: Adjustments to our work mode - please read

Brian Smith <> Mon, 05 October 2015 23:46 UTC

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Date: Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:43:18 -1000
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From: Brian Smith <>
To: Mark Nottingham <>
Cc: HTTP Working Group <>, Barry Leiba <>
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Subject: Re: Adjustments to our work mode - please read
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On Sun, Oct 4, 2015 at 2:47 PM, Mark Nottingham <> wrote:

> Everyone,
> A number of folks have commented over the years about how it can be
> difficult to follow this mailing list. This is especially the case for HTTP
> implementers who don't have the time to focus on such a high-volume channel.

This is not a high-volume channel. Actually, watching the GitHub repo,
which would be required for participating in new discussion threads in the
issues and pull requests, will result in more volume than the mailing list,
because watching the GitHub repo results in the receipt of a lot of
automatically-generated mail.

> I've been concerned about this for some time, since it can be seen as
> biasing participation towards "professional" standards people, and away
> from implementers and users.

I would say that this change has more of a bias towards professional
standards people--people who attend the meetings--than the previous state
of things. If you look at the TLS WG as an example, the discussions on the
mailing list are much clearer to somebody who hasn't attended the meetings
than the issue tracker activity is.

> To make sure that those who don't wish to use the issue tracker aren't
> disadvantaged, we'll do a number of things, including:
> - Summarise (with links) the design issues closed by each draft when it is
> announced on this list
> - Allow issues to be re-opened when someone brings substantive new
> information (as always)
> - Allow those who do not wish to use the issues list to comment on this
> mailing list

Anybody that relies on the above three will be seriously disadvantaged
because their participation will have less impact. For example, if you wait
for an email that says a discussion of a design issue has been closed, you
are less likely to affect a change, compared to if you had participated in
the discussion earlier. Also, the people who choose to communicate via the
mailing list will inconvenience everybody else discussing things in the
issue tracker, and that inconvenience will result in bias against them.

> - Provide a separate, announce-only mailing list that is subscribed to
> every issue change, for those who do not want to use a github account to
> receive notifications. See: <

Note that GitHub comments can be edited and deleted after the fact, so it
is very important that the http-issues list be a reliable archive of all
the communication.

It is also important that the creation of new GitHub repositories be
announced at the time of creation, so that people can start watching them.

Note that this email isn't an objection to the change.