Tracking Protection Working Group: Getting to Closed


As discussed at the Brussels face-to-face meeting, our timeline requires that we manage issues to get them closed more quickly. Two key principles:

  1. The Working Group evaluates text proposals. All open issues and suggested changes must have concrete text proposals.
  2. Rather than relying on votes, Working Group decisions will be made by calling for objections to presented proposals and arguments. The chairs will judge consensus based on the least strong objection.

This process is our group's implementation of the W3C Process document.


0. Raising an issue
Issues are raised by the Working Group for questions we may need to consider in the specification. Any Working Group Participant can raise an issue in Tracker; issues most commonly arise during a teleconference or face-to-face and are raised by the scribe or Team Contact.
1. Opening an issue
Chairs open issues to signal to the Working Group that they're open for active discussion. When an issue is opened, action items for text proposals should be assigned as soon as possible (during the next call discussing the issue, for example). Actions to write a proposal should be completed by the assigned deadline; if not feasible, Participants should work with the chairs to update or re-assign the action. If no text proposals are written for an issue, the chairs may choose to close the issue for apparent lack of interest. In order to validate this lack of interest and give participants another chance to provide input, the chairs send a reminder with issues to be closed to the mailing list.
2. Generating text proposals
For generating text, we assign actions to participants; actions are associated with the issue for which the text is generated. These actions are marked pending review once the new text has been produced. Empty text is a valid counter-proposal if you believe certain text should not appear in the recommendation and no replacement text is necessary.
3. Review, discuss and call for consensus
Once one or more text proposals have been made for an issue, the chairs will provide some time for review and discussion by the Working Group. (These issues are marked pending review in Tracker.) At the next call discussing an issue, two questions should be answered:
  1. Are there more proposals? (If so, assign action items to write new proposals.)
  2. If only one proposal exists, are there any objections to it? (If so, assign action items to write a counter proposal; if not, the issue is closed and an action is opened upon the editors to update the spec.)
4. Call for objections
If two or more competing proposals exist for an issue and the chairs conclude that further discussion on the proposals will not change existing positions, the chairs may conduct an electronic straw poll to call for objections to each of the presented proposals. Participants should express their objections to each proposal with clear and specific reasoning.

For some examples, see the list of HTML5 WG surveys.

5. Working Group decision
Based on the presented proposals and the arguments and objections from the straw poll, the chairs will judge the group's consensus and post a written explanation judging the collected proposals and objections. The issue is closed and an action is opened upon the editors to update the spec.
6. Formal Objection
If a Participant cannot accept the posted decision, an objection can be escalated (a Formal Objection) by informing the chairs and Team Contact in writing as described in the Process document. If the Working Group cannot address the Participant's objection, the Team will escalate the decision. Typically the Director will consider Formal Objections before the next document transition.
7. Re-opening an issue
If new information and a new text proposal for an issue are presented, the chairs may choose to re-open an issue.


Nick Doty, <>, Aleecia McDonald, Matthias Schunter
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Some of the principles, text and formatting here have been drawn from the HTML Working Group Decision Policy and the W3C Process document.