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The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. The W3C Process Document describes the organizational structure of the W3C and the processes related to the responsibilities and functions they exercise to enable W3C to accomplish its mission. This document does not describe the internal workings of the Team or W3C's public communication mechanisms.
For more information about the W3C mission and the history of W3C, please refer to About W3C [PUB15].
This draft of the W3C Process Document is presented for Advisory Committee Review and adoption by the W3C. This document has been produced following the W3C Advisory Committee Last Call review of the proposed update to the W3C Process. It incorporates changes to Chapter 7 and a proposed resolution of issue-95. A Public Issue Tracker and detailed changelogs are available.
W3C Advisory Committee Members are invited to send formal review comments to the W3C Team until 2 June 2014 using the Call for Review form. To comment, aside from Advisory Committee comments, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org (public archive) or to email@example.com (Member-only archive).
This document has been produced by the W3C Advisory Board in accordance with Section 12 of the current (2005) W3C Process.
The major focus of changes has been to clarify obligations, and who is obliged to meet them, in the process of developing a specification as a W3C Recommendation or Note. A particular change, removing the Last Call phase is intended to clarify that Working Groups are responsible for ensuring that their specification is made available for review and is actively reviewed at appropriate points in its development by appropriate stakeholders. This is particularly intended to stop the cycling of specifications between Last Call (for Patent review) and Candidate Recommendation, as well as to more generally support methodologies such as test-driven standardisation, without enforcing a specific methodology on any group and without losing the overall benefit of W3C's requirement for "horizontal" review.
Major changes from the currently operative 14 October 2005 Process Document include
The document has also been converted from XHTML 1.0 to HTML5.
W3C, including all existing chartered groups, follows the most recent operative Process Document announced to the Membership.
The terms must, must not, should, should not, required, and may when highlighted (through style sheets, and in uppercase in the source) are used in accordance with RFC 2119 [RFC2119]. The term not required is equivalent to the term may as defined in RFC 2119.
Some terms have been capitalized in this document (and in other W3C materials) to indicate that they are entities with special relevance to the W3C Process. These terms are defined herein, and readers should be aware that the ordinary (English) definitions are incomplete for purposes of understanding this document.
W3C Members' attention is called to the fact that provisions of the Process Document are binding on Members per the Membership Agreement [PUB6]. The Patent Policy W3C Patent Policy [PUB33] is incorporated by normative reference as a part of the Process Document, and is thus equally binding.
The Patent Policy places additional obligations on Members, Team, and other participants in W3C. The Process Document does not restate those requirements but includes references to them. The Process Document and Patent Policy have been designed so that they may evolve independently.
In the Process Document, the term "participant" refers to an individual, not an organization.