Relation of Process Document to Patent Policy and Other Policies
W3C Members' attention is called to the fact that provisions of the Process Document are binding on Members per the Membership Agreement [MEMBER-AGREEMENT]. The W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] and other policies incorporated by normative reference as a part of the Process Document are equally binding.
The Patent Policy and CEPC place additional obligations on Members, Team, and other participants in W3C. The Process Document does not restate those requirements but includes references to them. The Process Document, Patent Policy, and CEPC have been designed to allow each to evolve independently.
In the Process Document, the term “participant” refers to an individual, not an organization.
Conformance and specialized terms
The terms must, must not, should, should not, required, and may are used in accordance with RFC 2119. The term not required is equivalent to the term may as defined in RFC2119 [RFC2119].
Some terms have been capitalized in this document (and in other W3C materials) to indicate that they are entities with special relevance to the W3C Process. These terms are defined within this document, and readers are reminded that the ordinary English definitions are insufficient for the purpose of understanding this document.
W3C work revolves around the standardization of Web technologies. To accomplish this work, W3C follows processes that promote the development of high-quality standards based on the consensus of the Membership, Team, and public. W3C processes promote fairness, responsiveness, and progress: all facets of the W3C mission. This document describes the processes W3C follows in pursuit of its mission.
The W3C Process promotes the goals of quality and fairness in technical decisions by encouraging consensus, soliciting reviews (by both Members and public), incorporating implementation and interoperability experience, and requiring Membership-wide approval as part of the technical report development process. Participants in W3C include representatives of its Members and the Team, as well as Invited Experts who can bring additional expertise or represent additional stakeholders. Team representatives both contribute to the technical work and help ensure each group’s proper integration with the rest of W3C.
W3C’s technical standards, called W3C Recommendations, are developed by its Working Groups; W3C also has other types of publications, all described in § 6 W3C Technical Reports. W3C has various types of groups; this document describes the formation and policies of its chartered Working Groups and Interest Groups, see § 3.1 Policies for Participation in W3C Groups and § 3.4 Chartered Groups: Working Groups and Interest Groups. W3C also operates Community and Business Groups, which are separately described in their own process document [BG-CG].
In addition, several groups are formally established by the Consortium: the W3C Advisory Committee, which has a representative from each Member, and two oversight groups elected by its membership: the Advisory Board (AB), which helps resolve Consortium-wide non-technical issues and manages the evolution of the W3C process; and the Technical Architecture Group (TAG), which helps resolve Consortium-wide technical issues.
Here is a general overview of how W3C initiates standardization of a Web technology:
- People generate interest in a particular topic. For instance, Members express interest by developing proposals in Community Groups or proposing ideas in Member Submissions. Also, the Team monitors work inside and outside of W3C for signs of interest, and helps organize Workshops to bring people together to discuss topics that interest the W3C community.
- When there is enough interest and an engaged community, the Team works with the Membership to draft proposed Interest Group or Working Group charters. W3C Members review the proposed charters, and when there is support within W3C for investing resources in the topic of interest, W3C approves the group(s), and they begin their work.
Further sections of this Process Document deal with topics including liaisons (§ 9 Liaisons), confidentiality (§ 7 Dissemination Policies), and formal decisions and appeals (§ 5 Decisions).
2. Members and the Team
W3C’s mission is to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C Member organizations provide resources to this end, and the W3C Team provides the technical leadership and organization to coordinate the effort.
W3C Members are organizations subscribed according to the Membership Agreement [MEMBER-AGREEMENT]. They are represented in W3C processes as follows:
- One representative per Member organization participates in the Advisory Committee which oversees the work of W3C.
- Representatives of Member organizations participate in Working Groups and Interest Groups, where they author and review technical reports.
W3C membership is open to all entities, as described in “How to Join W3C” [JOIN]; (refer to the public list of current W3C Members [MEMBER-LIST]). The Team must ensure that Member participation agreements remain Team-only and that no Member receives preferential treatment within W3C.
While W3C does not have a class of membership tailored to individuals, individuals may join W3C. Restrictions pertaining to related Members apply when the individual also represents another W3C Member.
