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How To Handle Negtive Ballots Efficiently
A Perspective

by James A. Luppens and Ronald W. Stanton

Handling negative votes on standards actions can be a tricky business. You want to ensure consensus, but how to satisfy everyone? Former ASTM Committee on Standards members Jim Luppens and Ron Stanton offer a guide to sidestepping the landmines in dealing with negative votes.

(A shorter version of this article appears in the print SN.)

Introduction

Properly handling negative votes may be one of the singularly most difficult, perhaps even onerous tasks, a subcommittee faces in the process of developing a consensus standard. However, the proper handling of negative votes is essential to maintaining the strength of ASTM standards. The fact that all negatives votes must be resolved adds a rigorous dimension of quality control. If an impasse with the voter occurs, the subcommittee should ensure that each negative be fairly considered and addressed. The majority of the subcommittee then decides if the negative is valid or not through "Not Related" or "Not Persuasive" actions. It is not a perfect system, but it has stood the test of time and served both consumers and industry very well for the past 100 plus years. To some in the process, handling of negative votes seems only to delay the release of a new standard. However, by using some proper approaches, many of the frustrations associated with negative votes can be minimized or even avoided. It should also be emphasized that the ASTM standards process is one of consensus, not unanimous approval. Too often, the approval of a standard drags on much longer than necessary because the subcommittee tries to appease every negative.

After we each separately served a three year term on the ASTM Committee on Standards (COS), we developed a deeper appreciation of ASTM process, especially ASTM’s commitment to ensure a voter’s rights are accorded due process. Prior to our COS tenures, we had only a vague understanding of the scope and function of the COS. The purpose of this paper is take the experience we gained from COS participation and provide some suggestions that will hopefully help subcommittees more efficiently and fairly handle negative votes.

Our immediate reaction after receiving our first COS Ballot of approximately 200 pages was "does this mean that COS reviews the action on every negative voted "Not Related" or "Not Persuasive" from all ASTM subcommittees?" This review role is a key function of COS that was not well understood by us and is probably not well known by many ASTM members. Our initial impression was that COS dealt only with appeals and arbitration functions, as well as maintaining the Form and Style Manual (Blue Book). The latter responsibilities are part of the committee’s function, but the bulk of the work in COS is the independent monthly review of every subcommittee’s Reports of Action Taken on Main Committee Negative Votes (commonly still referred to as the "Pink Sheets") received at ASTM Headquarters during the preceding month.

The COS role of appeals is a fundamental part of our standards development process and although there may be some who appear to favor abolishing the appeals option even in the ASTM process (see Brooke, 2000), we feel strongly that the appeals option is part of the process that strengthens standards. Having the appeals option available to negative voters compels the Committees to properly handle negative ballots. COS only rules on procedural matters. Disputes of a technical nature must be handled at the subcommittee level. Once COS, on behalf of the Society, has favorably determined that the action on each negative vote has met the procedural requirements of the Society, the standard is approved for publication (Regulations 15.1).

After we each reviewed documents during our respective three-year COS terms, it became apparent that many of the problems that required COS action can be classified into a few recurring categories. In the following sections, we will present examples of these problems from actual subcommittee action documentation and we will offer suggestions that will improve the Subcommittee actions and minimize the delay on the development of a standard. We hope that providing specific examples of both weak and well-crafted subcommittee actions will offer a more instructive format. Our goal here is to help the subcommittees improve and streamline the balloting process; facilitate the procedures for handling and documenting actions on negative votes; and reduce the chance that the publication of a standard will be delayed due to an unnecessary procedural problem. Obviously, another goal is to streamline the COS review. We have tried to sanitize examples from actual COS ballots as much as possible to provide constructive illustrations and not to criticize specific individuals or subcommittees.

A goal of a subcommittee should be to reduce the number of negative votes on ballot items. Many negatives reflect a general breakdown in communication within the subcommittee or committee. The subcommittee has the responsibility to develop good technical standards and to ensure committee and Society consensus approval of the standards. To this end, the ballot item must be clear to the voter and changes that are being balloted must be clearly noted. The letter ballot should contain a statement providing the reason for balloting each item (Regulations 11.1.3). When a negative ballot is received, the individual responsible for the ballot item needs to ensure that the ballot is properly considered for its technical merits and that all points of the negative are addressed.

