[uf-discuss] Re: A 7-day hold on discussing legal/process issues

Rohit Khare khare at alumni.caltech.edu
Wed Jan 23 09:47:17 PST 2008

microfolks --

Last August, I announced a decision by the microformats admins to  
place a seven-day hold on discussing legal and governance issues  
raised by Joe Andrieu [1, attached]. Now that we've recently enacted  
some wide-ranging changes to the legal status of microformats.org  
contributions [2], I would like to revisit some aspects of that  
message and apologize to Mr. Andrieu for those.

To briefly recap my role, I am the "first point of contact" for the  
microformats admins on legal and governance issues. Historically,  
this was due to my role at CommerceNet Labs, the nonprofit  
organization that initially sponsored microformats.org (including the  
current server bills). Due to my experience with several different  
standards bodies and nonprofits, such as W3C, IETF, and CommerceNet,  
I am perhaps too familiar with some of the legal consequences of  
developing IT standards (though I am far, far from being a lawyer  

In that light, I have been quite sensitive to any public discussion  
that links microformats.org to standards. That includes potentially  
overreacting to parallel discussions initiated publicly and privately  
with Joe Andrieu (and others) earlier that year. The community policy  
was (and is) to raise legal and governance issues with me directly,  
before escalating concerns on record with the entire community [3].  
In light of our prior emails and phone calls in the spring and  
summer, Joe was making a good faith effort to work with that policy,  
so I regret any implication of impropriety on his behalf in this  
incident. I have always believed that he was sincere in his concerns,  
even though I did not always agree with his positions.

Now that one aspect of the legal status of microformats has  
significantly advanced, with the announcement of a public-domain  
contribution policy, several of the concerns raised last year are now  
moot. Given the situation at the time, I (and the admins) would not  
change our decision to implement that 7-day hold. However, I  
personally would like to apologize for how I communicated that  
decision, to Joe and to the community. I am looking forward to  
keeping this experience in mind as we continue to work together to  
grow the microformats community and extend the impact of this novel  
approach to open data exchange and its still-evolving open  
development process.

   Rohit Khare

[1] http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2007- 
[2] http://microformats.org/blog/2007/12/29/making-open-standards-as- 
[3] http://microformats.org/wiki/ 

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Rohit Khare [mailto:khare at alumni.caltech.edu]
>> Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2007 6:56 PM
>> To: microformats-discuss at microformats.org
>> Cc: Joe Andrieu
>> Subject: A 7-day hold on discussing legal/process issues
>> After Joe Andrieu's most recent edits to the wiki under "Standards,
>> IP, and Transparency" [1], the admins and I have decided to impose a
>> 7-day cooling-off period on discussions regarding governance and
>> legal status issues by Mr. Andrieu, for repeatedly disregarding the
>> community guidelines to discuss legal matters with me before
>> altering
>> the public wiki or archived mailing list discussions [2].
>> This action is not taken lightly: all of his recent messages and wiki
>> edits have been concerned these topics, without any direct
>> communication to me before or after. Note that while his
>> mailing list
>> and wiki access will be blocked for one week, if he has substantive
>> contributions *other* than governance issues, he remains welcome to
>> contact me to forward them on to the community.
>> This policy, a standing request to the microformats community to  
>> avoid
>> legal debates on record without contacting me first, has
>> admittedly been questioned by him and by others. I am drafting a
>> separate email addressing some of those concerns, as well as Mr.
>> Andrieu's earlier public note to me [3]. Nonetheless, that is the
>> current community policy for better or worse, and the volunteer
>> admins have decided to uphold that with this decision.
>> -- Rohit Khare
>> [1]
> http://microformats.org/wiki?title=governance- 
> issues&diff=0&oldid=19334
>> [2]
> http://microformats.org/wiki/ 
> Category:public_domain_license#Point_of_Contact
>> [3]
> http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2007-July/ 
> 010318.h
> tml

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