TPAC2011/GlobalParticipationBreakout

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We listed many barriers to participation -- both in W3C technical community, and with Web in world at large.

We focused primarily on the W3C issues -- particularly time zones, phone etiquette, and problems of language when more than 1/2 people speak English as a 2nd language.

I will highlight only a few points here. Please read the minutes to see the whole discussion.

Time Zone issue: fast-moving email discussions can be already finished by the time participants half-way around the world wake up. Chairs should allow enough time for decisions, so that people around the world can weigh in with their thoughts and opinions.

Telephone etiquette: participants need to create a signal people can use to 'raise their hand' and speak. It is more difficult to understand people over the phone -- take care to speak slowly and clearly.

Culture and chair awareness: Chairs and group members should be sensitive to ask quiet people for their opinions. Some cultures are more out-spoken than others.

Spoken language: W3C meetings are held in English. But, fewer than half W3C participants are native English speakers, which makes it difficult for many to contribute. It would be very helpful if participants would:

A) speak slowly;

B) use 'simple English'. Notice that Voice of America has a channel that is only in simple English. We might emulate that system.

C) one participant suggested a new language, "Globish" (GLOBal englISH), which is similar to simple English.

SUMMARY: Most of the suggestions indicate a need for participants and chairs to be much more sensitive as to whether or not everyone is being given the best opportunity to understand what is being discussed, and appropriate opportunities to respond.