The negative voter also has responsibilities. The negative vote must contain a clear reason(s) for the dissension and it should relate to the item being balloted. Any negative vote that is not accompanied by a written statement is recorded as abstaining and need not be considered further (Regulations 11.3.2.2). If the voter chooses not to withdraw the ballot, then the subcommittee has the responsibility to properly handle the negative.

Finally, to aid in gaining a better picture of the overall balloting and review sequence, Figure 1 provides a generalized flow diagram of the entire ASTM standards development process. The next section of this paper addressing communication and ballot preparation issues deals largely with the left side of the flow diagram in Figure 1. The second section, which discusses dealing with negatives, focuses on the right side of the flow diagram. In Figure 1, steps that move the ballot item forward are shown with green arrows. Those that move the item back at least one step are show in red. Appeal steps are shown in blue and will result in either a green or red path.

Communication and Ballot Preparation:

Problems of communication and poor ballot preparation can result from a lack of compliance with the requirements of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees (the "Green Book") and/or the Form and Style for ASTM Standards (the "Blue Book"). These problems are, succinctly, often a failure to communicate during the ballot preparation phase. Ironically, many of these problems do not manifest themselves in the initial balloting process itself. Most frequently, they arise during the appeal process or requests for clarification or additional documentation by a COS reviewer. Often, a negative voter that still feels strongly about his negative that was determined "Not Persuasive" on a technical basis will turn to the Green and Blue Books to look for possible procedural errors to sustain his appeal. Specific examples of procedural errors are (1) failure to document actions in the main subcommittee minutes (justification, voting tallies, etc.), (2) failure to include a cover letter for concurrent ballots, (3) questions concerning committee balance, (4) questions on official voter status during actions on negatives, and (5) a variety of Form and Style inconsistencies.

Cover letters

ASTM Regulation 11.6 states "…Concurrent letter ballots shall include a cover letter… the cover letter should include the reasons for balloting concurrently and background information regarding the proposed ballot item." This basic cover letter requirement is often overlooked in the ballot and has been the grounds for successful appeals to COS. This simple oversight may result in publication delays to as long as a year because the standard has to be cycled back through the balloting process. The cover letter requirement provides good initial communication in the ballot process.

The cover letter must also be objective in its content. Cover letters that attempt to prejudice the balloting results can also be a problem when it comes to a "due process" determination. Example 1 is an excerpt from a cover letter that was not objective. The negative voter justifiably took issue with the intimidating tone of this section of the cover letter.

Basically, this cover letter threatens anyone who votes negative with the wording "heavily scrutinized." Although the intent of the cover letter probably was not meant to be heavy-handed, it clearly went beyond the threshold of objectivity to the point where it compromises a sense of due process. Furthermore, urging voters to stifle negatives with the offer to take them up at a later date after the standard is approved does not guarantee they will ever get their concerns addressed and is probably not a good precedent to follow.

Example 2 is another excerpt from a biased cover letter.

Mr. Doe felt that the cover letter was not objective and that he did not get a fair hearing of his negative vote. The term "favorable consideration" in the last sentence is another questionable phrase, but overall the tone of the letter is less than objective. This letter implies "don’t look at the technical issue(s), we just need your affirmative vote to move this standard forward." Thus the voter is not getting unbiased consideration of his negative.

Example 3 is an objective cover letter that provides not only the basic "what and why" information, but also illustrates clarity regarding the specific proposed revision being balloted and contact information for questions.

Everything the voter needs is contained in the balloted item. There is no need to refer back to the book of standards or go back to the files to get the last meeting minutes or ballot to determine what was previously balloted. The voter can quickly come up to speed as to the status of the last ballot and the proposed changes are clearly indicated in the balloted item. The task of showing and highlighting words and phrases that are being balloted to be either omitted or added in a ballot item, as illustrated in Example 3, is much easier now because all standards are available in digital format. The digital approach is far superior to old hand-lettered annotations with white-out and arrows on a multi-generation Xerox copies. Hand-done efforts often ended up looking like "chicken scratchings" and commonly were barely legible. It only takes a few minutes more to prepare a clear ballot item that will benefit the subcommittee during the balloting review. In addition, the time needed for COS review of any actions on negative ballots should be reduced.

Dealing with Negative Votes:

One of the basic cornerstones and strengths of the entire ASTM consensus process is the rigorous assurances that dissenting views are accorded due process throughout the standards balloting. The subcommittee often views the task of handling negative votes with a certain amount of dread for a number of reasons. However, when handled properly, many of the problems associated with negative votes can be minimized or even eliminated. Regardless of the amount of effort that goes into the preparation of a ballot item, the potential for substantiated negatives is always present. The following sections offer suggestions on dealing with negative votes that will hopefully facilitate their resolution.

