I thought I was sufficiently jaded and cynical that not much in this business could surprise me. Even given that, I’m flabbergasted at the degree of spin, no, make that bald-faced lying, in coverage of the just-finished BRM. The contempt for truth is sickening, and some people ought to be ashamed of themselves. Check it out if you’ve got a strong stomach.



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From: Zachary Pruckowski (Mar 01 2008, at 07:31)

I don't think it's an issue of lying. I think there's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation out there and a lot of people are confused. While there are plenty of pro-Microsoft and anti-Microsoft partisans in the world, I think that a lot of this has to do with the complexity of the process and the unusual nature of this approval.

Bloggers (and tech analysts) tend to spout stuff off without being experts in the matter at hand. They read a few primary or secondary sources, and then toss some stuff up for pageviews and comments. As a result, sometimes their analysis is rudimentary or even completely off the mark.

As I see it, a major reason all of this is happening is because Microsoft has polarized the system. Rather than it being about developing great standards, it's become about (in many people's minds) Microsoft pushing their standard through. Therefore, everyone seems to feel like each step needs a "victor" or a loser. Yeah, it's stupid, but it's how people think. This is exacerbated by having a giant web of people who have been burned by Microsoft in the past, or who don't trust Microsoft on principle.

The reason people think that OOXML lost or failed at the BRM is because many of the comments weren't addressed, which means that in theory the "no, with comments" countries won't switch votes, and "yes, with comments" countries might vote "no" instead. I don't know enough about the process to make that assertion.

Anyways, my point is that this probably not entirely a deliberate attempt at spin and lying so much as it is a function of the web culture.

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From: Alex Brown (Mar 01 2008, at 08:40)

Tim hi

I suspect none of the perpetrators will think you mean them; they'll think you mean the "other side".

Congratulations on having written the only accurate, neutral and informative blog entry on the BRM in existence so far (though on the bullshitty-ness of the Fast Track process, I can of course offer no comment)

- Alex.

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From: carlos (Mar 01 2008, at 08:43)

do you think that this piece

http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow/archive/2008/02/29/the-open-xml-ballot-resolution-meeting-brm-was-an-unqualified-success.aspx

is not SPIN?

by the way, Jason had words for you:

"Tim, whom I've met and think is a very bright and capable guy, is also not likey to be a fan of anything coming out of the BRM. The fact that the pro-ODF crowd is now attacking ISO and the process is not surprising given the fact that the meeting was successful in accomplishing its technical goals."

carlos

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From: Stephen (Mar 01 2008, at 14:15)

Good for you posting this Tim. I think your earlier post poured fuel on the fire but I'm pleased to see you call out the falsehood of what's being written at the moment.

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From: Luc Bollen (Mar 01 2008, at 16:52)

@Stephen

Alex Brown rightly wrote "I suspect none of the perpetrators will think you mean them; they'll think you mean the "other side"."

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From: Luc Bollen (Mar 01 2008, at 17:22)

@Stephen again

After Tim Bray wrote a text including the following:

"This was horrible, egregious, process abuse and ISO should hang their heads in shame for allowing it to happen. Their reputation, in my eyes, is in tatters. My opinion of ECMA was already very negative; this hasn’t improved it, and if ISO doesn’t figure out away to detach this toxic leech, this kind of abuse is going to happen again and again.",

Alex Brown comments as follows:

"Congratulations on having written the only accurate, neutral and informative blog entry on the BRM in existence so far"

Quite telling... So much for the accuracy and informative nature of Brian Jones and Jason Matusow blog entries!

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From: Daniel Melanchthon (Mar 02 2008, at 02:53)

@Luc: You shouldn't mess up quotes. Alex wrote: "though on the bullshitty-ness of the Fast Track process, I can of course offer no comment".

Cheers!

Daniel

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From: Alex Brown (Mar 02 2008, at 04:53)

@Luc

As in another thread on another blog, please can I ask you not to quote only part of what I wrote in a way which can be read to imply that I endorse Tim's opinion of the process. I explicitly said I cannot comment on Tim's opinion of the bull-shittyness of the fast track process.

- Alex.

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From: Luc Bollen (Mar 02 2008, at 05:55)

Warning : Alex Brown mentioned above that his comment don't apply to Tim's view of the process itself.

This doesn't say that Tim is wrong, but Alex's comment should NOT be taken as an endorsement of Tim's view by Alex Brown.

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From: Alan Bell (Mar 02 2008, at 13:41)

there is a lot of confusion and a lot of people trying to figure out what happened. The weird thing is that the people who are in a position to know useful facts are simply asserting that others are wrong, without clarifying any issues. I don't understand why Andy Updegrove deserves a "Health warning" without any indication of what portion of his summary could be "unhealthy". The voting figures (whatever they were voting on and whatever the results may have actually been) seem to record an astonishing number of abstains and several refusals to vote. Personally I read the FAQ and the quorum for votes on acceptance of issues was everyone who turns up, so I think the P member/O member breakdown of votes is almost irrelevant. Was this the unhealthy part? If inaccuracies are not corrected then they propagate. The presence of inaccurate reporting just indicates to me the shameful lack of transparency and openness of this debacle. There should be public minutes of the BRM, and a public voting record.

There are a lot of people interested in this process and those who state that the BRM improved the standard are not wrong. It did make it less bad, but not less redundant. This whole process is about polishing a turd. It might now be more shiny than it was, but it is still a turd.

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From: len (Mar 02 2008, at 18:40)

As far as I can tell from reading several blogs, the problem of process is work items vs time.

ISO should look at how a chair expands the formal meeting time. IOW, if shoehorning it into one session is considered in error, schedule two.

Seems simple enough. ?

I see the bitter butter battle here, but frankly, I don't care. If the problem is an ISO process, fix that. Policy flexibility is adaptive strength in volatile and contested markets. Standards come and go and change. ISO has to change to stay relevant too.

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From: Anxi (Mar 03 2008, at 04:23)

Haha, I "know it" but I can't tell you why you are wrong. This is what ISO/IEC calls "openness", making unverifiable claims and accusations against people like Andy Updegrove who try to figure out what happened and clamping down on all information sources. No media, no public, nothing. Because public attention brings all the awful light in the process and the unwashed masses who don't "understand" and cry fraud.

I guess ISO members will vote on a non-existing text, with no minutes, no reports what was decided whatsoever. I was told that the date bug wasn't fixed. true: y/n? May a delegate tell me, y/n?

ISO should have stopped this process long time ago. Microsoft is making monkeys out of international standardization.

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From: hAl (Mar 03 2008, at 07:08)

@Tim

As already mentioned before. By not stating what you consider spin you will only support people in their own belives that they are telling the truth and you must be talking about the opposing side.

In that way your current post actually contributes to the spin.

I do have a question for you as a delegation member:

How would you feel if you worked activly with Microsoft and Ecma towards solving issues, that you yourself submitted, and you yourself were happy with, and which you (nearly) all of them approved, and then some other delegation would disapprove them all because they were not discusses at the BRM themselves (as some delegations apperantly have done)?

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