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< Headlights 2014

This wiki is the home page for the Webizen Task Force.

[See the historic content that the task force developed between March and June 2014.]

The essence of the proposed Webizen program is to provide a way for individuals to obtain some benefits, possibly in exchange for a nominal fee. This task force will explore whether such a program is viable and, if so, the set of benefits.

This document is a DRAFT, i.e. it is a Work In Progress (WIP). Feedback is welcome, preferably by directly editing this document or by sending email to public-webizen@w3.org (archive). We are also interested in input from non-Members i.e. The Public.

To join the task force, subscribe to public-webizen@w3.org and add your name to the #Participants list.


  • Open and public: This task force is open to the public and will operate until @TBD. Come and build the Webizen program!
  • e-mail: We welcome feedback on the public-webizen@w3.org mailing list archive
  • teleconference: +1.617.761.6200, Code: 93249 (“WEBIZ").
  • IRC: irc.w3.org, port 6665, channel #webizen ([1] Pre-filled Web interface to IRC]).
  • Twitter: W3C_Webizen


At TPAC 2013, in response to a question from the floor (search for “individual membership“), the W3C Director requested exploration of individual participation in W3C. The current proposal, for a "Webizen" mode of participation, addresses this request. Note, the Webizen program is not a Membership program, although it should provide certain benefits and privileges. The idea of the program is to allow individuals to affiliate with the Web standards community by establishing a new designation of Webizen. This is not a Membership benefit and does not confer W3C Membership rights. Instead, we seek to make available a new means to congregate as a community.

To make it a meaningful gesture, a token fee of e.g. $100 US per annum (or equivalent in another currency) is suggested. To make this a fair request, a key design goal is to create a package of benefits which arguably are worth $100. We intend to establish a sliding-scale fee to enable greater global participation. At the same time, the program must not lose money, so we must design the benefits accordingly.


We can make a distinction between the goals of the W3C and those of the future Webizens.

for the W3C

  • Attract more stakeholders to the W3C community, including those who care greatly about the Web even if they may not be spec writers
  • Increase affiliation with W3C for this set of stakeholders
  • Get closer linkages between W3C spec writers, and the vast ecosystem that relies on W3C Recommendations
  • Increase general public review of web technology in general and W3C Reports
  • Provide a means for the general public to influence W3C agenda and priorities
  • Become a forum for discussing issues around W3C specifications, sharing solutions, providing feedback to W3C, and for W3C to share information out.
  • Enhance W3C's stewardship of the Web
  • Build appreciation for W3C among front-end developers

for the subscribers

  • Add a line on the CV that shows commitment to the advances of Web standards and W3C's recognition for the help individually provided
  • Get a discount for conferences
  • Influence the design of standards


We need to have a longer discussion about mission. The focus to date has been around increased affiliation or inclusion in the W3C community. But other laudable mission statements have also been proposed. The working set of missions under discussion are:

  • Allow greater affiliation with W3C making W3C a more inclusive organization.
  • Increase the professionalism of the web community
  • Enhance education and training
  • Increase creativity of the web community

While the last three are truly worthwhile, the current set of proposed elements of the program do not address these candidate mission statements. So we need to decide: accept the broader mission and design a program to match, or start with the narrower mission.

Success criteria

It is important to verify that the values mentioned implied by "Goals" above (especially for W3C) are actually materialized. A worst-case scenario could be that the criteria mentioned below are achieved, but it also creates a lot of friction and problems for W3C's normal business (e.g., WGs).

  • Achieve aforementioned goals
  • Don't lose money
  • Attract a significant number of Webizens
    • Should be supremely confident about the first 100
    • Should have some idea where the next 900 will come from
  • Most Invited Experts should be persuaded to also become Webizens


For Webizens to appreciate that the program gives them access to the work of W3C requires building some mechanisms that makes their input effective. By comparison there are two major methods in which Members have input into W3C, by assigning staff to Working Groups and in advising W3C on governance related issues through the Advisory Committee (AC). A significant part of the latter is AC Charter review for new work.

It has been an item of controversy to determine what mechanism we should use for Webizens. On the one hand, W3C already takes public input quite seriously. So even without a Webizen program there are already mechanisms for the general public to have input to W3C. Moreover, for actual participation in Working Groups, we already have a successful Invited Expert program (which has no cost for the IE). On the other hand, an earlier proposal - to essentially give a seat on the AC to some number of Webizens - received considerable pushback from the AC. Members point out that they receive AC review rights by investing a great deal in the consortium (through Membership dues, assigning staff to Working Groups, and IPR commitments) and so these rights should not be deprecated by giving similar rights to Webizens.

With no consensus on this key topic, we summarize in this wiki the closest we have come to consensus. The idea would be to get further feedback through the market survey below. Here is the proposal:

  • Webizens have no additional means to participate in Working Groups (i.e. the existing IE mechanism suffices).
  • Webizens do not participate in the W3C Advisory Committee.
  • Webizens are able to review W3C Charters. In truth, proposed Charters are public and can be reviewed today by the public. However, this rarely happens, and individual Members of the public might feel that their individual inputs might be ignored. However, Webizens will band together to form "Developer Groups" who provide aggregate input from classes of developers. Accordingly, the W3C Director would take this input very seriously; even if it is not a part of the formal W3C process. Sample developer groups could be of the form:
    • Front end developers
    • Developers who worry about accessibility
    • Developers who worry about privacy
    • App developers
    • FOSS developers

Target market and marketing study

The task force decided to reach out to W3C's Twitter followers with a questionnaire to be our marketing study.

Julian will also reach out to additional resources to determine if we can professionalize the study.