Initial communication with voter

Probably the most fundamental method of resolving negatives is simply to contact the negative voter and discuss the negative. Often, simple clarification of the ballot item may result in the withdrawal of the negative. Withdrawal of negatives is not only the cleanest method of resolving negatives, but it also saves significant time and effort. Once the negative is withdrawn, the only work required is to mark the Pink Sheet "Withdrawn." Figure 1 dramatically illustrates the benefits of negotiating the withdrawal of a negative. If the item was a main ballot situation, the standard proceeds directly to publication avoiding a number of additional steps. Valuable meeting time is not wasted discussing and acting on the negative, the extra work involved in documenting the actions is avoided, and no review at COS level is required.

Despite its obvious benefits, this basic communication step is too often improperly handled or completely overlooked. One of the fundamental questions most COS members ask when reviewing subcommittee actions is "was the voter contacted?" In other words, did the voter get an opportunity to explain their negative, if it was ambiguous? Perhaps there is a need to have a "Was the voter contacted?" box on the Pink Sheets that must be checked by the subcommittee chairman. In any case, the subcommittee should note when the voter was contacted (or state why voter was not contacted) as part of the subcommittee documentation of the action taken. The documentation of that direct contact eliminates an important question during COS review.

Example 4 illustrates the desirability of contacting the voter immediately upon notification of the receipt of a negative.

The key word in Example 4 is "apparently." To a COS reviewer, it appears that the voter was not contacted. It seems like a simple phone call in this situation may have cleared up this negative rather than trying to guess the voter’s concern(s). Contacting the voter and getting a withdrawal of the negative after clarification would have saved a significant amount of subsequent time and paperwork

The negative voter must also share some of the communications responsibility. In some cases, repeated efforts to contact the negative voter by phone or email are ignored. Once a negative vote is cast, the voter should make himself or herself available to discuss the negative.

Clarification of ballot item

If there is a question as to what is being balloted, it is better to ask for clarification or more information. This point is illustrated in Example 5.

In this case, a quick phone call to the designated contact for Subcommittee X99.22 or to ASTM headquarters could have solved the voter’s problem. Also, on the basis of the subcommittee reasons provided, if the negative had nothing to do with the content of the standard, it should have been ruled "Not related." This example also demonstrates why it is a good idea to list a subcommittee contact in the cover letter accompanying the ballot item (see Example 3.).

Example 6 illustrates a similar case, however, it has also has several significant differences.

First, inclusion of the "promised" data may have eliminated this negative entirely. As discussed in Example 4, inclusion of pertinent data and contact information for questions with the ballot, facilitates the ballot review. Some of the responsibility also lies with the voter, who could have called the appropriate contacts to request the needed data before casting the negative, if those contacts were provided in the ballot item. Regardless of the responsibility issues, simply forwarding the data does not technically address the voter’s negative nor is it a reasonable justification for a "not persuasive" vote. After the requested data are received and reviewed by the voter, the subcommittee may decide to sustain the negative. Actually, the issue is one of timing. Forwarding the data after the negative vote was determined "Not Persuasive" violates the sense of due process. At that point, it’s too late. The technical information should have been forwarded to the voter for review prior to any action taken by the subcommittee. Then, if the voter still did not withdraw the negative, the negative could have been addressed on its technical merits.

In Examples 4, 5 and 6, there was ample opportunity to contact the negative voters prior to the subcommittee meetings. Clarification and/or additional materials could have been provided to try to negotiate withdrawals of the negative vote to avoid the using subcommittee meeting time to deal with the negatives and provide subsequent paperwork through COS review.

One last point to stress is the need to contact the voter far enough in advance of the next subcommittee meeting where the negative is scheduled to be taken up to allow for a reasonable amount of time to discuss and negotiate. There have even been situations where the voter was first contacted literally as he or she walked into the meeting where the negative was on the agenda. Last minute attempts may trigger a confrontation and less opportunity for a reasonable discussion with the negative. This type of action only jeopardizes chances of negotiating a withdrawal of the negative.

In situations when the negative is not withdrawn despite negotiations in good faith, the subcommittee as a whole must deal with the negative or withdraw the ballot. If it is decided that the negative is persuasive, the ballot is withdrawn for further revision. However, if it is felt that the negative is not valid, a motion to make a Not Persuasive (or Not Related) should be made and the subcommittee should vote on the motion.

