[cabfpub] Proposed Ballot 183 (Ballot process)

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Mon Jan 9 20:23:51 UTC 2017

On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 10:44 AM, Virginia Fournier via Public <
public at cabforum.org> wrote:

> Hi Kirk and all,
> Please see my responses to your comments below.  I’ve also attached an
> updated draft with redlines to show changes from the last draft.  The
> diagram is also included for those who may not have seen it.

Thanks for the work you, Chris, and others in working on this. I have
various questions about "exceptional" situations that might arise due to
interpretation differences in this ballot. My hope is that we can try to
find a way to minimize these, if possible, or reach common consensus and
understanding about what might happen otherwise. Please understand that
while this is a rather large list, largely of hypotheticals, my goal is to
try to ensure we have, as best as possible, some sort of 'ground rules' for
the formation of a PAG in response to Ballot 182. I've intentionally
avoided making specific recommendations right now, mostly so that we can
see which of these scenarios we believe is likely, without getting
distracted by objections to particular solutions. If we can agree that
"Yes, this might be a problem" for various bits, I'm hoping we can come to
quick and easy solutions. Similarly, if "No, that's not a problem because
X" is the answer, then I wouldn't want to add to an already over-long email
by discussing possible solutions to non-issues.

It would be great to know if you agree with these interpretations, and the
potential issues that arise, or otherwise know if I've missed something in
either the reading or interpretation.

2.3(c) - What occurs, if anything, if two Ballots propose modifications to
the same text at the same time? More specifically, what is it members are
voting on with the Ballot - the redline changes being made or the final
text containing the BR-version-at-time-of-voting with redline applied?
  Possible Conclusions/Suggestions that have been made in the past:
   a) The Chair has discretion to correct/resolve any errors/conflicts that
     a.1) What would prevent the Chair from intentionally/unintentionally
introducing new IPR risk during their modifications?
   b) Prohibit a new Ballot from being started while another Ballot is
still pending that modifies that same section/that would otherwise result
in such a conflict
     b.1) Proposers right now set the associated timelines (for review &
voting); the Bylaws only specify the minimum bounds. Presumably, one might
want to consider an upper-bound to prevent 'squatting'
   c) Allow both ballots to proceed
     c.1) How do we determine what the final text is if both ballots
conclude at the same time?
     c.2) Should we require that the 'more recently proposed' ballot
include provisions about any existing ballots?

2.3(d) / 2.3(e) - These seven day voting periods both represent lower
bounds, not exact bounds. For example, members may choose to extend voting
to 14 days if, for example, they believe that holidays might interfere with
or otherwise impact a vote.

2.3(g) - This is an existing issue with the Bylaws, so I'm more than happy
to accept it may not be appropriate to change in this revision, but it's
worth noting that the membership criteria does not define "product
suppliers" - it defines "browsers". I suspect this is one of the many
internal self-inconsistencies, but I would hope that in the absence of
correcting this, we agree that the interpretation of this requirement is
2.3(a)(3) of the Bylaws (v1.4)

2.3(h) - Is it correct to suggest that "both teleconference and
face-to-face meetings" be reworded as "either teleconference or
face-to-face-meetings"? I'd be curious to know if this change presents any
disagreement, but my understanding is that our Quorum has been taken as the
union of the past three.
  a) One possible issue with this Quorum has been the example of the "IPR
Task Force". As the Bylaws provide no such definition of what a "Task
Force" is, we must conclude either it's
     1) a "Working Group" (which requires the production of Ballot to
     2) a regular Forum meeting (meaning that Quorum is defined over two
weeks - 1 regular meeting, 1 TF meeting, 1 regular meeting - rather than
the four weeks it takes for 3 regular bi-weekly meetings)
     3) or a meeting of independent parties outside the CA/Browser Forum
(which means no IP protections apply).
 b) Otherwise, we have the possibility of measuring quorum as only those
that have participated in both teleconferences *and* the past three
meetings, which does not seem a correct read

2.3(i) - The Forum leaves it ambiguous as to who is directed to complete
this action, as well as what implications this has, if any, for the
'finalization' of the ballot if it's failed to be followed.
  1) For example, if the Chair is on vacation during the close of the
voting period, does the Vice-Chair take this action?
  2) If either the Chair or Vice-Chair fail to take this action, is the
Ballot still considered valid? Invalid?

