[tdwg-content] Recap - Darwin Core Standard - proposed changes in governance

joel sachs jsachs at csee.umbc.edu
Thu Apr 23 19:32:50 CEST 2015


Apologies for the delay in answering your questions.

Given that we have a group charged with coming up with a "standard for 
our standards", it makes sense to wait for their work to be complete before refactoring Darwin Core along the ways 
that have been proposed.

But I don't want to justify our decision to wait by citing an abandoned 
draft standard. If, for whatever reason, the new "standard for our 
standards" gets delayed, I think lawlessness (i.e. allowing the executive 
to ratify whatever the membership supports) is preferable to adherence to 
Draft 147.


On Tue, 31 Mar 2015, John Wieczorek wrote:

> Hi Joel,
> That's fine, but it its absence, what rules SHOULD we follow? Go lawless?
> Divest? I'm trying to play nice here and upset everyone as equally as
> possible. :-)
> On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:58 PM, joel sachs <jsachs at csee.umbc.edu> wrote:
>> Hi John,
>> The document entitled "TDWG Standards Documentation Specification" was
>> never ratified. I can see why it might have been treated as an "interim
>> spec" in the year or two immediately following its drafting; it makes sense
>> to adhere to a likely-to-be-ratified standard. But 147 is now a
>> highly-unlikely-to-be-ratified draft standard. Is an executive override
>> required for us to disobey it?
>> Regardless ...
>> The report of the VoMaG group recommended that "The TDWG Executive should
>> kill the stalled TDWG Standards Documentation Specification as a proposal
>> on the standards track" [1]. I encourage the Executive to act on this
>> recommendation, as that would clear up confusion as to the applicability of
>> http://www.tdwg.org/standards/147/
>> Cheers,
>> Joel.
>> 1. http://www.gbif.org/resource/80862 - recommendation 2.12
>> On Tue, 31 Mar 2015, John Wieczorek wrote:
>>  Dear all,
>>> There has been consistent agreement (though I would hesitate to say
>>> consensus prematurely) about some aspects of the proposal to redefine
>>> which
>>> documents comprise the Darwin Core standard. The discussion has been
>>> fruitful and appreciated. Yet, I believe we are at an impasse in terms of
>>> implementing the proposed changes because a) I have not followed the
>>> correct process so far, and b) the interim TDWG Standards Process that are
>>> supposed to govern the process is not amenable to the changes that were
>>> proposed. I'll try to explain briefly.
>>> The proposal was to redefine which documents comprise the Darwin Core
>>> standard, not to make additions or changes to the Darwin Core terms, The
>>> latter would fall under Darwin Core's "internal" namespace policy[1].
>>> Instead, this proposal is a change to the structure as well as documentary
>>> content of the standard as a whole, which falls under the interim TDWG
>>> Standards Documentation Specification[2], as Steve Baskauf pointed out[3].
>>> To fulfill those requirements is an onerous task (my heartfelt pity for
>>> those who have had to go through it) - too onerous, I believe, for what we
>>> are trying to accomplish here, which is to change an existing standard
>>> (indeed, make it easier to manage) rather than create a new one. We are
>>> not
>>> allowed to do that according to the interim TDWG Standards Documentation
>>> Specification, which states, "Once a standard has been ratified it cannot
>>> be changed in any substantive way; it must be superseded by a standard
>>> with
>>> a different name." All question of versioning aside, we would have to
>>> follow the process of creating a new standard.
>>> Unless there is a way to get an Executive override of the interim process
>>> standard in order to allow us to make the proposed changes and liberate
>>> Darwin Core to evolve more effectively, I think we have to wait for the
>>> overhaul of the Standards Documentation Specification. The Task Group
>>> Charter to do that work has been submitted, but the results are not slated
>>> to be fully realized until 1 Jan 2016.
>>> This is unfortunate, as it leaves a huge body of work to refactor Darwin
>>> Core and its management [4] unrealizable in an official capacity. Ideas
>>> welcome.
>>> Cheers,
>>> John
>>> [1] Darwin Core Namespace Policy.
>>> http://rs.tdwg.org/dwc/terms/namespace/index.htm
>>> [2] TDWG Standards Documentation Specification.
>>> http://www.tdwg.org/standards/147/
>>> [3] tdwg-content email from Steve Baskauf.
>>> http://lists.tdwg.org/pipermail/tdwg-content/2015-January/003429.html
>>> [4] Github branch of Darwin Core repository for streamlined management.

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