Adequate documentation

A majority of the problems associated with negatives during the COS review stem from inadequate documentation of the committee’s action(s). In preparation for action on a motion, the subcommittee should prepare a written response that cites and addresses each point of the negative on a technical basis. This response can be circulated before or during the meeting so that those in attendance may have a clearer understanding of the issue(s). This advance preparation also facilitates Subcommittee documentation in the minutes and preparation of the Pink Sheet. If such preparation is not taken, problems such as lacking sufficient meeting time may result.

COS members who review all subcommittee actions commonly have little or no knowledge of the background of the issue in question. A basic question to ask yourself when submitting subcommittee documentation is "Can you determine if due process was followed based solely on the information you are providing which accompanies the "Pink Sheet?" By answering that question sincerely, there is little doubt that the review process would be greatly facilitated.

Addressing technical merits

Example 7 illustrates a situation where the negative was not addressed properly on a technical basis.

The negative along with a similar negative, although somewhat cryptic, apparently raised a valid technical objection (along with a similar negative)("other test configurations could give similar results"). In fact, the task group effectively agreed with the negative and by proposeding to editorially add a note to the standard to address the negative. Subsequent to the Not Persuasive motion, both the staff manager and ASTM editorial staff ruled that the proposed Note was too technical in nature to be handled editorially.

This example raises a key point. Dispatching a negative as editorial can result in a classic "gotcha." If the "editorial" determination is overruled after the Persuasive motion is completed and the meeting over, the negative has not been addressed technically and is therefore still "live." Example 7 received a negative at COS for this very reason and was remanded back to the committee for proper handling of the negative vote, which significantly delayed publication of the standard. It should be stressed that editorial changes are those that introduce no change in technical content or correct typographical errors in substance (ASTM Regulations, 10.6.4.1). It seems fairly obvious that adding language allowing for alternative test setups was technical in nature. However, if there is any doubt, it is best to do some homework ahead of time and check with the staff manager or editor to get an opinion prior to the meeting to avoid pitfalls such as Example 7. If the negative is more than editorial, it must be dealt with technically, if feasible, or sent back to the task group for revisions and reballoting. Other remedies to Example 7 might have included negotiating an understanding with the voter to withdraw the negative with an agreement to take the negative up as a new business item. This would have permitted the standard to move forward as well as address the voter’s concerns.

Example 8 illustrates where there was a failure to technically address a negative vote.

This negative appears to have been hastily dispatched as editorial, yet it is stated that the suggested change would have to wait to "be considered for the 5-year revision." If this negative was truly editorial in nature, these suggested additions could have been made immediately. The proposed wording certainly appears to be more than editorial. The fact that it was tabled implies that it was substantive. Therefore, this negative should have been dealt with on a technical basis. A substantive negative cannot be simply dispatched by ruling it editorial or taken up as new business.

Address all points of the negative

Failure to address all the points of a negative is probably the most frequently encountered problem. As previously mentioned, the best way to address a negative is to dissect it into distinct, separate issues and address each point of the negative separately based on technical merit. This is especially helpful when a negative is lengthy or is submitted in paragraph style with multiple issues in a given paragraph. Example 9 illustrates the failure to fully address the negative completely.

The subcommittee could have subdivided the negative in Example 9 into two points:

a. The voter feels that the definitions are reversed and that the term "endurance limit" is deprecated. Therefore, the Committee should abandon use of this term in deference to the accepted terms in use. The voter also offers technical suggestions. The subcommittee’s reason of "still widely used" does not address the voter’s technical issues. Furthermore, "widely used" does not ensure that the definitions are technically correct or part of the Committee’s Terminology. In this case, the subcommittee should also be consistent with the Committee Terminology Standard (see Introduction of Part E, Form and Style for ASTM Standards).

b. The voter raises the issue of the possible need for the additional definition for "Median Stress." While this may not be related to the balloted terms, it would have been cleaner to rule it Not Related in a separate motion. This allows the balloted item to be published and this second point brought up and considered at the next committee meeting as a new item of business.

