Every once is a while I get an anonymous comment or a tip about something that happened in “closed” standards meetings. This is especially true lately where the various national bodies are deliberating whether they should support Microsoft’s OOXML product specification for Microsoft Office. I’m not going to publish this information, but I appreciate your trying to get the information out.
I urge you to directly request that the voting rules on this important issue are made public immediately. The bizarre variety of rules needs to be made known and, moreover, all citizens of all countries involved need to understand:
- Who is able to vote?
- Who is not able to vote?
- What are the voting rules that will govern a YES, ABSTAIN, or NO vote?
- Are the rules balanced to equally decide to accept or reject the proposal, or significantly leaning toward accepting it?
- How were the comments processed? Were they all given due consideration or were they discarded without proper review?
- What was the schedule and procedures and were they adhered to carefully and fairly?
Slanted, inappropriate, and biased behavior (in any way in any direction and for anyone) is not allowable, in my mind, when deciding this and other important standards issues. I repeat: All this information must be made public and those running the processes must be accountable to each other, their fellow citizens, and the various standards organizations and committees in which they participate.
This is transparency, this is good community behavior, this is openness. Anything else is a sham and an embarrassing scandal in the making.
All this information will be public eventually. It’s best to just do the right thing now.