The study will ask Twitter followers if they would be willing to become Webizens. It will offer several candidate benefits and see which ones are of interest; which ones would make it worthwhile to become Webizens.

We will send the same poll to the AC to get their input as well.

Workspace for Twitter questionnaire

The plan is to tweet to W3C's followers that we are having this survey and provide the link to the survey. As encouragement responders would get some validator coupons.

The survey:


The W3C community would like to design a program which increases Affiliation among the larger Web community and the W3C. W3C appreciates that it is a very small community that directly influences millions of people who create web pages and thereby billions of people who benefit from the web. In contemplating such a program, the W3C solicits input from its Twitter followers - those who have already expressed some affiliation with W3C - to determine whether such a program is viable and what characteristics would attract people to the program.

This program would apply both to individuals who today have no affiliation with W3C, as well as those who are connected through their employer, but want to be personally affiliated as well.

We start with the assumption that there would be a token fee - 100 US Dollars (or equivalent in local currency) - to cover administrative expenses and demonstrate some support for W3C. Participants who live in the developing world would have a smaller fee.

To learn more about the goals of the program, see [1].

[1] https://www.w3.org/wiki/Webizen#Goals

Survey questions:

Q1. Should W3C reach out to the broader Web community to create such a program for broader affiliation

  • Yes
  • No

Q2. Would you be interested in joining this program?

  • Show me where to sign up :)
  • Probably
  • It would depend on the benefits package I receive
  • I'd need time to think about it
  • No.

In discussions with members of the W3C community there have emerged various points-of-view about what benefits should be made available to people that sign up for this program. The minimalist extreme asserts that there does not need to be any initial set of benefits, just provide a virtual identity and people who want a greater affiliation with W3C will sign up. Some have argued that there should at least be benefits which help make W3C more into a "community". Others have argued that people should get tangible benefits with monetary value. Still others have argued that this should be more than "affiliation", that people that sign up for this program should get some benefits reserved for Members of W3C.

When the W3C Advisory Committee looked at the latter, they strongly cautioned the W3C Team from deprecating the value of Membership. They pointed out that certain Membership benefits are already available to the public, either by reviewing publicly available specs, or participating directly in Working Groups through the Invited Expert route.

Accordingly, the next several questions relate to the benefits question, understanding that initially this is not to include Membership benefits.

Q3. Should the program be designed as a minimalist program?

  • Yes, any tangible benefits diminishes the program.
  • It should start minimalist just to get it off the ground, but then those that sign up should guide W3C on what benefits are most important.
  • No.
  • Don't know.

Q4. Should there be benefits that increase W3C posture as a community?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not important to me, but not harmful to have such benefits.

Q5. If you answered yes to Q4, which of the following would be interesting?

  • Invitation to teleconference organized once annually by the CEO for a discussion of W3C's activities and plans.
  • A unique Membership ID number.
  • Listing your profile on the W3C website.
  • A "flourish" next to where name appears in Community Group and Working Group list of participants.
  • Accumulate "participation points" for every spec reviewed
  • Name listed on our Supporters page (with # years).
  • Voice in a Community blog linked from W3C blog.
  • A two hours welcoming session via conference call to explain how W3C works (conducted on a semester basis, in the 3 timeslot regions)

Q6. Should there be tangible benefits to this program?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not important to me, but not harmful to have such benefits

Q7. If you answered yes to Q6, which of the following would be interesting?

  • Annual T-shirt.
  • Participation in annual T-shirt design competition
  • Stickers, mug, other 'goodies'.
  • Discounts of W3C services of interest to individuals; such as W3C Validator Suite and certain conference fees.

Q8. Should there be a mechanism where Webizens are represented at the decision making of W3C?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not important to me, but not harmful to have such benefits.

For those that would like Webizens to be represented at W3C, there is the tension of finding a way to achieve that without deprecating Membership (as mentioned above). The best compromise that has been devised is as follows. Webizens will band together to form "Developer Groups" who provide aggregate input on AC Charters from classes of developers. Accordingly, the W3C Director would take this input very seriously; even if it is not a part of the formal W3C process. Sample developer groups could be of the form: Front end developers; developers who worry about accessibility; app developers; FOSSS developers, etc.

Q9. If you answered yes to Q8, would the creation of different Developer Groups under the Webizen banner - to provide AC Charter review be an adequate form of representation.

  • Yes
  • No

We are having a hard time coming up with a name for the program. So far we are using the term Webizen - which has not been overly popular - but we don't have a better name.

Q10. Should we name this program the Webizen program?

  • That's the perfect name.
  • Not great, but good enough
  • No, please choose a better name

Optional (suggest name) _________________

Administrative section

Task Force led by: Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org>


  • Jeff Jaffe
  • Coralie Mercier
  • Veronica Thom
  • Alexandre Bertails
  • Amy van der Hiel
  • Ann Bassetti
  • Andrei Sambra
  • chaals
  • JC Verdie
  • Robin Berjon
  • Virginie Galindo
  • Sébastien Desbenoit
  • Mark Sadecki
  • Daniel Glazman
  • Georg Rehm
  • Mark Crawford
  • Vagner Diniz
  • Julian Harriott
  • Yosuke Funahashi
  • Léonie Watson
  • Armin Haller
  • Olle Olsson
  • David Ezell
  • Christophe Guéret
  • Michiel Leenaars


Meeting records and actions

  • 2014-08-01
    • ACTION: Julian will determine whether colleagues from market research firms could help with the market research study.
  • 2014-08-20
    • ACTION: Jeff to, based on this call, propose further questions to the survey.