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Members commenting in the Online Standards Development (OSD) platform

In this joint IEC and ISO project, previously called “Online authoring”, we are putting in place an online editor (Fonto), to better support standards developers in their work and to improve collaboration on a project. 

The editor is XML-based, which means XML will be available at any point in the drafting process and for the final publication, for translations and product creation, without the need for conversion from Word. 

At the same time, this tool has great potential for facilitating the commenting process. Therefore, we would like to make it available for our members at the official voting stages. 

In a first phase, we worked exclusively on the editing part of the tool, configuring it to make it suitable for standards development work. While we’re continuing to work on that, we have now started to address the members’ commenting part. 

Initially, we are enhancing the features of the commenting module in the tool. This also benefits WG experts, who can collaborate through comments and resolve these WG comments more easily. 

At a high level, the process of commenting, identifying issues and resolving them is similar in WGs as it is in members commenting, so the core features of the commenting tool can benefit both communities. These core features can then be expanded to deal with the specific requirements of members. 

At the same time, we are reaching out to IEC members to better understand their needs. 

Using the new tool will have benefits for members and also for the experts resolving the comments after voting. 

 

Resolving some of the major pain points concerning commenting and comment resolution in Standards Development 

The tool allows comments to be made in the context of the text itself, which means commenters no longer have to fill in a form which is separate from the document being commented on. 

The comments are directly linked to the text, so they are easier to resolve. There is no longer any need to deal with two separate documents (the text and commenting form), as before. 

As there will be enhanced sorting, tagging and filtering of comments: comments can be grouped, delegated and resolved more efficiently. 

The entire document history is tracked, giving greater transparency in the identification and resolution of issues throughout the course of the document's development. 

 

Benefits for members 

This tool can help members with the gathering and refinement of their national comments. 

Comments can be made inside the document, by selecting a part of the text – this means no more dealing with two separate documents. 

Multiple users can comment and respond to each others’ comments. Comments are visible between experts inside the mirror committee. Comments from one country will not be visible to other countries. 

Polls can be held from within the tool, to gain insights on what the majority thinks about a given issue. 

Comments can be tagged by different criteria (e.g. “safety requirements” or “EMC issues”), they can be sorted and filtered (e.g. by tags, by date, or by resolved / unresolved status), making it easy to refine comments inside the tool and prepare them for submission with the national vote. 

 

Benefits for experts resolving the comments 

Comments can be viewed and resolved in their context rather than in a separate document, so it is always clear which part of the text a comment is about. 

The original document and the updates can be viewed side by side. 

As for members, WG experts can use the tagging, filtering and sorting options, and create polls, to better manage and resolve comments. 

We’re currently improving the commenting features in the tool, to enhance commenting inside the working groups, and to enable us to illustrate the new possibilities to members. 

At the same time, we’re analyzing the more specific needs for members’ commenting and will then add them to the tool. 

When we have achieved a certain level of development, we will conduct a proof of concept at a voting stage, with members who would like to explore the potential inherent in the tool for facilitating the work with their national mirror committee, and who would like to contribute to shaping the tool for commenting at the national level.