Tracking proposals should be standardized with issues

Allen Wirfs-Brock allen at wirfs-brock.com
Mon May 16 21:24:27 UTC 2016


> On May 13, 2016, at 10:02 PM, Bob Myers <rtm at gol.com> wrote:
> 
> This entire process is quite unfriendly to grassroots proposals and I hope it can be tweaked.
> 
> > All proposals that are officially considered by TC39 have to have been submitted in conformance with the Ecma IPR policies including the RF patent policy and the software  copyright policy. 
> 
> Is putting a proposal into the stage 0 list, so people can see it, considered to be "officially considered by TC39"? There is already a mechanism in place (registration) for anyone to agree to the IPR policies.

Yes.  More generally anything that is hosted within the TC39 github site (with the exception of issues and pending pull requests) is a contribution subject to the IPR policies.  In order for a pull request to be accepted it has to conform to the policies.

> 
> > A TC39 member champion is necessary for a proposal in order to get items on meeting agendas and to lead meeting discussions relating to the proposal.  
> 
> Fine, but before we get to meetings and agendas we are talking about just putting a proposal on the list of stage 0 proposals so it's on the radar.


> 
> The CONTRIBUTING.md file you reference explicitly states (my emphasis):
> 
> > Ecma TC39 accepts contributions from non-member individuals who have accepted the TC39 copyright and patent policies. 
> 
> This seems to be in conflict with what I understand you are saying. Is it wrong? If so, can someone fix it?
> 
> But then later in the document it says
> 
> > convince others that your proposal is a useful addition to the language and recruit TC39 members
> 
> and 
> 
> > If you have a new proposal you want to get into the language, you first need a TC39 champion

There are two things at play here: conforming to the Ecma IPR policies and actual advancing a proposal through the TC39 process stages.

1) For a proposal (or any document) to be officially considered by TC39 it must be present (and archived) as a “contribution” that conforms to the IPR policy.
2) There needs to be somebody who is a TC39 member delegate who is willing manage the proposal through the TC39 process. That is the “champion”. Without champion it won’t even get on a meeting agenda.

> 
> Is there a distinction here between a "contribution" and a "proposal”? 

A proposal is a kind of contribution.  Basically anything document submitted to TC39 is a contribution.

> 
> Then in https://tc39.github.io/process-document/ <https://tc39.github.io/process-document/>, it says that there is a "strawman" stage 0 and lists the "Entrance Requirements" as "none". In the same document, it says
> 
> > Ideas for evolving the ECMAScript language are accepted in any form. Any discussion, idea or proposal for a change or addition which has not been submitted as a formal proposal is considered to be a “strawman” (stage 0) and has no acceptance requirements. Such submissions must either come from members of TC39 or from non-members who have registered via Ecma International.
> 
> Is this incorrect? If so, it should be fixed.

I believe I wrote those words… The “none” is incorrect, to the extent that the stage 0 proposal must be a contribution conforming to the IPR policies.  Note that a slide deck presented by a member delegate at a TC39 meeting automatically meets that criteria, so from a member’s perspective there are essentially no “Entrance Requirements”.

Non-members can submit a proposal via the registration process.  There is currently no guarantee that anyone involved with TC39 is going to pay any attention to it. That’s where the need to recruit a champion comes in.

The original thinking when the TC39 process was being drafted was that non-member “proposals" would be discussed on es-discuss or other public forums that are followed by TC39 participants.  The expectations is that interesting proposals and good ideas would be noticed and championed by TC39 participants. (Historically, a number of ideas incorporated into the ECMAScript specifications have originated within es-discuss threads)

> 
> > I agree that TC39 could do a better job at providing an in-take process.  For example, it could have a “Request for consideration” channel and a regular agenda item to solicit members who may have an interest in championing such requests. But setting that up requires some TC39 member(s)  who are interested in championing that process change and managing it going forward.
> 
> Hmmm, a champion for a process to find champions? One idea that springs to mind is to have a forward-looking TC39 member agree to serve as interim champion for grassroots proposals from non-insiders, although they would need to be able to reject extremely poor proposals.

Yup, there is a meta level to TC39.  Yes, something like that  was what I was thinking.  

> 
> By the way, the current stage 0 list at https://github.com/tc39/proposals/blob/master/stage-0-proposals.md <https://github.com/tc39/proposals/blob/master/stage-0-proposals.md> starts off by saying that "Stage 0 proposals have been presented to the committee", but then includes proposals with the rocket ship icon which are "as not yet presented to the committee". Which is it? Are stage 0 proposals supposed to be presented to the committee to acquire that status, or not, or it varies? It's also worth noting that a number of these stage 0 proposals are very old, and/or their docs indicate they have been superseded, or in one case have no link to anything, Is there any process for removing things from the stage 0 list?

These are collective ownership issues. There isn’t a single “editor” of all this TC39 web content. Another meta-level issue for TC39.

But thanks for your concern.  Really!

Allen

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