"Chairing a Working Group is not only about understanding the whole history of a spec or a technology, for god's sake. It's much, much more about being able to stabilize a group of organizations and individuals having often different goals and schedules, being able to control eruptions of proposals and counter-proposals, being able to stay in line with a schedule, being able to say "stop" when a discussion goes nowhere, and being able to "stop" to a Member that goes too far trying to push its own competitive advantage."
Abso-****ing-lutely. You have indeed captured what I think it most important about being a chair - the work that I think is critical, that I thought Lauren Wood did fairly well (other than perhaps the schedule bit, but I don't think that was her fault), and fundamentally the stuff that makes me cringe because it's a lot of work that I'd rather have someone else be responsible for. The only reason I didn't just refuse and stop there was because I AGREE with you - this WG has to do it right, or HTML at the W3C is a dead end. I think that would be bad for the web. If the WHAT-WG had been patent-policy-enabled from the beginning, perhaps I'd feel differently.
What do you think my day job is? I am a Program Manager at Microsoft. Stabilizing the project while remaining objective is pretty much what we do. I am not a developer (anymore) - I stopped being a developer nearly a decade ago, because I liked and was good at moving projects along. There are others out there who are much better choices for "someone who has good ideas about the future design of the HTML technology" than me - in fact, I suspect that you are one of those people, Daniel, and I KNOW Ian Hickson is. But I don't think that's what the chair needs to be, as you said.
I would not even CONSIDER being chair of this working group if I thought it at all likely that Tim Berners-Lee would agree to take that role. I suspect that's about as likely as Bill Gates being the Microsoft representative. Do you want to be chair? Knowing that the IP concerns are in fact critical, and must be addressed in the way the WG develops specs, but otherwise we're pretty much on the same goals as far as I can tell?
PS - you asked: "what the hell is the mce_href attribute ??? Your prose's links have such attributes (and empty class...)." - I don't know. I expect it's some weirdness with the community server s/w, or maybe it's a cut-and-paste artifact. I'll try to clean these posts up more by hand.