2.1.1. Rights of Members
Each Member organization enjoys the following rights and benefits:
- A seat on the Advisory Committee;
- Access to Member-only information;
- The Member Submission process;
- Use of the W3C Member logo on promotional material and to publicize the Member’s participation in W3C. For more information, please refer to the Member logo usage policy described in the New Member Orientation [INTRO].
Furthermore, subject to further restrictions included in the Member Agreement, representatives of Member organizations participate in W3C as follows:
The rights and benefits of W3C membership [MEMBER-AGREEMENT] are contingent upon conformance to the processes described in this document. Disciplinary action for anyone participating in W3C activities is described in § 184.108.40.206 Expectations and Discipline.
Additional information for Members is available at the Member website [MEMBER-HP].
2.1.2. Member Associations and Related Members
220.127.116.11. Membership Associations
A “Member Association” means a consortium, user society, or association of two or more individuals, companies, organizations or governments, or any combination of these entities which has the purpose of participating in a common activity or pooling resources to achieve a common goal other than participation in, or achieving certain goals in, W3C. A joint-stock corporation or similar entity is not a Member Association merely because it has shareholders or stockholders. If it is not clear whether a prospective Member qualifies as a Member Association, the CEO may reasonably make the determination. For a Member Association, the rights and privileges of W3C Membership described in the W3C Process Document extend to the Member Association's paid staff and Advisory Committee representative.
Member Associations may also designate up to four (or more at the Team’s discretion) individuals who, though not employed by the organization, may exercise the rights of Member representatives.
For Member Associations that have individual people as members, these individuals must disclose their employment affiliation when participating in W3C work. Provisions for related Members apply. Furthermore, these individuals must represent the broad interests of the W3C Member organization and not the particular interests of their employers.
For Member Associations that have organizations as Members, all such designated representatives must be an official representative of the Member organization (e.g. a Committee or Task Force Chairperson) and must disclose their employment affiliation when participating in W3C work. Provisions for related Members apply. Furthermore, these individuals must represent the broad interests of the W3C Member organization and not the particular interests of their employers.
For all representatives of a Member Association, IPR commitments are made on behalf of the Member Association, unless a further IPR commitment is made by the individuals' employers.
18.104.22.168. Related Members
In the interest of ensuring the integrity of the consensus process, Member involvement in some of the processes in this document is affected by related Member status. As used herein, two Members are related if:
- Either Member is a subsidiary of the other, or
- Both Members are subsidiaries of a common entity, or
- The Members have an employment contract or consulting contract that affects W3C participation.
A subsidiary is an organization of which effective control and/or majority ownership rests with another, single organization.
Related Members must disclose these relationships according to the mechanisms described in the New Member Orientation [INTRO].
2.2. The W3C Team
The Team consists of CEO, W3C paid staff, unpaid interns, and W3C Fellows. W3C Fellows are Member employees working as part of the Team; see the W3C Fellows Program [FELLOWS]. The Team provides technical leadership about Web technologies, organizes and manages W3C activities to reach goals within practical constraints (such as resources available), and communicates with the Members and the public about the Web and W3C technologies.
The CEO may delegate responsibility (generally to other individuals in the Team) for any of their roles described in this document. Team Decisions derive from the CEO's authority, even when they are carried out by other members of the Team.
Oversight over the Team, budgeting, and other business decisions, is provided by the W3C Board of Directors, rather than managed directly by the Process.
Note: See the W3C Bylaws for more details on the Board and overall governance of W3C.
3. Groups and Participation
For the purposes of this Process, a W3C Group is one of W3C’s Working Groups, Interest Groups, Advisory Committee, Advisory Board, or TAG, and a participant is a member of such a group.
3.1. Policies for Participation in W3C Groups
3.1.1. Individual Participation Criteria
22.214.171.124. Expectations and Discipline
There are three qualities an individual is expected to demonstrate in order to participate in W3C:
- Technical competence in one’s role;
- The ability to act fairly;
- Social competence in one’s role.
Advisory Committee representatives who nominate individuals from their organization for participation in W3C activities are responsible for assessing and attesting to the qualities of those nominees.
