[cabfpub] FW: Associate member of the CA/B Forum

kirk_hall at trendmicro.com kirk_hall at trendmicro.com
Mon Apr 11 21:38:16 UTC 2016

Two responses.

1.       On people sending memos, etc. in advance of face to face meetings – that’s a good thing, not a bad thing, and in many cases the other members (including browser members) have asked people to do this!  Otherwise, a very complex new topic may be introduced at a meeting, and people use up all the time trying to understand what’s being proposed and can’t use the time to offer well considered responses.  In my opinion, we often make much better and faster progress when we discuss a difficult issue in person or on a teleconference.

2.      The issue of whether and how to open up the Forum to more voices comes up often.  I have said multiple times – I would not oppose, and might even favor, a new email address where anyone in the world could post on issues before us – so long as someone volunteers to moderate the postings and exclude trolls, etc.  And I would want to keep this list separate from the current management@ (which deals with logistics issues among members) and separate from the public@ list (which I think requires signing the IPR and becoming an Associate Member to have posting rights).  I think many of the blogging sites run by others suffer from too many postings from people with strong opinion but who are not directly affected by the subject at hand, who sometimes drown out other voices, and I wouldn’t want that to happen with what we already have (which seems a pretty efficient method for us to do our business).  But a third email address for an open list that someone volunteers to moderate could be useful.

From: Ryan Sleevi [mailto:sleevi at google.com]
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 2:24 PM
To: Kirk Hall (RD-US)
Cc: Dean Coclin; public at cabforum.org
Subject: Re: [cabfpub] FW: Associate member of the CA/B Forum

On Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 2:05 PM, kirk_hall at trendmicro.com<mailto:kirk_hall at trendmicro.com> <kirk_hall at trendmicro.com<mailto:kirk_hall at trendmicro.com>> wrote:

Given that the list is Public, and both Interested Parties and Associate Members can participate, this seems an entirely appropriate venue. If there are items being discussed on our calls or meetings that aren't reflected completely to the list (as I expressed concern about), isn't that symptomatic of a broader issue that won't be solved by adding associate members?

See comments above.  Associate Members will also participate with comments on the Public List just as Members do, so presumably their views will be widely distributed there.  But in many cases the greatest value can come from someone in the room saying on the spot “Wait a moment, have you thought of this?” and giving us all immediate feedback.  I think that can be lost in email strings.

That generally seems to be an idealised form of how our meetings work. Most often, it's rehashing what's been said on the list multiple times and in multiple ways, but is somehow new to members (e.g. implying they're not following the list).

I agree that immediate and real time feedback can provide value, but as we've seen from the past several meetings, there's a growing attempt to pre-load a lot of the discussion in advance (re: the topic of "discussion leaders" and sending out notes in advance of the F2F). It would seem that many times, our F2F discussions are rehashing what has been said a variety of ways on the list, or potentially explaining the technical background for the less-technical members of the group - particularly when the spec addresses it.

I also think that under your model of 'trade associations' being Associate Members, the probability of real-time actionable feedback is a bit less, precisely because it's no one single organization being represented, but a diverse set of members who may have differing requirements. So we can't reasonably expect an Associate Member to, on the spot, explain something, much in the same way it's already challenging for Member CAs to commit to things (i.e. the usual "I'd need to go back to Policy/Legal/Compliance/Technical and get feedback on the proposal")

As I prefaced my original remarks, we've been strong proponents of greater participation in the Forum, and welcome contributions from new members and interested parties alike. Certainly, we build a robust system by making sure to consider the diversity of positions and feedback. However, having participated in a number of SDOs, experience has been that without strong agenda setting, without deep investment in the ecosystem from participants, and without great investments into transparency and openness, having greater real-time participants is often directly and negatively correlated with the value of such real-time meetings. I would think, especially given the diverse stakeholders that such umbrella organizations reflect, the asynchronous nature of list-discussions provides greater, not less, opportunity for participation and involvement.

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