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Open User Community Development

The high-level goals of this project are:

  • Make W3C a more attractive place for communities to start work (appropriate for W3C) quickly and easily. Provide an easy migration path for those communities that wish to engage in more formal standards processes.
  • Lower barriers for individuals to contribute. Facilitate interactions at granularities other than "groups" and foster individual relations (in part to make interactions less faceless).
  • Help members of the W3C and wider standards community better understand each other's work, arguments, style and priorities

Secondary/longer terms goals include:

  • Advance the state of the art in online discussion groups, identity and reputation.
  • Enable conversations to span multiple established online communities (aggregation, federation).
  • Raise awareness among standards-makers of social aspects (people/group/auth-related APIs, formats, protocols) that may affect their work.

Some practical goals to improve group productivity include:

  • Improve manageability of large groups via community ratings (+1/-1 votes) of comments and other contributions
  • Lower the cost of creating and managing group infrastructure (e.g., through decentralization of managing group membership, spam blocking, etc.).

See how to #Get Involved.

Use Cases and Stories

Working Group Interaction Interface Supported by Reputation

Allow WG lists to be configured to accept public comments only when upvoted past a certain threshold?

Nearby, Gerald's notes on reputation.

Annotated W3C specification

  • As is done with PHP documentation
  • Re annotation - see also "Annotea in 2009" thread on on semantic-web list

T-Shirt Design Contest

Discussion of standards compliance of software or tools

Provide a forum for discussion, creation of test suites, provide code snippets and tutorials from community.

Specifications SourceForge

Several possible paths from initial discussions in ad-hoc fora that may graduate into a W3C Incubator or Working Group to rapid and complete development of an initial version of a new specification.

Industry Verticals

Similar to HCLS, provide a venue for other industry interest groups such as Financial firms and the Energy industry trying to apply emerging Web Standards to their business.


The community lets W3C know what they most want and vice versa.

W3C volunteer Translations

Currently hosted on the volunteer translators' websites, I envision a system where we host the translations ourselves and offer capabilities such as:

  * Voting up/down
  * Send feedback on translation quality via comments

For "voting up/down": Based on what's feasible, either a translation is published when it's been voted up sufficiently, or a translation is taken down if it's been voted down significantly.

Goals (Maybe not "Requirements" just yet)

Note: W3C Systems Team plans to have an open requirements gathering process and invite interested parties from the community to participate.

Moderation by Community

W3C wants to facilitate and attract more community interaction and do so in a manner that strives for a high signal to noise ratio. Many online community attempt to do the same, deterring spam, flames and off topic comments so as to have more relevant and valued discussions. In the case of W3C's online community individual contributors reputations build based on their involvement in W3C and peer review ratings of their comments and moderator efforts.

Flexibility in Ratings

When using a thumbs-up/thumbs-down scoring system, each community system can have a different scoring metric and value comments from different systems on a different scale. Each community's audience may differ in their interest or expertise on a given subject so relevance may vary across them. (How one community values another's comment feed may be defined in server configuration and/or influenced by moderator voting on individual feed comments.)

Organic Group Boundaries

The technology must not force w3c community members into mutually-exclusive groups (eg. rdfa, xforms, html, xhtml...). [One idea to support tagging.]

Aggregated Reputation

We should harvest reputation data from other sites, to allow users with well-established identities elsewhere to become a trusted part of W3C's community and begin making contributions with minimal barriers. Gerald's page on reputation stuff has a list of potential sources of rep data.

XMPP protocol extension Entity Reputation

Implementation Ideas

Common Infrastructure

The whole system needs a single sign-on to unify it, and to give evryone involved a well defined identity.

It is not worth, and can be counter productive, to allow people to participate anonymously.

W3C should eat its own dogfood, (DIGfood?) in this case it should use foaf+ssl as authentication, and RDF ACLs for authorization, allowing external groups to be used.

There are a number of implementations for various languages. It should provide read-write access controlled cloud storage for both web apps like Amaya and linked data applications like Tabulator.

Where we use existing platforms, they should be tweaked to expose linked data, so that the information of them can be re-used.


Should we work from existing software for managing communities, or roll our own?

Some possibilities:

Random stuff:

  • SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities) "aims to enable the integration of online community information" Kenny Luck has a SIOC browser, code forked from Tabulator.
  • Jabber and a javascript IM client so people in a group can chat freely as a whole or one on one. We could maybe tie jabber to and align some group channels.
  • Ideas from Doug Schepers on integrating W3C Systems.
  • How to use FOAF? RSS? Other reputation systems?

User profile page

One thing we generally agree would be useful is a profile page with info about each W3C community member (basically a universal feature of community sites.)

Things to include in a W3C user profile page:

  • name, email, URIs, phone(s) (default to a minimal set until we have fine-grained privacy controls)
  • recent WBS polls submitted
  • recent actions in tracker
  • recent actions in W3C's bugzilla
  • recent spec/code edits (via recent-commits)
  • recent external blog posts, delicious bookmarks, tweets (a la friendfeed); possibly only when items contain certain tags, e.g. #w3c (could be user-defined)
  • display a 'verified account' icon next to home page links if there's a link pointing back with rel=me or rdfa or something?
  • input box to allow items to be filtered (e.g. recent commits) a la about:config in firefox


  • what ID to use for people? W3C member site logins? openid?
  • what URI to use for user profiles? (and W3C community site in general)
  • what ID to use for new users who do not have member site logins? assign a numeric ID that can be updated to an alphabetic login once some karma threshold is reached?

Interesting profile pages elsewhere:

Various other notes:

  • profile data should be published in FOAF form as well as HTML
  • include rel=nofollow on outbound links until a certain karma threshold or stature in the community
  • provide stats/graphics showing a user's contributions over time
  • option to allow openid delegation, so users could "prove" they were this person for other openid-relying sites (and openid heavy lifting happens elsewhere)
  • "Member view" is aggregation of user data? [what does this mean? -- gerald]

Karma Contributing Factors

  • Up/downvotes on various contributions (emails sent, proposals, tweets, spec edits?)
  • good/bad standing in WGs
  • teleconf, meeting attendance (may be important to some groups but not others)
  • number of commits to; number of wiki/webpage edits?
  • number of RECs edited; number of WDs edited, groups chaired, etc.

Interesting note from Paul Graham: "On Reddit, votes on your comments don't affect your karma score, but they do on News.YC. And it does seem to influence people when they can see their reputation in the eyes of their peers drain away after making an asshole remark."

When questions and concerns are raised in a forum thread there may be people who want trackback functionality for when the thread is marked as resolved. Besides following to see if the questions posed are answered the person may want to vote on importance of the question, "me too". Perhaps individuals get a number of votes monthly based on their karma standing. People who satisfy the question will gain karma, reward granted by those who cast votes.

Get Involved

How to get involved@@@ mailing list discussion, irc channel, those editing requirement page will be asked to create a W3C web account and contact (mailto: ) to be put in the editors group, source code repository, dvcs@@@


  • Sept 2009 Chairs meeting draft agenda includes: "Social Networking and W3C Groups. What experience does your group have using social networking tools to manage work and encourage participation? What sorts of tools do you think would make life easier? Led by Ted Guild."

Community Building Ideas