Participants in any W3C activity must abide by the terms and spirit of the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct [CEPC] and the participation requirements described in “Disclosure” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
The CEO may take disciplinary action, including suspending or removing for cause a participant in any group (including the AB and TAG) if serious and/or repeated violations, such as failure to meet the requirements on individual behavior of (a) this process and in particular the CEPC, or (b) the membership agreement, or (c) applicable laws, occur. Refer to the Guidelines to suspend or remove participants from groups.
126.96.36.199. Conflict of Interest Policy
Individuals participating materially in W3C work must disclose significant relationships when those relationships might reasonably be perceived as creating a conflict of interest with the individual’s role at W3C. These disclosures must be kept up-to-date as the individual’s affiliations change and W3C membership evolves (since, for example, the individual might have a relationship with an organization that joins or leaves W3C). Each section in this document that describes a W3C group provides more detail about the disclosure mechanisms for that group.
The ability of an individual to fulfill a role within a group without risking a conflict of interest depends on the individual’s affiliations. When these affiliations change, the individual’s assignment to the role must be evaluated. The role may be reassigned according to the appropriate process. For instance, the Team may appoint a new group Chair when the current Chair changes affiliations (e.g., if there is a risk of conflict of interest, or if there is risk that the Chair’s new employer will be over-represented within a W3C activity).
The following are some scenarios where disclosure is appropriate:
- Paid consulting for an organization whose activity is relevant to W3C, or any consulting compensated with equity (shares of stock, stock options, or other forms of corporate equity).
- A decision-making role/responsibility (such as participating on a Board) in other organizations relevant to W3C.
- A position on a publicly visible advisory body, even if no decision-making authority is involved.
Individuals seeking assistance on these matters should contact the Team.
Team members are subject to the W3C Team conflict of interest policy [CONFLICT-POLICY].
188.8.131.52. Individuals Representing a Member Organization
Generally, individuals representing a Member in an official capacity within W3C are employees of the Member organization. However, an Advisory Committee representative may designate a non-employee to represent the Member. Non-employee Member representatives must disclose relevant affiliations to the Team and to any group in which the individual participates.
In exceptional circumstances (e.g., situations that might jeopardize the progress of a group or create a conflict of interest), the CEO may decline to allow an individual designated by an Advisory Committee representative to participate in a group.
A group charter may limit the number of individuals representing a W3C Member (or group of related Members).
The requirements in this section apply to the official meetings of any W3C group.
W3C distinguishes two types of meetings:
- A face-to-face meeting is one where most of the attendees are expected to participate in the same physical location.
- A distributed meeting is one where most of the attendees are expected to participate from remote locations (e.g., by telephone, video conferencing, or IRC).
A Chair may invite an individual with a particular expertise to attend a meeting on an exceptional basis. This person is a meeting guest, not a group participant. Meeting guests do not have voting rights. It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that all meeting guests respect the chartered level of confidentiality and other group requirements.
184.108.40.206. Meeting Scheduling and Announcements
Meeting announcements should be sent to all appropriate group mailing lists, i.e. those most relevant to the anticipated meeting participants.
The following table lists recommendations for organizing a meeting:
|Face-to-face meetings||Distributed meetings|
|Meeting announcement (before)||eight weeks*||one week*|
|Agenda available (before)||two weeks||24 hours (or longer if a meeting is scheduled after a weekend or holiday)|
|Participation confirmed (before)||three days||24 hours|
|Action items available (after)||three days||24 hours|
|Minutes available (after)||two weeks||48 hours|
* To allow proper planning (e.g., travel arrangements), the Chair is responsible for giving sufficient advance notice about the date and location of a meeting. Shorter notice for a meeting is allowed provided that there are no objections from group participants.
220.127.116.11. Meeting Minutes
Groups should take and retain minutes of their meetings, and must record any official group decisions made during the meeting discussions. Details of the discussion leading to such decisions are not required, provided that the rationale for the group decision is nonetheless clear.
18.104.22.168. Meeting Recordings and Transcripts
No-one may take an audio or video recording of a meeting, or retain an automated transcript, unless the intent is announced at the start of the meeting, and no-one participating in the recorded portion of the meeting withholds consent. If consent is withheld by anyone, recording/retention must not occur. The announcement must cover: (a) who will have access to the recording or transcript and (b) the purpose/use of it and (c) how it will be retained (e.g. privately, in a cloud service) and for how long.
