[LINK] Standards Australia's standard for "conflict of interest"

Janet Hawtin lucychili at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 21:05:33 EST 2008

> On Wed, 2008-02-20 at 15:08 +1100, Roger Clarke wrote:

>  2)  Paid-for editing confronts one of the core values of the
>      Wikipedia editors

NPOV neutral point of view as a value distinct from the interests of
the folk closely related to the article/topic.
Fact with independent referencing.
Recognising that personal or subjective material and primary research
are not a good fit for an encyclopedia because it needs to meet a more
objective factual purpose.
Similar kinds of issues to a standards process imho.
A set of criteria which define what is fit for purpose.

> It would have been better if Microsoft/ECMA paid Rick's way and he be
> available to the BRM delegations as the resource to put ECMA's point of
> view in more detail than in the Response.  That is, being available to
> explain his work, but not being available to evaluate his work.

Is this a suggestion which would be useful?
Are there precedents for that kind of attendance?

On Feb 20, 2008 6:11 PM, Glen Turner <gdt at gdt.id.au> wrote:

> I would have hoped for a more upset response from Linux Australia
> for this particular instance.

Linux Australia submitted comments.
They included concern that duplicate non-interoperable standards was
not a good outcome for a small nation with small developers and
companies aiming to make information reliably and efficiently
accessible to all.
Support for existing technical specific concerns?
A specific request for Standards Australia to ensure that ooxml was
legally safe for use in/with free software and by independent open
source and free software developers.
The legal permissions relating to copyright and patents were not a
straightforward RAND reasonable and non discriminatory permission to
use the materials.
A promise is not a strong legal term. No coverage for people who were
in court v Microsoft
It not cover any referenced material which was not specifically
included in the core document. (ie did not cover the material which
referred to the not included legacy formats) Word wrap like word 95
and such like.

These comments were made earlier in the process.
It is difficult to tell what role they have played (if any) in the
process as Australia did not include legal concerns
with its submission of technical comments to ISO. NZ did include legal
Not clear to me what is usual/best practice.

There are likely to be more recent contributions which are written by
people with legal backgrounds and which may take into account any
changes to the legal and technical framing which have occurred over
the past months.

I do think those core questions are good criteria.
Is it specific, useful and independently implementable?
Does it interoperate with existing standards?
Is it legally safe to use? all of it? for everyone? all of the time?
and given this process I would add:

Does the means that it is produced, maintained, updated, communicated
facilitate the function of a standard in that it is a publically
useful resource which enables people to implement interfacing
technologies and formats in a way which does not disadvantage or
advantage one participant over another.

I think that the ECMA fast track has shown people why folks working on
standards participate in challenging multiperspective and public
processes: a closed process does not reliably produce something which
is fit for purpose.

The process of wikipedia is challenging because it is trying to choose
and refine material so that it makes a good wikipedia through public
negotiation. Procedural transparency and clarity of vision around 'fit
for purpose' criteria for Australian standards are imho important to
the function of the brand.

This particular process is an anomaly because
- the document is so large that it distorts the process, particularly
in a fast track
- it does not feel like it is legally scoped to make it easy for
someone to say yes I can use this safely
- it does not feel like it is technically structured to make it a good
reference for implementation
- legal and technical information have not always been easy to find
- there have been concerns about the ways that new countries have
joined the process to vote but who have not processed any of the other
standards which have been a part of the workflow. This has resulting
in viable proposals not being made a standard simply because with the
influx of people wanting to vote only on ooxml there is no quorum for
other work.
- there are many existing standards which this would not interface
with effectively

All of these issues suggest to me that it would be useful to review
the process itself to ensure that it is robust and able to function,
and that it is also able to respond where a submission is procedurally
indigestible or conflicted.

It has been a steep learning curve for me.
I apologise if my efforts to express these perspectives have been clumsy.
I think an additional advantage of transparent processes would be to
enable newcomers to learn the ropes by watching the processes, being
able to see what should happen next, where the technical and legal
pieces of the puzzle should go.
I think real standards based interoperable systems and formats will be
important for Australia's continued particpation and innovation. It
would be great to foster techniques for helping new people to learn
and contribute.


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