Friday, March 7, 2008

Quoting From The Right Rulebook

There seems to be a lot of discussion in the past week about some apparent deviation from the ISO rules for the Open XML standardization process. It again amazes me that in the one breath some people are howling their decades of experience in international standards and in the next breath are demonstrating that they have no idea what they are talking about.

Several times now I have seen complaints that the O member countries who participated in the BRM in Geneva should not have been allowed to participate in the vote, because under ISO rules, only P member countries have the right to vote. What this simple and seemingly common-sense statement doesn't do is recognize that ISO/IEC are using the JTC 1 Directives, and the rules outlined therein, in order to administer this process. Under those rules, all countries participating in the BRM have the right to participate fully in the process, including any voting that occurs. This was stated rather bluntly up front by the BRM Convenor during the Head of Delegation pre-meeting, so should not have come to any surprise to delegates attending the BRM. Since the O countries who attended did participate as fully as their mandates allowed them to, this seems to not have been an actual problem in the BRM itself, but rather a great bone to chew on for those who want to practice the art of propaganda.

My advice: Take some time and read JTC1 Directives, Section 13, and all (or as much as possible) will become clear.

On an amusing note, many of these same people who are decrying the fact that these O member countries should not have been allowed to vote, are also among the rather loud voices complaining that all nations were not heard and that the smaller countries did not get an opportunity to participate fully. Seems pretty hypocritical to me, and I wonder if the Greek National Body, among others, understand that they are being consoled to their faces by the same people looking to slip a procedural knife in their back.

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