3.1.3. Tooling and Archiving for Discussions and Publications
For W3C Groups operating under this Process, a core operating principle is to allow access across disabilities, across country borders, and across time. Thus in order to allow all would-be participants to effectively participate, to allow future participants and observers to understand the rationale and origins of current decisions, and to guarantee long-lived access to its publications, W3C requires that:
- All reports, publications, or other deliverables produced by the group for public consumption (i.e. intended for use or reference outside its own membership) should be published and promoted at a W3C-controlled URL, and backed up by W3C systems such that if the underlying service is discontinued, W3C can continue to serve such content without breaking incoming links or other key functionality.
- All reports, publications, or other deliverables produced by the group for public consumption should follow best practices for internationalization and for accessibility to people with disabilities. Network access to W3C-controlled domains may be assumed.
Official meeting minutes and other records of decisions made must be archived by W3C for future reference;
and other persistent text-based discussions
sponsored by the group,
pertaining to their work
and intended to be referenceable by all group members should be.
This includes discussions conducted over email lists
or in issue-tracking services
or any equivalent fora.
Materials referenced from discussions
and necessary to understand them
should be available at a stable URL,
at a level of confidentiality no stricter than the discussion minutes.
Note: The lack, or loss, of such archives does not by itself invalidate an otherwise-valid decision.
Any tooling used by the group
for producing its documentation and deliverables
or for official group discussions should be usable
(without additional cost)
by all who wish to participate,
including people with disabilities,
to allow their effective participation.
Note: If a new participant joins who cannot use the tool, this can require the Working Group to change its tooling or operate some workaround.
- All tools and archives used by the group for its discussions and recordkeeping should be documented such that new participants and observers can easily find the group’s tools and records.
The Team is responsible for ensuring adherence to these rules and for bringing any group not in compliance into compliance.
3.1.4. Resignation from a Group
A W3C Member or Invited Expert may resign from a group. On written notification from an Advisory Committee representative or Invited Expert to the Team, the Member and their representatives or the Invited Expert will be deemed to have resigned from the relevant group. The Team must record the notification. See “Exclusion and Resignation from the Working Group” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] for information about obligations remaining after resignation from certain groups.
3.2. The Advisory Committee (AC)
3.2.1. Role of the Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee represents the Members of W3C at large. It is responsible for:
- reviewing plans for W3C at each Advisory Committee meeting.
- reviewing formal proposals of W3C: Charter Proposals, Proposed Recommendations, and Proposed Process Documents.
- electing the Advisory Board participants other than the Advisory Board Chair.
- electing a majority (6) of the participants on the Technical Architecture Group.
Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of a W3C decision or Team's decision.
See also the additional roles of Advisory Committee representatives described in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
3.2.2. Participation in the Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee is composed of one representative from each Member organization (refer to the Member-only list of current Advisory Committee representatives. [CURRENT-AC])
When an organization joins W3C (see “How to Join W3C” [JOIN]), it must name its Advisory Committee representative as part of the Membership Agreement. The New Member Orientation [INTRO] explains how to subscribe or unsubscribe to Advisory Committee mailing lists, provides information about Advisory Committee Meetings, explains how to name a new Advisory Committee representative, and more. Advisory Committee representatives must follow the conflict of interest policy by disclosing information according to the mechanisms described in the New Member Orientation.
The AC representative may delegate any of their rights and responsibilities to an alternate (except the ability to designate an alternate).
3.2.3. Advisory Committee Mailing Lists
The Team must provide two mailing lists for use by the Advisory Committee:
- One for official announcements (e.g., those required by this document) from the Team to the Advisory Committee. This list is read-only for Advisory Committee representatives.
- One for discussion among Advisory Committee representatives. Though this list is primarily for Advisory Committee representatives, the Team must monitor discussion and should participate in discussion when appropriate. Ongoing detailed discussions should be moved to other appropriate lists (new or existing, such as a mailing list created for a Workshop).
