[foaf-protocols] WebID talk at W3C

Kingsley Idehen kidehen at openlinksw.com
Wed Aug 25 17:50:54 CEST 2010

  On 8/25/10 8:51 AM, Manu Sporny wrote:
> 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.

As you now, the email medium is far from perfect. It remains quite 
contextually challenged relative to the complexity of individual 
emotions etc..

Henry isn't trying to undermine you. He isn't up to any mischief. He is 
trying to promote, code, and QA at the same time. I am sure you know, in 
this mode, we all go kinda blunt. Nothing like distracting a developer 
let alone one that's adding QA and interop to the mix.

If you had made the subject "WebID talk at W3C" a little clearer (as 
indicated in my earlier mail) there would have been far less push-back. 
For instance "WebID+Flash talk with W3C Staff..." .

> 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.

When you make statements like the one above, you send the wrong message. 
You are still projecting: "its my way or the highway..." . You are a 
veteran of community building, there is a natural protocol common to all 
social setups i.e., you land on one foot before dropping the other.

 From my vantage point, you are pushing a single perspective a little to 
hard, and in the process you are riling community members that have 
spent lots of time and effort over the last year+ boostrapping WebID.

Let's all cool of here. Nobody is right or wrong, the nature and intent 
of the W3C meeting was unclear. That isn't the case anymore :-)

>   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.

Well, IMHO Henry has done (and continues to) a phenomenal job re. 
#WebID. I haven't had as much fun with something Linked Data related 
since the onset of DBpedia while bootstrapping LOD and the burgeoning 
Web of Linked Data.

WebID is the single most innovative application of HTTP that I've 
encountered post Linked Data.

> 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.

Don't get all of that commentary above. You're really being quite unfair 
in your comments, really.

> 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
> cause.
> 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.

All you had to was make the context of the session clearer. This only 
happened in your response to me etc..

> 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.

With all due respect to the W3C (a body I am a member of), they aren't 
some heavenly body :-) Let's put reality into perspective here. Linked 
Data wasn't a W3C thing, neither is WebID. If the W3C gets on board good 
for everyone, if they don't, so what? We'll continue working on this 
protocol, I will certainly be doing that irrespective.

Personally, just deliver the presentation with Henry. As you get to know 
him a little better, you will find it easier to parse he comments. Look 
at some of the the exchanges between Henry and I in the past, we 
eventually reconcile pretty strong opinions and then resume the WebID 
bootstrap journey.

> -- manu



Kingsley Idehen	
President&  CEO
OpenLink Software
Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter/Identi.ca: kidehen

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