When COS members review lengthy negatives, commonly the negative and the committee response must be reread repeatedly to determine if the negative was fully addressed. In situations where there is a question, the appropriate staff manager is contacted who may, in turn, need to contact the subcommittee for additional clarification and/or documentation. This back and forth clarification process is not only time consuming, but may also produce results that are not desirable. In one such instance, in a request for documentation by a COS member, the committee minutes revealed that the committee completely failed to document the subcommittee Not Persuasive action and did not include justification and vote counts. As a result, the balloted item was remanded back to the subcommittee to be handled properly. The standard in question was a critical method that was overdue for reapproval and in jeopardy of being withdrawn from publication. Fortunately, the committee had a meeting scheduled soon after this inquiry and was able to redo and document the action correctly and in time to avoid the withdrawal of the standard.

An example of a well-crafted subcommittee response is illustrated in Example 10.

In this example, each point of the negative is repeated individually and the subcommittee response is presented in Italics immediately following each point of the negative. This kind of preparation greatly facilitates the entire action process. Well organized responses make it clear to those voting during the main committee review what the issue(s) are, make it easier to prepare the Pink Sheet report, and helps at the COS review level where the balloting actions must be scrutinized based solely on the subcommittee action report provided. It also ensures that each point of the negative was adequately addressed.

In Example 10, the committee chose to act on all points of the negative simultaneously. This certainly is a valid procedure, but voting on each point of the negative separately is often a better option. This is especially true for a multiple point negative where only part of the negative is persuasive (item withdrawn). By acting on any points of the negative felt to be Not Related or Not Persuasive immediately, these points will not have to be dealt with again. Additionally, it focuses revisions to just those points that were persuasive. Furthermore, if the voter files an appeal to COS, the handling of each point separately may simplify the appeals process.

Additional Issues:

Additional issues include weak or inappropriate arguments and motions, insufficient documentation, and similar problems. Example 11 illustrates several of these problems.

Whether or not the wording is being changed is not the issue if that wording was included in the ballot. For example, if a paragraph is balloted with a change to only one sentence, the entire paragraph is being balloted and vulnerable to potential negatives. Changing one sentence may affect the related sentences. If the section in question was not part of the items being balloted, then the motion should have been for a Not Related rather than Not Persuasive action.

Another point in Example 11 that raises a "red flag" concerning due process is the statement "has been in use for at least 30 years." In a sense, what is implied is "It has been this way for over 30 years and we are not about to change it!" This kind of position begs the question why even ballot the section? There may be valid technical reasons to maintain the current wording, but just because it has been on the books for 30 years is poor justification. It would have been much better to state something to the effect "we feel the item was technically correct and appropriate as balloted."

Example 12 illustrates a similar problem shown in Example 11.

If the justification for declaring a voter Not Persuasive is that a document outside ASTM must be modified before the ASTM Standard is changed, then why even vote on the item? It seems that this logic denies the voter due process by virtually creating an "automatic not persuasive" determination in such cases. While it is often desirable to keep related documents "in step" with one another, that logic should not be a constraining factor in promoting and improving ASTM Standards.

The X99 Committee should address the voter’s negative based on its technical merits. If the technical issues are truly Not Persuasive, then that should be the basis of that determination. If the technical concerns are warranted, the changes should be made and the committee should initiate efforts to have the other document(s) modified accordingly. If this position is not followed, it seems that ASTM Standards are "locked in concrete" waiting for other organizations to take the lead. This does not seem to be the preferable option. Committees have the responsibility to define terminology within technical standards and for developing terminology as a type of standard (Part E, Form and Style for ASTM Standards). It is important to emphasize that all significant terms that may have a meaning more specialized or more restricted than the common dictionary meaning should be defined within a standard, or the terminology standard should be referenced. (See Bluebook Part E on Terminology.)

The example in Example 13 illustrates the need to more fully document committee actions on the Pink Sheets.

In this case, a negative at COS was cast in the review of this action because there was not enough information provided in the subcommittee action summary to make an informed decision. The rather cryptic justification "technical merit and ongoing X99 initiative" provides little substantive information. What is meant by "technical merit" and "ongoing initiatives"? It would have been better to state "the committee feels that force is a more appropriate term than load. Because of that decision, the committee is conducting an initiative to replace "load" with "force" wherever appropriate." The COS negative was later withdrawn after more complete documentation was submitted by the subcommittee but substantial amount of additional effort was required to resolve the matter. Whereas the Pink Sheets require only a summary of committee action(s), additional information should be provided for COS members to make an informed decision based solely on the justification presented in the committee summary of action report.

