[cabfpub] DRAFT Ballot Forum-XX: Allow Informative Changes to Guidelines

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Wed Sep 11 15:40:45 UTC 2019

On Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 11:14 AM Dimitris Zacharopoulos (HARICA) via Public
<public at cabforum.org> wrote:

> I probably got confused by processing all the previous discussions, during
> the F2F, teleconferences and the recent discussion on the CA/B Forum
> plenary public list.
> Leaving the EV Guidelines change aside, which you are absolutely correct
> and I didn't consider it properly, the rationale of making this a
> Forum-ballot is because the procedures for updating the Guidelines affect
> all Working Groups. The existing Server Certificate WG Charter doesn't say
> anything about how the ballots take place because this is described in the
> Bylaws. Passing a Forum Ballot with an accepted practice would affect all
> Working Groups and therefore we would not need to pass the same ballot for
> each Working Group. Please note the Motion language which starts with "The
> Chair or Vice-Chair of a CWG..."

This language does not work at a Forum level, because it implicitly assumes
a document structure to Final Guidelines or Final Maintenance Guidelines,
except those are determined at the CWG level. If that's your goal, then it
emphasizes precisely why it needs to be in the Bylaws. If that's not your
goal, that emphasizes precisely why it should be up to CWGs to decide when
adopting a Final Guideline or Final Maintenance Guideline.

> I did not propose updating the Bylaws because the majority of Members
> wanted to have more substantial changes collected for Bylaws updates
> because of the extra revisions (though legal and other departments). You
> also supported that we should not make small changes to Bylaws very
> frequently. I tried to capture that in this ballot which is why it is not a
> Bylaws update but a "Forum approved" practice, which already happens today.

That doesn't mean it's OK to /avoid/ changing the Bylaws; that means it's
better to *batch* the change. Or, you know, propose the change anyways and
see how/if folks accept it.

> There is no contravention of the Bylaws as far as this procedure is
> concerned. The Bylaws are silent about these changes.

Absolutely not. These are currently part of a CWGs Final Guideline / Final
Maintenance Guideline, which have a defined process for adoption and review
of all changes.

> If you consider that this proposed procedure violates the Bylaws, then you
> are practically saying that all existing Guidelines published on our web
> site are invalid.

The entire point should be to reduce ambiguity and to provide the
appropriate guidance. The only way to reduce that ambiguity is to ensure
it's captured within the Bylaws. While this may "seem" like a minor point,
the entire objective is to avoid a situation where "The bylaws say X", then
a ballot comes about that says "but we meant Y".

> If members feel that this needs to be an SCWG ballot, I'd gladly move it
> to the SCWG public list. If members feel this should be a Forum ballot, for
> the reasons mentioned above, I will revise the ballot and remove the
> changes to the EV Guidelines, as these would have to be performed at the
> SCWG. I therefore welcome some feedback from other members as well.
> I also feel a bit offended by your expression that I am "committed to
> avoiding changes to the Bylaws". I would very much like to make this a
> Bylaws update but I respect the majority's opinion not to make small
> changes to Bylaws.

It's unclear why offense was received, but it was certainly not intended.
You made it clear in your earlier message that you believe this should be
in the Bylaws and you are intentionally not placing it in the Bylaws. That
seems a very clear, intentional choice, especially in light of past
discussion why it should be in the Bylaws, not do it.

In our past conversations, I tried to helpfully guide you to solutions that
would comply, but it seems those are misremembered or misunderstood.
1) Change the Bylaws at the Forum level to allow CWGs to designate
informative sections of the FG/FMG which can be modified by the CWG
Chair/Vice-Chair (Forum Ballot) and have the SCWG & CSWGs designate the
appropriate sections that meet that criteria
2) Another option, which we did not discuss at length, but has tied in to
past discussions on infrastructure, but which also clearly solves this, and
w/o a change to Bylaws, is to remove the aforementioned sections from the
FG/FMG such that they are not officially part of the FG/FMG, and merely
aspects of the presentational format.

Put differently, #2 is highlighting that we don't dispute whether the Chair
or Vice-Chair is allowed to produce a PDF or Word Doc version of the
FG/FMG, even though those transform the representation. The version in
GitHub does not, for example, have page numbers or a footer checked in -
those are part of the presentation that's generated, as is the Table of
Contents. The infrastructure group even looked at how to remove the need
for the cover page being part of the document, by having that appended
during the presentational generation.

The "issue" here that you're trying to work around is that specific tables
have been incorporated into the FG/FMG itself. One option is to say
"They're still part of the FG/FMG, but the Chair / Vice-Chair are allowed
to change them independent of the IP review if the CWG should so designate
and indicate", another option is to just have the CWG remove them from the
FG/FMG, and allow the Chair to add them as part of the publication process,
indicating what is part of the FG/FMG and what is part of document
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