W3C designed Community Groups and Business Groups to provide novel ways for more stakeholders to participate in W3C’s mission of leading the Web to its full potential. Community Groups and Business Groups complement the existing standards track by encouraging people to bring new ideas to the table, some of which may mature into standards-track specifications. We recognize that broad community support plays a valuable role in the quality of W3C’s work overall on core standards and best practices, and enhances the Consortium’s value proposition to both non-Members and Members.
To create a welcoming environment with the broadest possible participation, we sought to ensure that Community and Business Groups:
- Lower the cost of participation (e.g., zero fee for Community Groups and fees lower than W3C Membership for non-Members in Business Groups, simpler process, easier sign-up, etc.)
- Define a straightforward progression through the introduction of ideas, community building, standardization, and de jure recognition (the last out of scope for this task force). The goal of the progression is to promote the creation of high quality, widely accepted specifications and guidelines.
- Scale operationally, so that groups functioning smoothly may do so with independence, while providing support (e.g., mentoring, tutorials, good practices) to newcomers or any party seeking assistance.
- Offer useful collaborative tools for specification development, communication, decision-making, issue tracking, and code development.
- Encourage international participation.
- Support relationships with other ad-hoc groups, SDOs, and other bodies developing Web-related technology. Reinforce that we are interested in serving diverse communities and helping them get work done.
- Improve transparency (e.g., of decision-making, through simple explanations of W3C governance and operations, public information about finances, etc.)
- Ensure that participants interact in civil and constructive ways. Manage disruptive behavior effectively.
- Find mechanisms whereby small groups of people leading development of a technology may benefit from the insights of other stakeholders while continuing to make progress. In other words: balance fairness, quality, responsiveness, and progress. (Different processes may set different expectations.)
- Provide an environment where participants can contribute intellectual property to the community while benefiting from protections, and the community can implement the resulting core Web standards with no fee.