Positive Work Environment Task Force

[DRAFT] Statement of W3C Community Principles


As of 2012, this DOCUMENT IS OBSOLETE, PLEASE SEE OUR NEW CODE (member-only during development, public eventually)

The Positive Work Environment Task Force's objective was to develop a community statement of principles regarding how people working in the W3C community should treat each other -- e.g., with respect, with professionalism, fairness, sensitivity to our many differences and strengths, tolerance to differences, and by providing support.

A set of Procedures [member-only] accompany these Principles for use in the case where someone feels others in the community have behaved outside of the community principles.

This document is world-readable [22 September 2009]. It is still under development. We welcome feedback.

This document is a draft (although nearing maturity) of the Positive Work Environment set of Principles. It is owned by the Positive Work Environment Task Force. The content may change at any moment. The content has not yet been reviewed by W3C as a whole.


W3C is a global community where participants choose to work through differences in language, location, nationality, and experience. In such a diverse environment, misunderstandings and disagreements happen, and in most cases can be resolved informally. In rare cases, however, behavior can intimidate, harass, or otherwise disrupt one or more people in the community. This will not be tolerated at W3C.

To help all parties understand how to avoid these situations, and to help maintain a positive work environment, W3C has compiled a list of principles. A separate document outlines procedures available for any member of the W3C community in cases where one party feels that another party has acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the W3C community principles.


The Community Principles are intended to ensure a positive work environment, and to make it possible for a diverse and global community to contribute.
Group chairs and staff contacts, and the W3C management are expected to serve as role models in the promotion of a positive work environment, without in any way abdicating their responsibility to direct their collaborators to perform work effectively. They are expected to listen to suggestions and to take reasonable actions so that problems may be addressed in a timely and appropriate manner.
This commitment calls for a workplace where the following beliefs are upheld:
1. Respect. Contributors at all levels must treat each other with respect, professionalism and fairness, including in situations of high pressure and urgency.
2. Tolerance. Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others (Postel's Law). Do your best to avoid offending the people with whom you are communicating.
3. Support. Be proactive in handling issues when they are perceived, disarming the potential for misunderstanding, and generally supporting your colleagues. Contributors at all levels should be able to discuss issues of concern without fear that those discussions will result in any retaliation from somebody above or below them in the hierarchy.

Coralie Mercier

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