[cabfpub] [EXTERNAL]Re: Draft SMIME Working Group Charter

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Tue Feb 5 21:39:23 UTC 2019

On Tue, Feb 5, 2019 at 4:29 PM Dean Coclin <dean.coclin at digicert.com> wrote:

> While that’s true, there’s also the risk to that approach in that the
> community feels that topic X is not included in the charter and therefore
> will not be addressed or feel that it’s not important a topic to be
> addressed.
> By including it in the initial charter and by specifying the order of
> events, that insures it will be covered at some point. The charter can say
> simply (with better wording):
> “Topics A, B, C and X, Y, Z will be covered in the charter. Topics A, B, C
> will be the first ones addressed in the initial release of the guidelines.
> Topics X, Y, Z will be addressed in a subsequent release. The initial
> guidelines will have to be voted on and approved prior to moving to topics
> X, Y, Z.” This avoids the risk you describe about starting to work on the
> secondary topics before the first ones are approved.
> This insures the relevant topics expressed by the community are in scope
> but that an ordering is preferred and necessary. It also avoids a problem
> later on by anyone who doesn’t want to cover topics X, Y, Z and forces the
> working group to disband before they are addressed.

I suspect we'll disagree on this, but what you describe as a bug is
actually a feature.

It defers the debate about topics X, Y, and Z, and how to address them, and
when to address them, to a time later suited, in order to ensure that focus
is executed on A, B, C.

I'm supportive of language that helps assuage folks concerns by clarifying
that it's excluded from scope without a statement about fitness for
purpose, if that is the only reason to include X, Y, Z in the charter, but
I believe there is substantial harm in including it as you've presented,
for the reasons I explained previously.

And while I realize that many members would prefer not to think about IP
issues, including X, Y, and Z in scope mean that, at any time,
participation may touch on IP on those topics, even if they're not 'yet'
being tackled. Explicitly excluding from scope, and rechartering, helps
provide meaningful check points for progress.

Just as we talk about how "good" ballots are one that are focused and
narrow to a problem at hand - which the Validation WG has done a fairly
great job at demonstrating - the same applies to charters. Keeping focus is
extremely valuable, and we shouldn't compromise that.
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