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ground rules for the June 25 R5RS meeting
This message outlines a philosophy and a set of ground rules that we
think will guide us toward a productive R5RS meeting. If you have
other ideas, please post them.
We start with our idea of the purpose of an RnRS meeting.
The overall goal of an RnRS meeting is to do what can't be done
by electronic mail:
- Sort out the real issues underlying controversies.
- Generate new ideas and perspectives to solve problems and/or
- Take final votes (and/or browbeat holdouts!) so as to detect
(and/or create) "consensus." (An interesting question is, how
much of this can/should be done electronically?)
This view suggests that the R5RS meeting should be basically a triage
procedure to classify the proposals into the following categories:
1. Proposals that already enjoy a consensus. We should agree as
quickly as possible that these will be part of R5RS, and move on
to other things.
2. Proposals on which a consensus is unlikely to be developed before
R5RS comes out. These should generally be tabled and saved for
3. Proposals that probably will (or should) make it into R5RS, but
which look like they still need significant work before consensus
can be achieved. Most of the meeting time should be spent on
these proposals, identifying the areas of agreement and
disagreement, and finally setting into motion a process to resolve
things. (Macros seem -- again! -- to be a likely candidate for
this category, for example.)
4. Issues that aren't likely to influence R5RS, but which are
important in the long term for Scheme, and which would benefit
from some discussion at the meeting. These should be discussed
enough to bring out why they are important and what are the
relevant technical considerations, but there should be no attempt
to drive toward consensus on these. Discussion of these issues is
mainly a "consciousness-raising" exercise in preparation for some
future RnRS meeting where they may need to be discussed more
If there seems to be general consensus on this approach, we will try
to draft a tentative classification into these categories of the
issues that have seen discussion recently on rrrs-authors, and post
the result for comment before this month's R5RS meeting.