W3C Process Document

2 Members, Advisory Committee, Team, Advisory Board, Technical Architecture Group

W3C's mission is to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C Member organizations provide resources to this end, and the W3C Team provides the technical leadership and organization to coordinate the effort.

2.1 Members

W3C Members are primarily represented in W3C processes as follows:

  1. The Advisory Committee is composed of one representative from each Member organization (refer to the Member-only list of current Advisory Committee representatives [MEM1]). The Advisory Committee: Advisory Committee representatives have appeal powers for some processes described in this document.
  2. Representatives of Member organizations participate in Working Groups, Interest Groups, and Coordination Groups and author and review documents on the Recommendation Track.

W3C membership is open to all entities, as described in "How to Join W3C" [PUB5]; (refer to the public list of current W3C Members [PUB8]). Organizations subscribe according to the Membership Agreement [PUB6]. The Team MUST ensure that Member participation agreements remain Team-only and that no Member receives preferential treatment within W3C.

W3C does not have a class of membership tailored to, or priced for individuals. However, an individual MAY join W3C as an Affiliate Member. In this case the same restrictions pertaining to related Members apply when the individual also represents another W3C Member.

2.1.1 Rights of Members

Each Member organization enjoys the following rights and benefits:

Furthermore, representatives of Member organizations participate in W3C as follows:

In the case (described in paragraph 5g of the Membership Agreement), where a Member organization is itself a consortium, user society, or otherwise has members or sponsors, the organization's paid staff and Advisory Committee representative exercise all the rights and privileges of W3C membership. In addition, the Advisory Committee representative MAY designate up to four (or more at the Team's discretion) individuals who, though not employed by the organization, MAY exercise the rights of Member representatives. These individuals MUST disclose their employment affiliation when participating in W3C work. Provisions for related Members apply. Furthermore, these individuals are expected to represent the broad interests of the W3C Member organization and not the parochial interests of their employers.

The rights and benefits of W3C membership are contingent upon conformance to the processes described in this document. The vast majority of W3C Members faithfully follow the spirit as well as the letter of these processes. When serious and/or repeated violations do occur, and repeated attempts to address these violations have not resolved the situation, the Director MAY take disciplinary action. Arbitration in the case of further disagreement is governed by paragraph 19 of the Membership Agreement. Refer to the Guidelines for Disciplinary Action [MEM14].

2.1.2 Related Members

In the interest of ensuring the integrity of the consensus process, Member involvement in some of the processes in this document is affected by related Member status. As used herein, two Members are related if:

  1. Either Member is a subsidiary of the other, or
  2. Both Members are subsidiaries of a common entity, or
  3. The Members have an employment contract or consulting contract that affects W3C participation.

A subsidiary is an organization of which effective control and/or majority ownership rests with another, single organization.

Related Members MUST disclose these relationships according to the mechanisms described in the New Member Orientation [MEM4].

2.1.3 Advisory Committee (AC)

When an organization joins W3C (see "How to Join W3C" [PUB5]), it MUST name its Advisory Committee representative as part of the Membership Agreement. The New Member Orientation explains how to subscribe or unsubscribe to Advisory Committee mailing lists, provides information about Advisory Committee meetings, explains how to name a new Advisory Committee representative, and more. Advisory Committee representatives MUST follow the conflict of interest policy by disclosing information according to the mechanisms described in the New Member Orientation. See also the additional roles of Advisory Committee representatives described in the W3C Patent Policy [PUB33].

Additional information for Members is available at the Member Web site [MEM6].

2.1.3.1 Advisory Committee Mailing Lists

The Team MUST provide two mailing lists for use by the Advisory Committee:

  1. One for official announcements (e.g., those required by this document) from the Team to the Advisory Committee. This list is read-only for Advisory Committee representatives.
  2. One for discussion among Advisory Committee representatives. Though this list is primarily for Advisory Committee representatives, the Team MUST monitor discussion and SHOULD participate in discussion when appropriate. Ongoing detailed discussions SHOULD be moved to other appropriate lists (new or existing, such as a mailing list created for a workshop).

An Advisory Committee representative MAY request that additional individuals from their organization be subscribed to these lists. Failure to contain distribution internally MAY result in suspension of additional email addresses, at the discretion of the Team.

2.1.3.2 Advisory Committee Meetings

The Team organizes a face-to-face meeting for the Advisory Committee twice a year. The Team appoints the Chair of these meetings (generally the W3C Chair or Chief Operating Officer). At each Advisory Committee meeting, the Team SHOULD provide an update to the Advisory Committee about:

Resources
Allocations

Each Member organization SHOULD send one representative to each Advisory Committee meeting. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., during a period of transition between representatives from an organization), the meeting Chair MAY allow a Member organization to send two representatives to a meeting.

