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The Importance of Community Input

Posted on January 29, 2016 by Dave Nitchman

Athletes passing relay baton

Our news and blog postings website regularly feature updates specification development and calls for comment and implementation. We cannot stress enough what a vital and important part of the standards development process this is.

For those new to our community or not familiar with how it works, standards development is a time consuming process, with a minimum of four steps during which public comment is necessary. The first step in the specification process is the Public Working Draft, this is the community’s chance to review and provide feedback as the specification is being developed. Public Working Drafts are a tool used to take the temperature of the community to make sure that the work being done is on the right track. Based on community feedback there will likely be several iterations of PWD’s tweaking the specification to better serve the users, which is why that feedback is so important during this step. Subsequent steps include a “Call for Implementations” where vendors incorporate the spec into their solutions and test it. This is akin to a beta release and will often reveal minor issues requiring updates to the specification which are released as further Candidate Recommendations. This process continues until it is believed that no additional development is necessary, and the specification is re-issued as a Proposed Recommendation, with an associated final Call for Review. If no further issues are identified, the specification will be re-issued without further changes as an XBRL Recommendation.

The specifications themselves are complex, and some might not bother to comment because they feel they might have nothing to add – or that a small group of volunteers have it covered. Nothing could be further from the truth! Standards development is a not a “just get it done” environment. Hundreds of government agencies in over 60 countries use XBRL to enforce laws, provide vital supervisory functions and collect valuable information for their citizens. We take this responsibility very seriously and we welcome any and all comments on our work. You can learn more about the spec development process here.

So review specs, taxonomies and new rules when you get the chance. You can find many on our website or click here for a list of XBRL Specifications out for review.

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