W3C Process Document

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

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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.

1.1 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. Employees 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 may subscribe according to the Full Member agreement [PUB6] or the Affiliate Member agreement [PUB7]. The Team must ensure that Member participation agreements remain Team confidential 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 [PUB7]. In this case, the same restrictions pertaining to related Members apply should the individual be employed by or affiliated with another W3C Member.

1.1.1 Rights of Members

Each Member organization enjoys the following rights and benefits:

In the case (described in paragraph 5g of the Full and Affiliate Member agreements), 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 may exercise all the rights and privileges of W3C Membership. In addition, the Advisory Committee representative may designate up to four (or more at the Chairman's discretion) unpaid individuals from the organization who may exercise the rights of Membership. 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.

1.1.2 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 or employee of the other, or
  2. Both Members are subsidiaries of a common entity.

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].

1.1.3 Member Confidentiality

Members must treat all Member-only documents as confidential within W3C and use reasonable efforts to maintain this confidentiality and not to release this information to the general public or press. Access to Member-only information may be extended by Advisory Committee representatives to fellow employees considered appropriate recipients. All recipients must respect the intended (limited) scope of Member-only information. For instance, Advisory Committee representatives and fellow employees should ensure that Member-only news announcements are distributed for internal use only within their organization. Information about Member mailing lists is available in the New Member orientation [MEM4].

The Team must provide mechanisms to protect the confidentiality of Member-only information and ensure that Members and other authorized people have proper access to this information. Documents on the Web should clearly indicate whether they require Member-only confidentiality.

1.1.4 Advisory Committee (AC)

When an organization joins W3C [PUB5], it must name its Advisory Committee representative as part of the Membership agreement. A New Member orientation [MEM4] explains how to subscribe or unsubscribe to Advisory Committee mailing lists, provides information about Advisory Committee meetings, etc. Advisory Committee representatives must follow the conflict of interest policy by disclosing information according to the mechanisms described in the New Member orientation [MEM4]. Additional information for Members is available at the Member Web site [MEM6].

Advisory Committee Mailing Lists

The Team must use a mailing list for official announcements (e.g., those required by this document) from the Team to the Advisory Committee. Each Advisory Committee representative should be subscribed to this list. An Advisory Committee representative may request that additional individuals from their organization be subscribed to this list. Failure to contain distribution internally may result in suspension of additional email addresses, at the discretion of the Team.

The Team must also make available a mailing list for discussions among Advisory Committee representatives.

Advisory Committee Meetings

The Team must organize a face-to-face meeting for the Advisory Committee twice a year. The Chairman is the Chair of these meetings. At each Advisory Committee meeting, the Team should provide an update to the Advisory Committee about:

Resources
Allocations

Each Member organization should send one employee to each Advisory Committee meeting as its representative. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., during a period of transition between representatives from an organization), the Chairman may allow a Member organization to send two employees to a meeting. Additional employees may attend the meeting when invited by the Chairman (e.g., the Chairman may invite the Advisory Board or group Chairs to attend the 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.

At least eight weeks before an Advisory Committee meeting, the Chairman should solicit agenda suggestions from Advisory Committee representatives. The Chairman should announce the agenda two weeks before the meeting. The Team should make available minutes from each Advisory Committee meeting within two weeks of the meeting.

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

1.2 The W3C Team

The Team consists of the W3C paid staff and W3C Fellows (i.e., Member employees working as part of the Team). It is led by the Chairman and the Director. 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 Chairman manages the general operation of the Consortium, oversees the development of the W3C international structure (e.g., role of Host institutions, etc.), coordinates liaisons with other standards bodies, and addresses legal and policy issues. The Chairman is the Chair of the Advisory Board and chairs Advisory Committee Meetings.

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 Chair of the TAG.

It is likely that some of the Team will be appointed to the TAG by the Director.

A W3C decision is one where either:

Both the Director and the Chairman may delegate responsibility to the Team for any of the Director's or Chairman's roles described in this document. Team administrative information such as Team salaries, detailed budgeting, and other business decisions are Team confidential, subject to oversight by the Host institutions.

Note: W3C is not currently incorporated. For legal contracts, W3C is represented by three "Host" institutions: L'Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA), Keio University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Each Host institution exercises all the rights and privileges of W3C Membership.

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

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

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

The Advisory Board should send a summary of each of its meetings to the Advisory Committee. Advisory Board representatives should attend Advisory Committee meetings. The Chairman may invite other members of the Team to participate in Advisory Board meetings.

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 [MEM13].

1.3.1 Advisory Board participation

Individuals on the Advisory Board participate as individual contributors and not representatives of their organizations. Advisory Board participants use their best judgment to find the best solutions for the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user.

