A handy source just provided me the official ballot from TC 176 on the changes to the definition of “risk” for what was previously called Annex SL (now just Annex L.) You may want to read yesterday’s article first, on why this whole thing is so horribly bad for standards in general, and standards users in particular.

The ballot can be seen here (PDF file, direct download). Some random takeaways:

  • TC 176 continues to dig into the trenches of a war against common sense, by insisting that “risk is positive, man!” and that risk and opportunity are not opposites. This is just mind-boggling at this point, that Nigel Croft and his gang can insist on denying every language’s dictionary ever in order to “soften” risk so it sells more standards. Doubleplusgood! At this point, the task force has become the living embodiment of the “This is Fine” comic strip meme.
  • The ballot proves that the entire “vote” is a charade. The voting options are limited to adopting the ISO 31000 definition of risk, per the “option preferred by TMB, in order to promote greater consistency among ISO standards” or “approaching ISO/TMB to seek their approval to” do something else. This means beg. And that means the vote is entirely symbolic and non-binding, unless it comes out in favor of TMB’s predetermined position. So you can vote to agree with your rulers, or fuck off. Hint: that’s not voting, except in Venezuela.
  • The ballot also reveals that the Task Force team had the balls to suggest they go back and tell ISO 31000’s authors to change their definition! Sweet mother of mangoes, that’s gutsy. Croft also admits they didn’t include this as a possible vote option because doing so was akin to parting the Red Sea with a paperclip. So that option was denied the recipients outright. Would have been funny to watch, though. It does show how the ballot was crafted, though, to ensure a predetermined outcome.
  • The option to “do nothing” and remove the ISO 9001 definition entirely is just yielding to the TMB, too, since the Annex L definition would thus take precedence by default. Again: achieving a predetermined outcome.
  • This entire kabuki theater / fake vote / “cover our asses” exercise is supposed to include reaching out to the entire world’s stakeholders in only one month. The document was released on May 2nd, but demands a response by June 3rd.
  • Croft totally cribbed the Oxebridge website by quoting my research which uncovered “40+ different definitions of risk” in use in ISO standards, but didn’t give me credit. Maybe they’ll send me a bottle of Riesling or, at least, a Brazilian empanada? Show a brother some love, man.

Croft’s email addy is in the document, if you want to let him know what you feel about this mess.

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    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.