HTML Accessibility Task Force Consensus Procedures

Status: This document was approved by the HTML WG on 31 October 2013 and approved by the PFWG on 23 October 2013 and replaces any previous version effective 31 October 2013. Updated $Date: 2013-11-04 16:04:09 $, by $Author: msadecki $

This document explains the decision process of the HTML Accessibility Task Force.

There are often divergent opinions on issues before us. It is important that all views are expressed and considered but it is critical to our function that we can come to conclusions.

The Working Groups use their own procedures for how to handle the advice. Formal decisions of the task force are advisory and do not bind the sponsoring Working Groups to a particular course of action.

  1. Discussion on a topic proceeds until the facilitators believe that all expressed points of view have been heard and considered. In order to keep the task force moving on its topics, the facilitators normally hope to carry out discussion for two weeks, but may allow longer discussion time if necessary.
  2. When the facilitators believe that the group is ready to come to a decision they announce a Call for Consensus either by email to the Task Force's regular mailing list, or as a Web-based survey. There must be a minimum deadline of three working days, and there should be at least seven consecutive days to respond. There should be a scheduled teleconference with the question on the agenda during the duration of the Call for Consensus. Comments made in a teleconference may not be considered formal comments on the Call for Consensus - all comments should be made in the relevant survey or email thread.

    1. If no objections are received by the deadline, the draft decision becomes a formal decision of the task force.
    2. If objections are received but the facilitators believe the objections have already been considered and addressed and there is an overall consensus, the draft decision becomes a formal decision of the task force with objections. Objections are recorded as an appendix to the formal decision.
    3. If objections are received that the facilitators believe present substantive new information, or if the facilitators believe there is not a clear consensus in the Task Force they should reopen the discussion.
  3. The Task Force facilitators notify the sponsoring Working Groups of Formal Decisions as advice of the HTML Accessibility Task Force.

During discussion on a topic, participants are are welcome to raise objections liberally to make sure all angles are considered. However, when the facilitators issue a Call for Consensus, objections should not be raised unless the individual strongly believes the decision is the wrong one in spite of discussion, and the individual cannot "live with" the decision. Compromise on points that the individual considers suboptimal but can "live with" is an essential part of group decisions that must meet various requirements.

If a participant believes the facilitators have not exercised sound judgment in following this policy, they should express their concern first to a chair of one of the sponsoring Working Groups, escalating if needed to a staff contact of a sponsoring Working Group, and escalating if needed to the W3C Interaction or Accessibility Domain Lead.

Flowchart of the consensus procedure