[rtcweb] On the form of the question (was Re: Alternative consensus and MTI video codecs)

Adam Roach <adam@nostrum.com> Fri, 08 November 2013 16:01 UTC

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Subject: [rtcweb] On the form of the question (was Re: Alternative consensus and MTI video codecs)
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On 11/8/13 04:31, Ron wrote:
> ...what we had today was essentially "just a vote".  If it had been conclusive, that would have been great, but it wasn't...

Well, to be fair, it did involve a rather long discussion of the various 
factors impacting the decision. The show of hands was ostensibly an 
attempt to suss out whether the arguments had proven compelling enough 
to push forward with one codec over the other.

Sadly, the form of the question, when combined with the method of 
measurement, precluded doing so.

I'm not claiming that there was consensus in the room. I'm claiming that 
its presence would not have been detected by the methodology employed. 
Consider: if everyone in the room raised their hand for both options, 
Richard would have been compelled to call it "no consensus" even though 
that result would logically mean that no one objects to either option.

Clearly, that didn't happen.

On the other hand, what *did* happen was that we had roughly 50% of the 
room say that they were willing to live with H.264, and roughly 30% of 
the room say they were willing to live with VP8. This, after the chairs 
*strongly* *encouraged* people who could live with either option to 
raise their hands for both options. We didn't explicitly ask for who was 
in both camps (and those people at the front of the room facing the 
participants did nothing to gauge overlap), nor did we try to suss out 
who was abstaining by not raising their hand.

As a result, the numbers are meaningless. On one extreme: If those sets 
of people were completely disjoint, then we're nowhere near consensus. 
At the other extreme: if the set of people who could accept VP8 were a 
strict subset of the set of people who could accept H.264, then we would 
have obvious consensus and could move forward. I know that neither of 
these scenarios are true, but measuring where the participants fell in 
that continuum would have been the true measure of the sense of the room.

So, sadly, we learned nothing.

For the record, and I'm hoping others will follow suit (since, as you 
pointed out, consensus is measured on the list): I'm of the opinion that 
either of the two options on the table are acceptable[1][2].


[1] I recognize that approaches other than H.264 and VP8 have been 
casually mentioned on-list; but, if an approach is so unpopular that it 
hasn't yet found a proponent willing to spend the meager amount of time 
necessary to type up and submit an internet draft advocating it, then I 
have to assume that its chances of reaching critical mass are 
approximately zero. I will not waste my time or yours favoring or 
rebutting them until someone gets serious about them.

[2] Ironically, I'm somewhat regretting that I indicated this in the 
room: I was trying to be accommodating to both positions, and I know 
several other people who did the same. Had the indications of support 
been more partisan, it's possible that one of the two camps would have 
been revealed to be in the rough.