OASIS Board approves TC Process changes that address key issues

The OASIS TC Process, the policy document governing work at OASIS, is a product of your Board of Directors. Each July, the Board's Process Committee presents its list of proposed changes to the full Board for consideration. Any changes proposed are typically in response to issues the Committee has observed or that have been brought to the Committee by members.

This past Wednesday, July 25th, the OASIS Board of Directors approved a set of updates that address significant pain points we have observed over the past few years. This email gives a short summary of the changes. An online meeting will be held in August to explain them in more detail and additional documentation will be send out in the weeks ahead.

The updated process takes effect tomorrow, August 1st. The changes:

• Eliminate the need for public reviews for non-material content changes
• Allow Statements of Use from non-OASIS members
• Ease the process of rechartering
• Allow all TCs to make ballot motions by email without having to adopt standing rules
• Clarify how a TC can close a sub-committee
• Clairify that documents referenced in a proposed Charter must be publicly available.

Each of these is discussed below.

1. Eliminate the need for public reviews for non-material content changes

The current TC Process requires a public review even if the changes made to a draft are trivial (for example mis-spellings or broken links). This has put TCs in the position of having to decide between holding a public review of no value or approving a final document with known deficiencies.

Under the approved process, a TC will now be able to request a Special Majority Vote to approve a Committee Specification or Committee Note when the only changes since the last public review are non-material. The TC will need to provide a record of the changes made along with their motion to proceed with the ballot.

In order to ensure transparency and accountability, TC Admin will announce such ballots to the membership. When the ballot closes, assuming it passes, the draft will be published as a Committee Specification or Committee Note. Note that should any OASIS member object that some of the changes are indeed material, the ballot will stop and the TC will need to do another public review.

Based on my experience this past year, I expect this to reduce the number of public reviews by as much as 25%. Even better, it will enable you to make those last finishing touches that will improve the quality of your final deliverables without incurring any process penalty.

See the definition of “non-material change” in the Definitions section and section 3.3, Approval of a Committee Specification or Committee Note for the description of the new approval process.

2. Allow Statements of Use from non-OASIS members

Statements of Use are required before a Committee Specification can be presented to the OASIS members for consideration as a Candidate OASIS Standard. The current TC Process requires that all Statements of Use come from OASIS members. For some TCs this has posed a barrier to advancing their work because the TC is small and most implementations have been done outside OASIS.

Under the approved process, a TC will be allowed to accept up to two of the three required Statements of Use from non-OASIS members.

See the new definition of “Statement of Use” in the Definitions section and section 3.4.1, Submission of a Candidate OASIS Standard for the change to the submission requirement.

3. Rechartering is now easier

Under the current TC Process, rechartering a TC has required starting a new Kavi group, giving the TC a new name abbreviation and closing the TC for an extended period of time.

Under the approved process, the TC will keep its existing Kavi resources, mailing list, document archive, etc. The TC will be able to continue working under the original charter up to the week before the first meeting under the new charter at which time members will need to rejoin the TC. Rechartering will be far less disruptive to the TC's work schedule.

See section 2.12, TC Rechartering for the new description of rechartering.

4. Standing rules to allow ballot motions by email no longer must be adopted as standing rules

Under the current TC Process, if a TC wishes to allow motions to open electronic ballots to be made by email, the TC must adopt a standing rule allowing this.

Under the approved TC Process, this is now standard practice and is available to all TCs with no special action.

See the last sentence of section 2.13, TC Voting for the new text allowing this.

5. Clarification on closing TC sub-committees

The current TC Process is silent on how a TC closes a sub-committee. The approved TC Process clarifies that this may be done by resolution of the TC.

See the last sentence of section 2.14, TC Subcommittees for the new text.

5. Documents referenced in a proposed Charter must be publicly available.

This change clarifies that if a document is referenced in a proposed TC Charter, it must be available from a public source. Note that this does not mean that it must be available by a hypertext link, but simply that there must be some public source through which interested parties may obtain copies.

See the first paragraph of section 2.2, TC Formation for the revised text.

The revised TC Process will be available at http://www.oasis-open.org/policies-guidelines/tc-process beginning tomorrow, August 1st.