W3C Process Document
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This section describes the mechanisms for establishing consensus within W3C
about the areas of Web development the Consortium chooses to pursue. An Activity organizes the work necessary
for the development or evolution of a Web technology. The ongoing work of the
Team to review Submission requests, organize workshops, and otherwise track Web developments
may culminate in an Activity proposal to the
Membership. This is a proposal to dedicate Team and Member resources to a
particular area of Web technology or policy, and when there is consensus about
the motivation, scope, and structure of the proposed work, W3C starts a new
Each Activity has its own structure that generally includes Working Groups,
Interest Groups, and Coordination Groups. Within the framework of an Activity,
these groups may produce technical reports, review the work of other groups,
develop sample code or test suites, etc.
The progress of each Activity is documented in an Activity statement. Activity statements should
describe the goals of the Activity, completed and unfinished deliverables,
changing perspectives based on experience, future plans, etc. At least before
each ordinary Advisory Committee
meeting, the Team should revise the Activity statement for each Activity
that has not been closed.
Refer to the list of W3C Activities
[PUB9]. Note: This list includes some Activities that
began prior to the formalization in 1997 of the Activity creation process.
W3C creates, modifies, or extends an Activity as follows:
- The Director sends an
Activity proposal to the Advisory Committee.
- The Advisory Committee reviews and
comments on the proposal. The review period must be at least four weeks. During the review period, Advisory
Committee representatives must disclose, according to the W3C IPR policy, knowledge of relevant IPR
- The Director announces to the Advisory Committee whether there is consensus
within W3C to create the Activity (with possible modifications suggested during
the review). This announcement may include a call for participation in any groups created as part of the Activity.
- If there was dissent, Advisory
Committee representatives may appeal a
decision to create, modify, or extend an Activity. Note: There
is no appeal of a decision not to create an Activity; in general, drafting a
new Activity proposal will be simpler than following the appeal process.
Activities are intended to be flexible. W3C expects participants to be able
to adapt in the face of new ideas (e.g., Submission requests), increased
understanding of goals and context, etc., while remaining true to the intent of
the original Activity proposal. If it becomes necessary to make substantial
changes to an Activity (e.g., because significant additional resources are
required, the Activity's scope has clearly changed from the original proposal,
etc.) then the Director must propose the changes to the Advisory Committee by
following the same review process.
A proposal to extend the duration of an Activity without otherwise modifying
it substantially must indicate the new duration and include rationale for the
extension, but is not required to include all of the information required for a
full Activity proposal.
A proposal to modify or extend an Activity should provide rationale for the
change and include information about the current state of the Activity.
An Activity proposal must specify a duration for the Activity. The Director,
subject to appeal by Advisory Committee
representatives, may close an Activity prior to the date specified in the
proposal in any of the following circumstances:
- Groups in the Activity fail to produce chartered deliverables.
- Groups in the Activity produce chartered deliverables ahead of
- There are insufficient resources to maintain the Activity, according to
priorities established within W3C.
An Activity proposal defines the initial scope and structure of an Activity.
In general, the Team drafts Activity proposals based on perceived Member and
public interest in a particular area of Web development, Submission requests from Members, input
gathered during workshops, discussions among
group Chairs, etc.
An Activity proposal must include or reference the following
- An Activity summary. What is the nature of the Activity (e.g., to track
developments, create technical reports, develop code, organize pilot
experiments, education, etc.)? Who or what group wants this (providers, users,
- Context information. Why is this Activity being proposed now? What is the
situation in the world (community, market, research, society, etc.) within the
scope of the proposal? Who or what currently exists that is pertinent to this
Activity? Is the community mature/growing/developing a niche? What competing
technologies exist? What competing organizations exist?
- A description of the Activity's scope. How might a potential Recommendation
interact and overlap with existing international standards and Recommendations?
What organizations are likely to be affected by potential overlap? What must be
changed if the process is put into place?
- A description of the Activity's initial deployment, including:
- The duration of the Activity.
- What groups will be created as part of
this Activity and how those groups will be coordinated. For each group, the
proposal must include a provisional charter. Groups may be scheduled to run
concurrently or sequentially (either because of a dependency or an expected
overlap in Membership and the desirability of working on one subject at a
time). These charters may be amended based on review comments before the
Director issues a call for
participation in a new group.
- The expected timeline of the Activity, including proposed deliverable
dates, scheduled workshops, symposia,
- If known, the date of the first
face-to-face meeting of a proposed group. The date of the first
face-to-face meeting of a proposed group must not be sooner than eight weeks after the date of the Activity proposal.
- A summary of resources (Member, Team, administrative, technical, and
financial) expected to be dedicated to the Activity. The proposal may specify
the threshold level of effort that Members must pledge in order for the
Activity to be accepted.
- Information about known dependencies within W3C or outside of W3C.
- Intellectual property information. What intellectual property (for example,
an implementation) must be available for licensing and is this intellectual
property available for a reasonable fee and in a non-discriminatory manner? The
proposal should remind Advisory Committee representatives to disclose,
according to W3C's IPR policy, knowledge of
relevant IPR claims.
- A list of supporters, references, etc. What community should benefit from
this Activity? Are members of this community part of W3C now? Are they expected
to join the effort?