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Common Spec Content

Suggested items are newly proposed.


This information is short and fairly standard: it needs a consistent location across W3C documents and doesn't involve customized prose.

Item Required? Primary Audience Notes
W3C all all Branding
WG/TF all potential participants Associated WG or Task Force
Title all all
Pub date all all Indication of out-of-date-ness / recency of change
Status all all ED/WD/LC/CR/PR/REC/NOTE
Status disclaimer all new to reading W3C specs Warn people the document is unstable, etc.
Copyright all lawyers
Patent Policy / Disclosures some laywers
Errata REC implementers, reviewers Only if there's errata
Issues list all? reviewers
FAQ link suggested
At-risk list LC/CR W3C
Discussion fora / Feedback all reviewers Mailing list, IRC, wiki, bugtracker, etc.
Editor's draft most reviewers, implementers
Previous version(s) all reviewers
Test suite Link CR/REC implementers, contributors
Editors all participants Tells people who to talk to and who can fix issues
Translations some non-English speakers
Other formats some all Links to other formats suitable for offline/printing; particularly useful for multipage specs


Meta-sections that are common to different specs.

Item Required? Primary Audience Notes
Abstract / 2-sentence summary all We recommend compressing the abstract into a 2-sentence summary suitable for search results and other listings
Illustrative example suggested all to illustrate the abstract
TOC all all
Overview optional all A prose version of the TOC
Introduction optional all Introduces key concepts and sets context for understanding the spec
Background optional  ? Gives Motivation/Historical Context for spec
Use Cases suggested reviewers Explain what problems trying to solve.
Scope optional editors/WG
Transition Criteria some participants CR exit criteria. Suggest expanding to all other specs to explain exit criteria of other stages. N/A to REC / NOTE
References all implementers
Conformance some implementers
Index/Glossary optional all
Acknowledgements all acknowledged