Re: [BITS] ICS 280 Paper: The Evolution of the W3C

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Sun, 22 Mar 98 12:46:49 -0800

You wrote:
> < --RK]

Excellent article - I was afraid it was going to be just another "how I
spent my vacation from academia."

>> Perhaps the main reason is that W3C insists it is not a standards
body just as vehemently as it acts like one. <<

The one bit that confused me was whether or not W3C is 'really' or
'primarily' a standards organization. Based on the analysis in the last
half, you seem to be implicitly assuming that W3C really is an SDO, just
a rather bizzare and self-contradictory one which incorporates elements
of other organizations. However, if that is the case, it seems like you
should state that explicitly and make it the main premise, rather than
just hinting at it.

>> This paper attempts to outline the evolution of a standards body from
those roots. <<

Okay, maybe you did state it explicitly. However, that theme was not
explicit in the abstract, where you stress more the amibiguity of the
W3C's role and position, so I didn't pick up on it.

>>Organizational psychologists sometimes speak of the life of an
organization as separate from its constituents, shaped by the needs of
society and its objective environment. W3C's birth, though, is not so
immaculate -- it is the story of thirty-odd individual commitments. <<

That seems a red herring. I'm sure even Org Psych people realize
organizations spring from individuals. I think the real disctinction
is that organizational maturity is when an organization takes on a "life
of its own" in response to its environment rather than merely reflecting
the idiosyncracies of its founders. Similar to how human maturity is
when we start responding to external inputs rather than merely following
the instructions of our parents (Indian family mores not withstanding).

-- Ernie P.

P.S. If the W3C's official motto is "Leading the Evolution of the World
Wide Web", you should title your article "Following the Evolution of the
World Wide Web Consortium."