The Team MUST announce the date and location of each Advisory Committee meeting no later than at the end of the previous meeting; one year's notice is preferred. The Team MUST announce the region of each Advisory Committee meeting at least one year in advance.

More information about Advisory Committee meetings [MEM5] is available at the Member Web site.

2.2 The W3C Team

The Team consists of the W3C paid staff, unpaid interns, and W3C Fellows. W3C Fellows are Member employees working as part of the Team; see the W3C Fellows Program [PUB32]. The Team provides technical leadership about Web technologies, organizes and manages W3C Activities to reach goals within practical constraints (such as resources available), and communicates with the Members and the public about the Web and W3C technologies.

The Team is led by the Director, W3C Chair, and Chief Operating Officer. These individuals MAY delegate responsibility (generally to other individuals in the Team) for any of their roles described in this document.

The Director is the lead technical architect at W3C and as such, is responsible for assessing consensus within W3C for architectural choices, publication of technical reports, and new Activities. The Director appoints group Chairs and has the role of "tie-breaker" for questions of Good Standing in a Working Group or appeal of a Working Group decision. The Director is generally Chair of the TAG.

The W3C Chair leads Member relations, and liaisons with other organizations, governments, and the public.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) leads the operation of W3C as an organization: a collection of people, Host institutions, and processes.

Team administrative information such as Team salaries, detailed budgeting, and other business decisions are Team-only, subject to oversight by the Host institutions.

Note: W3C is not currently incorporated. For legal contracts, W3C is represented by three "Host" institutions: the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), Keio University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Within W3C, the Host institutions are governed by joint sponsorship contracts; the Hosts themselves are not W3C Members.

2.2.1 Team Submissions

The Team MAY request that the Director publish information at the W3C Web site. At the Director's discretion, these documents are published as "Team Submissions". These documents are analogous to Member Submissions (e.g., in expected scope). However, there is no additional Team comment.

Team Submissions are not part of the Recommendation Track process.

The list of published Team Submissions [PUB16] is available at the W3C Web site.

2.3 Advisory Board (AB)

Created in March 1998, the Advisory Board provides ongoing guidance to the Team on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution. The Advisory Board also serves the Members by tracking issues raised between Advisory Committee meetings, soliciting Member comments on such issues, and proposing actions to resolve these issues. The Advisory Board manages the evolution of the Process Document. The Advisory Board hears appeals of Member Submission requests that are rejected for reasons unrelated to Web architecture; see also the TAG.

The Advisory Board is not a board of directors and has no decision-making authority within W3C; its role is strictly advisory.

The Team MUST make available a mailing list for the Advisory Board to use for its communication, confidential to the Advisory Board and Team.

The Advisory Board SHOULD send a summary of each of its meetings to the Advisory Committee and other group Chairs. The Advisory Board SHOULD also report on its activities at each Advisory Committee meeting.

Details about the Advisory Board (e.g., the list of Advisory Board participants, mailing list information, and summaries of Advisory Board meetings) are available at the Advisory Board home page [PUB30].

2.3.1 Advisory Board Participation

The Advisory Board consists of nine elected participants and a Chair. The Team appoints the Chair of the Advisory Board, who is generally the W3C Chair.

The remaining nine Advisory Board participants are elected by the W3C Advisory Committee following the AB/TAG nomination and election process.

With the exception of the Chair, the terms of all Advisory Board participants are for two years. Terms are staggered so that each year, either four or five terms expire. If an individual is elected to fill an incomplete term, that individual's term ends at the normal expiration date of that term. Regular Advisory Board terms begin on 1 July and end on 30 June.

2.4 Technical Architecture Group (TAG)

Created in February 2001, the mission of the TAG is stewardship of the Web architecture. There are three aspects to this mission:

  1. to document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary;
  2. to resolve issues involving general Web architecture brought to the TAG;
  3. to help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C.

The TAG hears appeals of Member Submission requests that are rejected for reasons related to Web architecture; see also the Advisory Board.

The TAG's scope is limited to technical issues about Web architecture. The TAG SHOULD NOT consider administrative, process, or organizational policy issues of W3C, which are generally addressed by the W3C Advisory Committee, Advisory Board, and Team. Please refer to the TAG charter [PUB25] for more information about the background and scope of the TAG, and the expected qualifications of TAG participants.

The Team MUST make available two mailing lists for the TAG:

The TAG MAY also request the creation of additional topic-specific, public mailing lists. For some TAG discussions (e.g., an appeal of a rejected Member Submission request), the TAG MAY use a list that will be Member-only.

The TAG SHOULD send a summary of each of its meetings to the Advisory Committee and other group Chairs. The TAG SHOULD also report on its activities at each Advisory Committee meeting.

When the TAG votes to resolve an issue, each TAG participant (whether appointed, elected, or the Chair) has one vote; see also the section on voting in the TAG charter [PUB25] and the general section on votes in this Process Document.

