[cabfpub] [EXTERNAL]Re: Ballot XXX: Update Discussion Period

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Mon Dec 11 19:21:16 UTC 2017

1) That's a strawman - we have yet to have that issue
2) We have had a repeated issue with normative changes being passed off as
editorial changes, incorrectly
3) We've repeatedly had IPR issues that required sorting - a concern that
generally both the smaller members and CA members seem less sensitive to

I suspect the CA/Browser Forum is special because members are still in
disagreement about whether it's a legislative body (it's not) or a
standards defining organization (to some limited extent, yes, but broadly,
no). There is still a misguided view that the Forum sets the standards -
rather than the root stores defining the standards and the Forum either
incorporating them (as audit requirements) or leaving it to individual
programs to enforce.

I would rather focus on solving concrete problems. Our process - of
disseminating for early review and feedback, then going through review and
voting - provide ample time to address such issues. It's only when ballots
are rushed through - often without soliciting feedback - that the
second-order effects are felt. It's understandable if the ballot is
attempting to gauge interest - in which case, it should attempt to address
and/or highlight any issues it introduces or doesn't resolve - but
frequently, this is CAs failing to review their own business practices or
the implications of their proposals on their own business, and then hastily
trying to correct it. These aren't editorial, and it's a mistake to
conflate the two. I'm particularly concerned with the "we _intended_ X"
style of editorializing, which is a common pattern, much moreso than the
"we misspelled this" or "this section reference is wrong" (although section
references are normative and thus not editorial in nature)

On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:11 PM, Tim Hollebeek <tim.hollebeek at digicert.com>

> At some point someone needs to explain why CAB Forum is special, given
> that the ability to make editorial changes is uncontroversial in virtually
> every standards forum in existence.
> I’m still scratching my head as to why it takes 7 days to verify a
> spelling correction.
> -Tim
> *From:* Public [mailto:public-bounces at cabforum.org] *On Behalf Of *Ryan
> Sleevi via Public
> *Sent:* Monday, December 11, 2017 12:07 PM
> *To:* Virginia Fournier <vfournier at apple.com>; CA/Browser Forum Public
> Discussion List <public at cabforum.org>
> *Subject:* Re: [cabfpub] [EXTERNAL]Re: Ballot XXX: Update Discussion
> Period
> On Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 2:01 PM, Virginia Fournier via Public <
> public at cabforum.org> wrote:
> Further, I would encourage those proposing the "Editorial Language" to do
> so in a separate ballot. I think we'd be reasonably confident to say that
> this is not a problem being introduced by this Ballot, therefore, I would
> suggest we not attempt to solve it by attaching unnecessarily to this
> ballot.
> **VMF:  It *is* introduced by this ballot.  When you talk about changing a
> ballot, the obvious questions are (1) when can changes by made, and (2)
> what changes can be made.  It doesn’t make sense to say in one ballot that
> you can make changes to a ballot, and then wait for a subsequent ballot to
> answer (1) and (2).
> I think there's some confusion - the ballot (Ballot 216) does not specify
> changes can be made. You can read this in https://cabforum.org/
> pipermail/public/2017-December/012552.html
> I think we're in violent agreement that you cannot and should not specify
> changes can be made without specifying how and when those changes can be
> made :) Kirk was requesting the ballot to specify "changes can be made",
> hence the subsequent discussion - but those were not incorporated into the
> ballot put forward.
> As it stands, I think we remain concerned with changes in the discussion
> period, given both the past (lack of) precedent on this issue, and the past
> precedent of repeatedly trying to make changes that do harm, rather than
> good. I already highlighted how using votes as the attempt to object to
> such changes is detrimental to the productivity of the Forum and the
> ability to gather feedback from the broader community, values which we've
> traditionally held in high esteem. It seems that we can revisit this
> if/when proponents can show it having been an issue, but meanwhile, the
> ability to accidentally or intentionally do harm to ballots and the process
> far outweighs the (as of yet) non-existent cost.
> Those changes that have been desired in the past have been normative, not
> editorial, and so I suspect members promoting flexibility may be conflating
> the two - which certainly was a problem in those past discussions, and why
> I do not think this necessarily helps.
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