An Advisory Committee representative may request that additional individuals from their organization be subscribed to these lists. Failure to contain distribution internally may result in suspension of additional email addresses, at the discretion of the Team.
3.2.4. Advisory Committee Meetings
The Team organizes a face-to-face meeting for the Advisory Committee twice a year. The Team appoints the Chair of these meetings (generally the CEO). At each Advisory Committee meeting, the Team should provide an update to the Advisory Committee about:
- The number of W3C Members at each level.
- An overview of the financial status of W3C.
- The allocation of the annual budget, including size of the Team and their approximate deployment.
- A list of all activities (including but not limited to Working and Interest Groups) and brief status statement about each, in particular those started or terminated since the previous Advisory Committee meeting.
- The allocation of resources to pursuing liaisons with other organizations.
Each Member organization should send one representative to each Advisory Committee Meeting. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., during a period of transition between representatives from an organization), the meeting Chair may allow a Member organization to send two representatives to a meeting.
The Team must announce the date and location of each Advisory Committee meeting no later than at the end of the previous meeting; one year’s notice is preferred. The Team must announce the region of each Advisory Committee meeting at least one year in advance.
More information about Advisory Committee meetings [AC-MEETING] is available at the Member website.
3.3. Elected Groups: The AB and the TAG
The W3C Process defines two types of elected groups: the Advisory Board (AB) and the Technical Architecture Group (TAG), both elected by the Advisory Committee.
3.3.1. Advisory Board (AB)
22.214.171.124. Role of the Advisory Board
The Advisory Board provides ongoing guidance to the Team on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution. The Advisory Board also serves the Members by tracking issues raised between Advisory Committee meetings, soliciting Member comments on such issues, and proposing actions to resolve these issues. The Advisory Board manages the evolution of the Process Document. As part of a W3C Council, members of the Advisory Board hear and adjudicate on Submission Appeals and Formal Objections.
The Advisory Board is distinct from the Board of Directors and has no decision-making authority within W3C; its role is strictly advisory.
Note: While the AB as such does not have decision-making authority, its members do when sitting as part of a W3C Council.
Details about the Advisory Board (e.g., the list of Advisory Board participants, mailing list information, and summaries of Advisory Board meetings) are available at the Advisory Board home page [AB-HP].
126.96.36.199. Composition of the Advisory Board
The Advisory Board consists of nine to eleven elected participants and one Chair (who may be one of the elected participants). With the input of the AB, the Team appoints the Chair, who should choose a co-chair among the elected participants. The Chair(s) are subject to ratification by secret ballot by two thirds of the AB upon appointment. Chair selection must be run at least at the start of each regular term, as well as when a majority of the participants request it; and may be run at other times when initiated by the current chairs or the Team, for example if a chair steps down or if a minority of the participants make such a request.
The team also appoints a Team Contact, as described in § 3.4.1 Requirements for All Chartered Groups. The CEO and Team Contact have a standing invitation to all regular Advisory Board sessions.
The nine to eleven Advisory Board participants are elected by the W3C Advisory Committee following the AB/TAG nomination and election process.
The terms of elected Advisory Board participants are for two years. Terms are staggered so that each year, either five or six terms expire. If an individual is elected to fill an incomplete term, that individual’s term ends at the normal expiration date of that term. Regular Advisory Board terms begin on 1 July and end on 30 June.
188.8.131.52. Communications of the Advisory Board
The Team must make available a mailing list, confidential to the Advisory Board and Team, for the Advisory Board to use for its communication.
The Advisory Board should send a summary of each of its meetings to the Advisory Committee and other group Chairs. The Advisory Board should also report on its activities at each Advisory Committee meeting.
184.108.40.206. Liaisons between the Advisory Board and the Board of Directors
To ensure good communication between the AB and the Board of Directors and facilitate operational and management consistency, the AB may appoint up to two of its participants as liaisons to the Board. Such appointees are expected to attend and participate in Board meetings and access Board materials as Non-voting Observers. [BYLAWS] They do not form part of the Board's decision-making body, and may be excluded from such participation in accordance with applicable Board procedures.
The Advisory Board should reevaluate who is assigned to this role at least at the beginning of each term, and may swap its appointees more frequently as they deem appropriate.
