Where are we?

Kevin Thiele kevin.thiele at PI.CSIRO.AU
Tue Aug 1 09:10:46 CEST 2000

Dear List'eners

I don't want to push things, but it seems to me that the discussion's not
gaining much more focus that we had last time. I think mostly we're
reiterating and discussing the scope of the problem, and while this is
important and valid, we also need to move beyond this to specific attempts
at dealing with the problem. We're discussing the need for a standard
rather than actually creating one.

I put up a while ago an initial attempt at a proposal (the document DDST
Specifications.doc, you all will have this buried in your attachments
folder somewhere). Some people have looked at this, I know, but I think we
need to decide:

1. Is this a start, or is it the wrong way to proceed and should be ditched
in favour of something better
2. If it's an adequate start, what concrete changes are needed to
incorporate the ideas people are discussing?
3. If it should be ditched, can anyone produce a better draft specification
that we can build on.

I think at this stage we need a draft document around which the discussion
can focus. Contributions that point out complications and problems can then
make concrete suggestions as to changes to the draft proposal, rather than
be mere discussion points. It seems to me we should be at this stage around
now - we've discussed the problems for close on 12 months now.

Now it may be that the structure of this group is poorly suited for the
task, and a recommendation should go to TDWG that this isn't the way to
proceed. As it stands, it seems to me that we're functioning well as a
discussion group but not well as a working group (actually working on the
problem). This is undoubtedly partly because we're all busy - I know that
I'm doing all this in my "spare" time and I'm sure most of us are in the
same boat. Perhaps the only way that this can happen properly is for funds
to be sought to employ someone on a contract basis to turn the ideas raised
here into concrete output, using the list as an expert group/listening
post/scratch-pad resource or whatever. We need to be honest as to whether
we're going to achieve something.

Any idea?

Cheers - k

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