It should be noted that the negative might have been completely avoided in the first place. The voter stated "the ballot does not give a reason why an effort to replace..., in the absence of any justification for the change, I object." Based on this comment, it appears that little or no background information or explanation accompanied the balloted item in question. This underscores the need to provide such information in a cover letter. Actually, if this was a concurrent ballot, a cover letter is mandatory and a negative based on that requirement would have been sustainable. One last point to make concerning this example is emphasizing the need to contact the voter prior to the meeting to see if the voter’s concern(s) can be addressed and the negative withdrawn. Issues like this example beg the question could this negative been resolved through simple clarification? This approach is so much cleaner and reduces all the subsequent time and work in the handling and review process. Furthermore, it simply avoids the less desirable alternative of taking a Not Persuasive action.

Example 14 illustrates another common problem of taking the wrong action on the negative.

In this example, the negative should have been broken into two parts. This would have been especially helpful because the actions required are different for the two parts of the negative. The first part dealing with the age of the user was supposedly not intended to be the issue being balloted. Additional information would be needed to confirm that determination. If the section the voter questioned was included in the ballot, it could be a valid argument whether intended or not to be balloted. If it was truly not an issue being balloted, the correct motion should have been to find this part of the negative Not Related rather than Not Persuasive. The Not Related motion requires that the negative be taken up as an item of new business as the committee indicated. The second part of the negative was correctly handled as a Not Persuasive action.

Summary

We have tried to summarize the steps involved in the balloting process in Figure 1. The left hand of the diagram illustrates the flow of a well-prepared consensus ballot item. Other paths in the diagram show possible breakdowns in communication in the balloting process, which can be improved using the following suggestions:

1. Provide clear and informative cover letters for ballot items.

2. Use digital documents and clearly show additions and changes proposed in the ballot item.

3. Communicate appropriately with the negative voter. Prior to the meeting, contact the voter to clarify points of negative votes or to discuss the negative vote and negotiate possible ways to withdraw the negative.

4. In the cover letter, provide an easy means for voters to obtain copies of standards that are being balloted for re-approval. It should be a shared responsibility of both the voter and subcommittee chair to obtain the most recent standard

5. Provide complete information for the ballot item including supporting complementary data or Research Reports as appropriate.

6. Address the negative vote on a technical basis.

7. Assure that all points of the negative are addressed.

8. Subdivide the negative into the separate points and address each individually even if only one is found persuasive. Separate handling of negative points facilitates more efficient handling in future ballots.

9. Clearly show the ballot item. If only a one sentence in a paragraph is being changed, then only that sentence should be shown on the ballot as the item. Additional information can be included in the cover letter.

10. Technical Committees are responsible for terminology used in standards. Definitions must be prepared and balloted if a term is essential to the interpretation and application of a standard and the term used is not adequately defined in a common language dictionary.

11. Adequately document in the minutes all aspects of the committee and subcommittee actions including content of the negative, motions made, rationale, and votes tallies.

12. Use correct motion to handle negative. Do not vote something Not Related when it should be voted Not Persuasive or vice versa.

One final point, we strongly urge all committees to nominate members to participate in COS. Because of our participation on COS, we serve as a resource for our committee in counseling the subcommittee to prepare better ballot items, to help resolve negative ballots where possible, and to ensure proper handling and documenting actions on negatives. In our committee, we have witnessed:

1. A significant reduction of COS Negatives on actions taken by our Committee and a significant decrease in appeals made to COS and the Board of Directors;

2. An increased willingness of subcommittee chairman to efficiently and properly handle negatives;

3. A significant reduction in the time required for ballot items to become standards or incorporated into standards, and;

4. The development of stronger standards. //

References

ASTM, 2000, Form and Style for ASTM Standard: American Standards for Testing and Materials, 100 Barr Harbor Ave, West Conshohocken, PA 19428, 60p.

ASTM, 2000, Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees: American Standards for Testing and Materials, 100 Barr Harbor Ave, West Conshohocken, PA 19428, 29 p.

Brook, Morris (MO), 2000, "In praise of the Fat Lady" in ASTM Standardization News June 2000, ASTM, p. 18-19.

Copyright 2000, ASTM

James Luppens is secretary of ASTM Committee D05 on Coal and Coke and completed his tenure as a COS member from 1997 to 1999. He is a geologist employed by the Phillips Coal Company, Richardson, Texas.

Ronald Stanton is presently vice chairman of Committee D05 on Coal and Coke and served on COS from 1991 to 1993. He chaired the Form and Style Subcommittee of COS from 1992 to 1993. Stanton is a geologist employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.