3.3.2. Technical Architecture Group (TAG)
220.127.116.11. Role of the Technical Architecture Group
The mission of the TAG is stewardship of the Web architecture. There are three aspects to this mission:
- to document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture and to interpret and clarify these principles when necessary;
- to resolve issues involving general Web architecture brought to the TAG;
- to help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C.
As part of a W3C Council, the members of the TAG hear and adjudicate on Submission Appeals and Formal Objections.
The TAG's scope is limited to technical issues about Web architecture. The TAG should not consider administrative, process, or organizational policy issues of W3C, which are generally addressed by the W3C Advisory Committee, Advisory Board, and Team. Please refer to the TAG charter [TAG-CHARTER] for more information about the background and scope of the TAG, and the expected qualifications of TAG participants.
When the TAG votes to resolve an issue, each TAG participant (whether appointed, elected, or the Chair) has one vote; see also the section on voting in the TAG charter [TAG-CHARTER] and the general section on votes in this Process Document.
Details about the TAG (e.g., the list of TAG participants, mailing list information, and summaries of TAG meetings) are available at the TAG home page [TAG-HP].
18.104.22.168. Composition of the Technical Architecture Group
The TAG consists of:
- Tim Berners-Lee, who is a life member;
- Three participants appointed by the Team;
- Six participants elected by the Advisory Committee following the AB/TAG nomination and election process.
Participants in the TAG choose by consensus their Chair or co-Chairs; in the absence of consensus, the Team appoints the Chair or co-Chairs of the TAG. The Chair or co-Chairs must be selected from the participants of the TAG. Chair selection must be run at least at the start of each regular term, as well as when a majority of the participants request it; and may be run at other times when initiated by the current chairs or the Team, for example if a chair steps down or if a minority of the participants make such a request.
The Team also appoints a Team Contact [TEAM-CONTACT] for the TAG, as described in § 3.4.1 Requirements for All Chartered Groups.
The terms of TAG participants last for two years. Terms are staggered so that three elected terms and either one or two appointed terms expire each year. If an individual is appointed or elected to fill an incomplete term, that individual’s term ends at the normal expiration date of that term. Regular TAG terms begin on 1 February and end on 31 January.
22.214.171.124. Communications of the Technical Architecture Group
The Team must make available two mailing lists for the TAG:
- a public discussion (not just input) list for issues of Web architecture. The TAG will conduct its public business on this list.
- a Member-only list for discussions within the TAG and for requests to the TAG that, for whatever reason, cannot be made on the public list.
The TAG may also request the creation of additional topic-specific, public mailing lists. For some TAG discussions (e.g., a Submission Appeal), the TAG may use a list that will be Member-only.
The TAG should send a summary of each of its meetings to the Advisory Committee and other group Chairs. The TAG should also report on its activities at each Advisory Committee meeting.
3.3.3. Participation in Elected Groups
126.96.36.199. Expectations for Elected Groups Participants
Advisory Board and TAG participants have a special role within W3C: they are elected by the Membership and appointed by the Team with the expectation that they will use their best judgment to find the best solutions for the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user. Advisory Board and TAG participants are expected to participate regularly and fully. Advisory Board and TAG participants should attend Advisory Committee meetings.
Individuals elected or appointed to the Advisory Board or TAG act in their personal capacity, to serve the needs of the W3C membership as a whole, and the Web community. Whether they are Member representatives or Invited Experts, their activities in those roles are separate and distinct from their activities on the Advisory Board or TAG.
An individual participates on the Advisory Board or TAG from the moment the individual’s term begins until the seat is vacated (e.g. because the term ends). Although Advisory Board and TAG participants do not advocate for the commercial interests of their employers, their participation does carry the responsibilities associated with Member representation, Invited Expert status, or Team representation (as described in the section on the AB/TAG nomination and election process).
Participation in the TAG or AB is afforded to the specific individuals elected or appointed to those positions, and a participant’s seat must not be delegated to any other person.