Details about the TAG (e.g., the list of TAG participants, mailing list information, and summaries of TAG meetings) are available at the TAG home page [PUB26].

2.4.1 Technical Architecture Group Participation

The TAG consists of eight elected or appointed participants and a Chair. The Team appoints the Chair of the TAG, who is generally the Director.

Three TAG participants are appointed by the Director. Appointees are NOT REQUIRED to be on the W3C Team. The Director MAY appoint W3C Fellows to the TAG.

The remaining five TAG participants are elected by the W3C Advisory Committee following the AB/TAG nomination and election process.

With the exception of the Chair, the terms of all TAG participants are for two years. Terms are staggered so that each year, either two or three elected terms, and either one or two appointed terms expire. If an individual is appointed or elected to fill an incomplete term, that individual's term ends at the normal expiration date of that term. Regular TAG terms begin on 1 February and end on 31 January.

2.5 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Participation

Advisory Board and TAG participants have a special role within W3C: they are elected by the Membership and appointed by the Director with the expectation that they will use their best judgment to find the best solutions for the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user. Advisory Board and TAG participants are expected to participate regularly and fully. Good Standing rules as defined for Working Group participants also apply to Advisory Board and TAG participants. Advisory Board and TAG participants SHOULD attend Advisory Committee meetings.

An individual participates on the Advisory Board or TAG from the moment the individual's term begins until the term ends or the seat is vacated. Although Advisory Board and TAG participants do not advocate for the commercial interests of their employers, their participation does carry the responsibilities associated with Member representation, Invited Expert status, or Team representation (as described in the section on the AB/TAG nomination and election process). See also the licensing obligations on TAG participants in section 3 of the W3C Patent Policy [PUB33], and the claim exclusion process of section 4.

2.5.1 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Participation Constraints

Given the few seats available on the Advisory Board and the TAG, and in order to ensure that the diversity of W3C Members is represented:

If, for whatever reason, these constraints are not satisfied (e.g., because a TAG or AB participant changes jobs), one participant MUST cease TAG or AB participation until the situation has been resolved. If after 30 days the situation has not been resolved, the Chair will declare one participant's seat to be vacant. When more than one individual is involved, the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to choose one person for continued participation.

2.5.2 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections

The Advisory Board and a portion of the Technical Architecture Group are elected by the Advisory Committee. An election begins when the Team sends a Call for Nominations to the Advisory Committee. Any Call for Nominations specifies the number of available seats, the deadline for nominations, and the address where nominations are sent.

Each Member (or group of related Members) MAY nominate one individual. A nomination MUST be made with the consent of the nominee. In order for an individual to be nominated as a Member representative, the individual MUST qualify for Member representation and the Member's Advisory Committee representative MUST include in the nomination the (same) information required for a Member representative in a Working Group. In order for an individual to be nominated as an Invited Expert, the individual MUST provide the (same) information required for an Invited Expert in a Working Group and the nominating Advisory Committee representative MUST include that information in the nomination. In order for an individual to be nominated as a Team representative, the nominating Advisory Committee representative MUST first secure approval from Team management. A nominee is NOT REQUIRED to be an employee of a Member organization, and MAY be a W3C Fellow. Each nomination SHOULD include a few informative paragraphs about the nominee.

If, after the deadline for nominations, the number of nominees is:

When there is a vote, each Member (or group of related Members) MAY vote for as many candidates as there are available seats; see the section on Advisory Committee votes. Once the deadline for votes has passed, the Team announces the results to the Advisory Committee. The candidates with the most votes are elected to the available seats. In case of a tie where there are more apparent winners than available seats (e.g., three candidates receive 10 votes each for two seats), the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to fill the available seats.

Refer to How to Organize an Advisory Board or TAG election [MEM15] for more details.

2.5.2.1 Verifiable Random Selection Procedure

When it is necessary to use a verifiable random selection process (e.g., in an AB or TAG election, to "draw straws" in case of a tie or to fill a short term), W3C uses the random and verifiable procedure defined in RFC 2777 [RFC2777]. The procedure orders an input list of names (listed in alphabetical order by family name unless otherwise specified) into a "result order."

W3C applies this procedure as follows:

  1. When N people have tied for M seats. In this case, only the names of the N individuals who tied are provided as input to the procedure. The M seats are assigned to individuals in result order.
  2. When it is necessary to assign one or more short terms to elected participants. In this case, the names of all elected individuals (after resolution of ties) are provided as input to the procedure. Short terms are assigned to individuals in result order.

2.5.3 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Vacated Seats

An Advisory Board or TAG participant's seat is vacated when either of the following occurs:

When an Advisory Board or TAG participant changes affiliations, as long as Advisory Board and TAG participation constraints are respected, the individual MAY continue to participate until the next regularly scheduled election for that group. Otherwise, the seat is vacated.

When a seat is vacated, it is filled at the next regularly scheduled election for the group.