I participated in numerous discussions during the last few months of 2006 about how W3C needs to do a better job in its communications. We’ve taken a positive step this week: W3C has begun to make draft charters public while the Membership is reviewing them. Each W3C group has a charter that describes its mission, scope of work, deliverables, other groups it plans to coordinate with, and basic operations. All proposed charter changes (other than simple extensions) are reviewed by the Membership and, if supported, take effect (see the Process Document for more information). All approved charters are public, but until now, few charters have been publicly available during Member review (which usually lasts about 4 weeks).
We hope that this change will lead to constructive early public feedback. Early public visiblity should also us to share plans for new work with other organizations and even to recruit participants. We will announce these charters on firstname.lastname@example.org (archive) and discussion can take place on email@example.com (archive).
I am pleased to be involved in a number of related discussions about improving W3C’s outreach. I look forward to reporting similar initiatives in this forum as we adopt them.