188.8.131.52. Elected Groups Participation Constraints
Given the few seats available on the Advisory Board and the TAG, and in order to ensure that the diversity of W3C Members is represented:
- Two participants with the same primary affiliation per § 184.108.40.206 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections must not both occupy elected seats on the TAG except when this is caused by a change of affiliation of an existing participant. At the completion of the next regularly scheduled election for the TAG, the organization must have returned to having at most one seat.
- Two participants with the same primary affiliation per § 220.127.116.11 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections must not both occupy elected seats on the AB. If, for whatever reason, these constraints are not satisfied (e.g., because an AB participant changes jobs), one participant must cease AB participation until the situation has been resolved. If after 30 days the situation has not been resolved, the Chair will apply the verifiable random selection procedure described below to choose one person for continued participation and declare the other seat(s) vacant.
- An individual must not participate on both the TAG and the AB.
18.104.22.168. Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections
The Advisory Board and a portion of the Technical Architecture Group are elected by the Advisory Committee, using a Single Transferable Vote system. An election begins when the Team sends a Call for Nominations to the Advisory Committee. Any Call for Nominations specifies the minimum and maximum number of available seats, the deadline for nominations, details about the specific vote tabulation system selected by the Team for the election, and operational information such as how to nominate a candidate. The Team may modify the tabulation system after the Call for Nominations but must stabilize it no later than the Call for Votes. The Team announces appointments after the results of the election are known, and before the start of the term, as described in § 22.214.171.124 Technical Architecture Group Appointments.
In the case of regularly scheduled elections of the TAG, the minimum and maximum number of available seats are the same: the 3 seats of the terms expiring that year, plus the number of other seats that are vacant or will be vacant by the time the newly elected members take their seats.
In the case of regularly scheduled elections of the AB, the minimum and maximum number of available seats differ: The maximum number is the 5 or 6 seats of the terms expiring that year, plus the number of other seats that are vacant or will be vacant by the time the newly elected members take their seats; the minimum number is such that when added to the occupied seats from the prior year, the minimum size of the AB (9) is reached.
Each Member (or group of related Members) may nominate one individual. A nomination must be made with the consent of the nominee. In order for an individual to be nominated as a Member representative, the individual must qualify for Member representation and the Member’s Advisory Committee representative must include in the nomination the (same) information required for a Member representative in a Working Group. In order for an individual to be nominated as an Invited Expert, the individual must provide the (same) information required for an Invited Expert in a Working Group and the nominating Advisory Committee representative must include that information in the nomination. In order for an individual to be nominated as a Team representative, the nominating Advisory Committee representative must first secure approval from Team management. A nominee is not required to be an employee of a Member organization, and may be a W3C Fellow. The nomination form must ask for the nominee’s primary affiliation, and this will be reported on the ballot. For most nominees, the primary affiliation is their employer and will match their affiliation in the W3C database. For contractors and invited experts, this will normally be their contracting company or their invited expert status; in some cases (e.g. where a consultant is consulting for only one organization) this may be the organization for whom the nominee is consulting. A change of affiliation is defined such that this field would carry a different answer if the nominee were to be re-nominated (therefore, terminating employment, or accepting new employment, are changes of affiliation). (Other formal relationships such as other contracts should be disclosed as potential conflicts of interest.) Each nomination should include a few informative paragraphs about the nominee.
If, after the deadline for nominations, the number of nominees is:
- Greater than or equal to the minimum number of available seats and less than or equal to the maximum number of available seats, those nominees are thereby elected. This situation constitutes a tie for the purpose of assigning incomplete terms. Furthermore, if the number is less than the maximum number of available seats, the longest terms are filled first.
- Less than the minimum number of available seats, Calls for Nominations are issued until a sufficient number of people have been nominated. Those already nominated do not need to be renominated after a renewed call.
- Greater than the maximum number of available seats, the Team issues a Call for Votes that includes the names of all candidates, the (maximum) number of available seats, the deadline for votes, details about the vote tabulation system selected by the Team for the election, and operational information.
When there is a vote, each Member (or group of related Members) may submit one ballot that ranks candidates in the Member’s preferred order. Once the deadline for votes has passed, the Team announces the results to the Advisory Committee. In case of a tie the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to fill the available seats.
