[foaf-protocols] WebID talk at W3C

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Wed Aug 25 14:51:39 CEST 2010

On 08/25/2010 03:54 AM, Henry Story wrote:
> On 25 Aug 2010, at 06:05, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> No offense taken. However, I should point out that it is our demo
>> that was the basis for this meeting with the W3C this coming
>> Thursday.
> That is very good, and much appreciated. Though perhaps if I had
> presented them a demo, they would also have been very interested?

Perhaps, but that's not what happened. Although, as I'll explain below,
it probably doesn't matter at this point.

>> One of the things they were expecting to see was a demo of WebID -
>> and that was supposed to be a small part of an overall
>> demonstration on Identity on the Web.
> Now they want 20 minutes of WebID+flash, and a very small mention of
> WebID. I am going to put that down to Doug Schepers, who seems intent
> on creating increasing tension whenever he can - as I think people on
> this list witnessed very clearly last week, forcing us to EXCUSE
> ourselves, for mentioning the existence of this meeting! WoW! It's
> frankly not surprising given the way he deals with external
> communities, that most of the work in the social web space has
> occurred outside of the W3C. (sorry just had to let off a bit of
> steam there, having been quiet and taking abuse on the chin for a
> week now)

Henry, I'm going to be blunt because I don't think you understand what
has happened over the last week.

W3C is very unlikely to pick up the WebID work at this point and the
main reason for that is your behavior both on and off list over the past
week. It's not Doug that is creating tension - it is you. When you go
out and insult a group that it is attempting to help us out, in a public
forum (like you do above), inevitably, it creates tension. When you
openly insult /the person/ that is rooting for us on the inside of W3C,
it creates irreparable damage.

I'm also creating tension as I feel obligated to defend why we've chosen
to present the WebID work in the way that we have. It is clear that what
I've proposed to discuss with W3C is not acceptable to a vocal group in
the WebID community. There is truth in both of these viewpoints. I've
tried, repeatedly, to make you and the rest of this community happy with
what is being presented.

Since you have been telling the W3C repeatedly that the Javascript+Flash
WebID demo is flawed and untested and is not representative of this
community, it's created this cloud of doubt around the presentation. If
your goal was to strip me of credibility, I think you've accomplished it.

In other words, if this community can't come together and do a 1 hour
presentation, and is openly insulting the group where the work will take
place, the likelyhood of standardization success is very low. This is
one of the fundamental things that any standards group looks at when
deciding whether or not to start new work - the community and its
leadership. Just so we're clear, I'm not claiming to have any leadership
position in this community (obviously), but am attempting to act as a
liason between W3C and the identity communities.

Henry, you have made this process so incredibly difficult for people at
W3C, myself and our engineering team that I doubt that I made a good
decision to try and bring this work to W3C at this point.

The most important component to any standards making process is that the
community can get along and work through their issues in a professional
manner. I don't think what has transpired over the past week or so is
very professional and statements like the ones you make above damage the

I also blame myself for not being able to keep the disagreements from
spiraling out of control and not being able to find consensus on the
presentation quickly enough.

That said, I'm really trying to work with you and have integrated most
of your feedback into the presentation. I don't have much hope for the
meeting tomorrow, though, due what I've outlined above. That doesn't
mean that I won't try my very best to integrate everything that has been
said on this list and also be fair to the other identity communities...
just that getting this meeting together has been a clusterf&#* and that
has not gone unnoticed.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: WebID - Universal Login for the Web

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