2.3(j) - This is better in that it directs the Chair to take a particular
action, but fails to consider what implications, if any, happen if the
Chair fails to take this action.
  1) Assume the Chair is on vacation again. For purposes of IP Review, does
the Period begin on that second business day, or does it begin when the
chair returns?
  2) Assume the Vice-Chair sends out the message. For purposes of the
Bylaws, does that constitute notice of the IP Review Period?
  3) We previously had the very unfortunate issue where the Chair was
employed by the same company as the one submitting the Exclusion Notice,
and there was some ambiguity with regards to whether the submission was
made by the deadline. In line with Kirk's previous remarks, do you believe
there's any path to correct this with the Bylaws, or would you view this as
necessitating a change to the IPR Policy (specifically, Section 4.3)

2.3(j) - Again, assume the Chair fails in any of these steps, what do you
believe happens / should happen?
  1) Chair fails to distribute Exclusion Notices within two business days
after the Review Period closes
  2) Chair distributes an incomplete set of Exclusion Notices
  3) Chair's MTA represents to the person making the Exclusion Notice that
mail has been successfully queued for delivery (e.g. the mail server
reports to the sender that it's accepted)
     a) Chair encounters a mailbox corruption issue and loses exclusion
     b) Chair's antivirus system later quarantines the mail so that it's
not kept in their inbox, but instead moved to a quarantine

2.3(k) - Is there any timeframe for this notification? Unlike other
requirements directed at the Chair, this doesn't seem to be.
2.3(k) - I believe "public website list" was a typo, and it just meant to
say "public website" ?
2.3(k) - For avoiding any ambiguity, historically the interpretation was
that a Ballot is "in force" when a new versions of the Guideline are made
public on the website. Do you believe this section supports that
  a) One interpretation is that "the Initial Vote is deemed to be final and
approved" the moment the Review Period closes, but
    1) What happens if the Chair failed to distribute Exclusion Notices per
2.3(j), due to the reasons I mentioned. Is the Ballot's finality keyed on
2.3(j) being successful?
  b) Another interpretation would be that it would be once the Chair sent
out the mail, regardless of what was published on the public website
  c) Another interpretation would be that it is only once it's published on
the public website (e.g. once all of 2.3(k) has been met)

2.3(l)(i) - This requires that a PAG to be formed, but there's no guarantee
that a PAG will be formed, in either the Bylaws or the IPR. That is, given
that the PAG is voluntary, what actions, if any, happen if there are no
volunteers for the PAG (for example, due to concerns regarding knowing

2.3(l)(ii) - How are material changes determined? Is that the discretion of
the Chair? The discretion of the proposers? The Forum at large?

2.3(l)(ii) - How is it determined that the PAG has provided a
recommendation? Is it through action of the Chair? Through a formal Ballot
of consensus?

2.3(l)(ii) - What happens if the PAG declines to provide a recommendation
in a timely fashion? For example, a PAG is convened, ten members are
initially active, but response tapers and the PAG does not formally
recommend any action. What occurs to the Ballot? What occurs to any future

2.3(l)(ii)(B) - For purposes of clarity, is it fair to state the the Ballot
has failed for IPR (as a distinct case from failing for lack of quorum or
failing due to lack of Yes votes)?

2.3(l)(iii) - It would seem this step would allow the PAG to 'indefinitely'
keep a ballot hostage, even if it is successfully voted on by members. This
relates to the ambiguity of recommendation (per the questions re:
2.3(l)(ii)), but I'm struggling to find anything that would prevent the
following: Ballot proposed, Forum votes yes, IP exclusion received, PAG
formed, only the excluder joins the PAG (thus leaving no Chair), excluder
(does not make a recommendation in a timely fashion or recommends not
proceeding). In the case of not making a recommendation, it seems the
Ballot is "hung" forever. In the case of recommending not proceeding, it
seems that the cycle can continue indefinitely, until additional members
join the PAG (so as to recommend some other action). In that case, we
potentially have a 'hung PAG' (imagine 2 members with 50/50 split), and
this is why the questions about the nature of a PAG are relevant.
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