Archive Editing Policy

This document outlines the conditions, requirements, and considerations for processing modification requests in W3C Mailing Lists Archives. See below for information about:


The effectiveness with which the W3C attains its objectives centers on a trust between W3C and its many audiences. Participants in W3C activities, and subscribers to its lists, where much of the day-to-day discussion of technical, operational, and communications issues occurs, rely on the mailing lists and archives maintained by the W3C to be persistently accessible repositories of e-mail communications regarding the various activities and operations of the W3C and its contributors. Accordingly, it is paramount that the archives are maintained at a consistent level of integrity: they should rarely be edited.

On the rare occasions that need arises to edit information contained in archived messages, careful examination will be given to the particular circumstances of the request, in order to ensure a fair and balanced disposition.

Conditions of Policy

The need for editing or excising material contained in an archived message is addressed only when the sender of the archived message requests it. Carefully documented exceptions may be considered.

Role of the Sender

While W3C has implemented methods to protect e-mail addressess in W3C-hosted list archives, it is the sole responsibility of each user of the archives to exercise care in the disposition of privacy information. A request for an archival edit is not a remedy for indiscriminate handling of personal privacy information. Neither is the editing of the archives an appropriate solution for decreasing one's exposure to Unsolicted Bulk E-mail, or Spam, or removing traces of embarassing or inconvenient Public postings.

Accordingly, senders must carefully consider any disclosure of private information or confidential comments made by named correspondents in non-Public messages. Public disclosure of private information or confidential communications on a W3C forum will be rapidly crawled, cached, indexed, and recorded in many mirror sites, and result in high scoring in search engine returns.

Senders should include detailed justification that will give evaluating managers and Systems staff a clear sense of the urgency and needs of the requestor.

Specific request components

A request for an archival edit should include the following:

  • A complete detailed rationale for the request.
  • A precise description of the material to be edited.
  • A statement indicating an understanding of this policy.

General Considerations

Timeliness is paramount for effectively countering any adverse circumstances resulting from posted material in W3C archives. Mail sent to a list is immediately distributed to all subscribers of the list. Therefore, requests should be submitted as soon as the need for the action is identified.

It is the nature of the archives to house, and make available, the records of discussion in each of the individual fora. Any request for editing of the archives entails a change in these records, and is very carefully scrutinized. The W3C staff will seek to be fair, and will consider each case on its individual merits.

While the W3C is sensitive to the need for protecting personal information from exploitation by spammers, we cannot engage in the revision of the archives for the purpose of decreasing one's vulnerability to Spam or search engine exposure. Neither can we revise archival material for the purpose of updating personal contact information within posts: Archives are historical documents, not personal records. If a sender posts to a Public forum, it should be understood the information will be publicly available in perpetuity.

Non-edit Conditions

Archive edits will not be made for any of the following:

  • To reduce an individual's exposure to Spam
  • To reduce an individual's exposure to search engine returns
  • To remove or update personal address data
  • Any post recorded as sender-approved through the archive approval system

All requests will be examined by W3C managers and Systems staff to ensure careful and efficient processing of each request. The disposition of each request will be recorded in the team-only archive team-archive-editor@w3.org.

Method of Request

The sender of the archived message should send a request to team-archive-editor@w3.org. This is a W3C Team-confidential list that is used to process and record W3C staff actions, and the resolution of each request.