The Advisory Board consists of nine elected participants and the Chairman, who is the Chair of the Advisory Board. With the exception of the Chairman, the terms of all Advisory Board participants are for two years. The terms are staggered so that four or five terms expire each year. If an individual is elected to fill an incomplete term, that individual's term will end at the normal expiration date of that term.

Advisory Board participants are expected to participate regularly and fully. The AB uses the same good standing rules as Working Groups.

An Advisory Board participant may resign, change affiliations, or fail to remain in good standing. When any one of these three occurs, the Chairman may declare the participant's seat to be vacant. If more than four months remain in the term of a vacated seat, a special election will be held to fill it; otherwise, the vacant seat will be filled at the next regular AB election.

Advisory Board participants who are not employees of a Member organization must agree to the terms of the invited expert and collaborators agreement [PUB17]. Advisory Board participants must follow the conflict of interest policy by disclosing information to the rest of the Advisory Board.

1.4 Technical Architecture Group (TAG)

Created in 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 architectural brought to the TAG;
  3. to help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C.

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 background and scope of the TAG, as well as expected qualifications of TAG participants.

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

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-only discussions (e.g., about a rejected Submission appeal), the TAG may require the use of TAG-only lists that will be visible to the TAG and Team. Additional information about communications mechanisms will be located at the TAG Web site.

The TAG should send a summary of each of its meetings to the Advisory Committee. TAG participants should attend Advisory Committee meetings. The Director may invite other people to participate in TAG meetings; these individuals do not have voting rights.

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].

1.4.1 Technical Architecture Group participation

Individuals on the TAG participate as individual contributors and not representatives of their organizations. TAG participants use their best judgment to find the best solutions for the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user.

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

Three TAG participants are appointed by the W3C Team under the leadership of the Director. Appointees need not be on the W3C Team.

The remaining five TAG participants are elected by the W3C Advisory Committee following the AB/TAG nomination and election process. TAG elections should be offset from Advisory Board elections by approximately six months. Nominees need not be employees of a Member organization. A nominee from a Member organization should have employer approval in order to participate. W3C Fellows (employees of W3C Members who are part of the Team) may be appointed or elected to the TAG.

When the TAG must vote to resolve an issue, each TAG participant has one vote (whether appointed, elected, or the Chair).

With the exception of the Director, the terms of all TAG participants are for two years. Terms are staggered to promote continuity across elections: each year, either two or three elected terms, and either one or two appointed terms will expire. If an individual is appointed or elected to fill an incomplete term, that individual's term will end at the normal expiration date of that term.

TAG participants are expected to participate regularly and fully. The TAG uses the same good standing rules as Working Groups.

A TAG participant may resign, change affiliations, or fail to remain in good standing. When any one of these three occurs, the Director may replace appointed participants with a new appointment, or may declare an elected participant's seat to be vacant. If more than four months remain in the term of a vacated seat, a special election will be held to fill it; otherwise, the vacant seat will be filled at the next regular TAG election.

TAG participants who are not employees of a Member organization must agree to the terms of the invited expert and collaborators agreement [PUB17]. TAG participants must follow the conflict of interest policy by disclosing information to the rest of the TAG.

1.5 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group participation limitations

Given the few seats available on the Advisory Board and the TAG, and in order to ensure that the diversity of W3C Membership 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 Director will declare one participant's seat to be vacant. When more than one individual is involved, the verifiable random procedure described below will be used to choose one person for continued participation.

Note: These participation constraints do not apply to the W3C Team.

1.6 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group elections

The Advisory Board and a portion of the Technical Architecture Group are elected by the Advisory Committee.

The election process begins when the Chairman sends a call for nominations to the Advisory Committee. The call specifies the number of available seats, the deadline for nominations, and the address where nominations must be sent. Nominations should be made with the consent of the nominee and should include a few informative paragraphs about the nominee.

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

Nomination and election details will be verifiable but Team-confidential; the only information that will be made public is the final list of participants.

Terms begin with the announcement of the final election results.

1.6.1 Selecting participants in case of a tie

For AB or TAG processes, when it is necessary to "draw straws" -- to choose an individual in a random and verifiable manner (e.g., to fill a short term or in case of a tie) -- the following random procedure based on RFC 2777 will be used:

  1. The ballot must contain the following information:
  2. After the election process is complete, the successful candidates are assigned numbers in the order in which their names appeared on the ballot; the first successful candidate is "1" and so forth.
  3. Using the algorithm in RFC2777 to order the successful candidates, the available terms are filled shortest first.

As an example, if there were two one-year seats and one two-year seat available, then the example in section 5 of RFC2777 would lead to Pendragon and Grouchy being assigned to the one-year seats and Sneazy being assigned to the two-year seat.