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From "E-man" | 124 comments | Create New Account
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Give the man a break E-Man !
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 03 2008 @ 07:12 PM CST
Wow ! I just read your comment and wonder whether you understand the conditions under which it was written.

Andy was trying to get as much valid information as possible as soon as possible because experience has apparently taught him that whenever Microsoft's interests are involved, the MS astro-turf machine will pre-prepare and pre-approve blog entries waiting only for some preliminary numbers from those MS employees that actually attended as delegates.

Witness the accuracy of his predictions by the way that Jason Matusow was able to blog misleadingly about the results of the BRM as early as Friday evening  (Friday Afternoon Pacific Time).  The only way he could get any numbers or results at all to use in presenting any semblance of authenticity (and that appears to be all he's got) is to have been fed BRM results either during the BRM or immediately after the BRM from those MS employees that attended.

I give Andy unrestrained kudos for his ability to put the original blog post together in a VERY short time to refute the FUD that Jason Matusow and other MS mouthpieces  had already published and in so doing he gave  those that choose to fight for sanity in standards some amount of truth about the real picture that is only now emerging from the BRMto use in countering that FUD.  You only have to look at how this blog has changed due to updated information that is intentionally sought out and actively elicited.  While I recognize (and agree) that your comments are valid in hindsight, even you did not have all the details correct on Friday when you posted your original information on Groklaw.  Even now, I have several questions outstanding such as "Jason M. says the  large number of dispositions passed with a clear majority.  I question that because I think most sane people would take the 'majority to mean "of those in the room that vote".  By that definition, the 'clear majority' abstained.  However Alex Brown chooses to read this otherwise - to include allowing O-Members to vote which may be a clear violation of JTC rules.  Of course if 'majority' is redefined from "of those casting yes/no votes only" to "of those in the room", the outcome of the BRM is MUCH MUCH different and then jives MUCH more closely with Andy's original blog post.

Unfortunately, while you take potshots at Andy's accuracy, Jason Matusow, Brian Jones (a US delegate to the BRM) and others are producing as much marketing malarky as they can before the SC34 results are officially released.  I for one am not aware of any other place on the web where accurate info about the BRM is being collected other than here.  It's even become clear that Alex Brown has done what he can (intentionally or otherwise) to assist Microsoft in maintaining their document lock-in by lending his credibility to BRM results being interpreted and and published as fact on the internet, in mainstream press, and in the minds of politicians and enterprise management in the way that MS wants them published without waiting for any official results to be tallied, for final drafts to be written, or for the expected appeals to be filed/resolved.  Meanwhile, those that care about the truth are hand-tied by lack of information other than that found here and what information continues to come in from other delegates.

All that having been said, I note (on my own nickel) that Andy has a typo in the article where he refers to BRM as BRT.  (text search would be the easy way to find it Andy).

I'd also like to thank Andy and Rob Weir for their efforts to get out first word to try to counter the MS BS machine that's already proclaiming complete victory.  I truly hope that BRM members file appeals against the votes that gave no time for review, that allowed O-Members in clear violation of the written JTC rules, and that defined an 'abstention' as a 'non-vote' and that apparently ignored a large number of abstentions in order to claim that most (all?) edits not discussed passed and were approved.  One thing I still don't understand though, is why those countries that voted 'yes with comments' were allowed to participate and raise issues that no doubt took up valuable time at the BRM when they'd already voted yes.  This should have disqualified the US, Poland, and I'm sure a few others that voted blanket yes and would have seriously changed the outcome of the BRM votes as well as the resulting DIS edits.

Perhaps Alex might address this question the next time he stops by ?

Thanks again Andy !  This is invaluable information - made even more valuable by being early and by increasing its accuracy !  ...and thanks ESPECIALLY for keeping it real and not succumbing to the misinformation and marketing spin that MS & their agents continue to try to insert into your blog.

-- Ed
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Response to "E-Man"
Authored by: Andy Updegrove on Wednesday, March 05 2008 @ 03:50 AM CST

I apologize for not acknowledging your comment sooner. The main reasons are that I have been overwhelmed with other work (catching up after returning from Geneva) and because I think that I've already addressed all of your concerns in comments that I had already posted, or was in the process of posting, in response to Alex Brown, or in updates to the blog entry itself.  Also, I thought that Ed Winter had kindly stepped in to say most of what needed to be said.  That said, I'm sorry for the delay, as I do try to respond to all  comments that obviously are looking for a response.

More specifically, here are answers to your comments:

I do regret that there were some inaccurracies in the entry, and have said that in another response.  I've also explained in great detail why I'm sticking with the title in my dialogue with Alex.  I've also been quoted (at last count) in scores or articles in virtually all the technology press, and others such as the Washington Post, and in all of them the facts quoted are accurate and the message clear, and based on a press alert I sent out, rather than the blog entry, so I think that the accurate story will propagate. 

I didn't mention the change in title in the update summary, because it is in the comments to Alex, and also the substance of the change is included in another updated change in the text itself.

As to this:
The remaining complaints that I still have about your blog entry, but which you have not yet addressed, involves your tabulation of "votes" and the text near your table. What you were doing, if my understanding is at all accurate, is using default values for the ballot as proxies for ~900 votes that were officially cast. (The tilde indicates the value is approximate.) That the default value was simply intended as a means to cast a large number of votes easily and that you were using the same default value as an estimate or approximation of how ~900 votes were officially cast is hardly clear from what you wrote. Certainly many of the comments at Groklaw indicated that the authors missed those points. I think you should have made much more clear that  the table was not a table of actual votes.
I think that the table and text are clear.  I'm not a perfect writer,  I'm sure, but I'm not aware that other people had a problem with this.  I do the best I can, and people seem to find value in it overall.  I don't want to get into a discussion as to whether the table could have been clearer.  I have no editor and need to do the best I can.  I'm not aware that many people had a problem with it.
 Unless I'm very wrong about something, it was you who decided to draw conclusions based on the default values. No doubt others trying to get an early understanding of the voting did the same, but I very much doubt ISO has approved doing that.
Of course - and that is the entire point of the blog entry!  ISO/IEC closed the BRM crowing about how it had been such a big success, and how 98.4% of the dispositions had been approved.  It was crucial to give the facts on that so that everyone would not be misled, and so that Jason Matusow's account would not be the only one that journalists saw when they wrote the first articles.  If you do a Google search, you will see that most of the articles that have been written were written within 48 hours of the close of the BRM.  Absent my press alert, the story would already have been written that the BRM was a great success, and outside the blogosphere - such as in government circles - it would have been too late to correct the damage.  Sometimes you need to go to press with the information you have, before the worse damage is done.
I am also concerned, for a somewhat different reason, with this statement about the ballots: "On Friday, the ballots came back.  Some contained votes on a small number of dispositions and some adopted the default option for all of the listed dispositions." How accurately (and completely) does that describe how all NBs voted? It is important to know that in order to understand the usefulness of the default value as a proxy for the ~900 votes. It is particularly significant in this situation because the number of cases where "approve" was the default value was so close to the number of cases were "disapprove" was the default.
This is what I was told by those that saw the votes.  I can't do more than report what I've heard from sources that I believe to be accurate.

Finally, I think that you need to appreciate that I took a week out of my life and my job to go to Geneva (I worked non-stop without sleep on the flights each way), put in 18 hour days while I was there, talked to as many people as I could (which is a lot), and that later accounts have confirmed the great majority of what I wrote.  If you'd like to encourage people to continue to do things like that, you need to accept that sometimes non-professional reporters with no supporting resources are not going to be able to nail every fact - or, if they do, that it will be too late to matter.

  -  Andy
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