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W3C is looking at revising its Incubator Activity (or creating something new) to encourage innovators to bring new work to W3C. Doing so will make W3C more useful to a broader community, and enrich the W3C community through new ideas and new energy.

Status: This is a draft that has no approval.

Send comments to Ian Jacobs (


  • Easy to participate
  • Attractive to participate

Make it easy for individuals to participate

  • People participate as individuals (thus "individual Memberships").
  • There is no fee to participate. Suggested donation? Other revenue ideas?
  • Make it easy to establish identity in the community (e.g., WebID).
  • Use familiar licenses for commitments. For example:

Questions (mostly about how much process to insert; find right balance):

  • What is the approval process for starting a new group? Ideas (read "or" between them):
    • Anything can start
    • Three Members much support (like today)
    • Must start with a public submission that receives some level of peer support
    • Must have a charter that answers certain questions
  • What is the process for stopping? Ideas:
    • Time-limited?
    • Lack of activity?
    • Director decision?
  • What reporting requirements? Ideas:
    • None
    • Two 1-page reports per year?
  • What accountability requirements? Ideas:
    • Must track bugs but not required to provide substantive answers. However, if group does, and satisfies reviewers, then can jump to Candidate Recommendation.

Make it attractive to participate

  • Ease transition from incubation to standards track
    • For instance, if LC requirements are satisfied, then treat it like a Rec track LC
    • Track employers of participants; make it easy for them to make RF licensing commitments at the organizational level.
    • Any way to streamline charter review process (e.g., most parts of the charter are template, meaning the substance is reduced, meaning the review could be shorter? Easier good, but shorter review than 4 weeks may not get support since organizations require time to do IPR evaluations as part of charter review process.)
  • Benefit from connectivity from existing (and growing) W3C community
  • Nourish ties to existing communities outside W3C (to smooth the flow of ideas in and out of W3C).
  • Public submission process? What is scalable evaluation process? Peer review?

Challenges / Questions

  • W3C is supported primarily through Member dues. What will be the impact of individual participation on the Membership model?
  • How to move from individual licensing commitments to organizational licensing commitments (on the Rec track)?
  • In order to move to the Rec track, is it necessary to charter a W3C Working Group?
  • What is relationship between OWF non-asert and W3C RF policy?

Organizational IPR commitments

Relation to Membership model

Relationship to W3C Working Group processes


  • @@Question: Should we rename "incubator" to something more fun/new? I note both OWF and Apache have "incubator" processes.



Harry Halpin, Arun Ranganathan, Robin Berjon, Dan Brickley, Daniel Appelquist, Rigo Wenning, Dominique Hazaël-Massieux, and many others including the W3C Advisory Board.