The shortest incomplete term is assigned to the elected candidate ranked lowest by the tabulation of votes, the next shortest term to the next-lowest ranked elected candidate, and so on. In the case of a tie among those eligible for a incomplete term, the verifiable random selection procedure described below will be used to assign the incomplete term.
Refer to How to Organize an Advisory Board or TAG election [ELECTION-HOWTO] for more details.
126.96.36.199. Technical Architecture Group Appointments
The Team is responsible for appointing 3 of the participants to the Technical Architecture Group. This mechanism complements the election process. The Team should use its appointments to support a diverse and well-balanced TAG, including diversity of technical background, knowledge, and skill sets.
The Team should actively seek candidates for appointment to the TAG, and must make available to the W3C community at large a means to propose candidates for consideration, explicitly soliciting input from at least current and incoming TAG members, the Advisory Committee, and Working Group Chairs.
The constraints for appointment to the TAG are the same as for elected participants (see § 188.8.131.52 Elected Groups Participation Constraints and § 184.108.40.206 Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections), with the additional constraint that a person must not be appointed for more than two consecutive terms. (Partial terms used to fill a vacated seat do not count towards this limit.)
Note: Individuals who have reached the limit of two consecutive appointed terms may freely run for election if they wish to continue serving on the TAG.
The Team's choice of appointee(s) is subject to ratification by secret ballot by both the AB and the TAG, each requiring a two-thirds approval. In the case of regularly scheduled elections, the TAG participants in this ratification are its members for the upcoming term.
For regularly scheduled elections, selection begins once the results of the elections are known, and the Team should announce the ratified appointment(s) no later than the start of the regularly scheduled term. When an appointed seat is vacated outside of a regularly scheduled election, the Team should seek to appoint a replacement unless a regular Call for Nominations is scheduled within 2 months, and it must announce the ratified appointment no later than the Call for Nominations of the next scheduled election.
220.127.116.11. Verifiable Random Selection Procedure
When it is necessary to use a verifiable random selection process (e.g., in an AB or TAG election, to “draw straws” in case of a tie or to fill a incomplete term), W3C uses the random and verifiable procedure defined in RFC 3797 [RFC3797]. The procedure orders an input list of names (listed in alphabetical order by family name unless otherwise specified) into a “result order”.
W3C applies this procedure as follows:
- When N people have tied for M (less than N) seats. In this case, only the names of the N individuals who tied are provided as input to the procedure. The M seats are assigned in result order.
- After all elected individuals have been identified, when N people are eligible for M (less than N) incomplete terms. In this case, only the names of those N individuals are provided as input to the procedure. The incomplete terms are assigned in result order.
18.104.22.168. Elected Groups Vacated Seats
An Advisory Board or TAG participant’s seat is vacated when:
- the participant resigns, or
- an Advisory Board or TAG participant changes affiliations such that the Advisory Board and TAG participation constraints are no longer met, or
- the CEO dismisses the participant for failing to meet the criteria in section § 3.1.1 Individual Participation Criteria, or
- their term ends.
If a participant changes affiliation, but the participation constraints are met, that participant’s seat becomes vacant at the next regularly scheduled election for that group.
Vacated seats are filled according to this schedule:
- When an appointed TAG seat is vacated, the Team appoints a replacement.
When an elected seat on either the AB or TAG is vacated,
the seat is filled at the next regularly scheduled election for the group
unless the group Chair requests that W3C hold an election before then
(for instance, due to the group’s workload).
- The group Chair should not request such an election if the next regularly scheduled election is fewer than three months away.
- The group Chair may request an election, and the election may begin, as soon as a current member gives notice of a resignation, including a resignation effective as of a given date in the future.
When such an election is held, the minimum number of available seats is such that when added to the number of continuing participants, the minimum total number of elected seats is met (6 for the TAG, 9 for the AB); and the maximum number corresponds to all unoccupied seats. Except for the number of available seats and the length of the terms, the usual rules for Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections apply.
3.4. Chartered Groups: Working Groups and Interest Groups
This document defines two types of chartered groups:
- Working Groups.
Working Groups typically produce deliverables
(e.g., Recommendation Track technical reports,
and reviews of the deliverables of other groups)
as defined in their charter.
Working Groups have additional participation requirements described in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY], see particularly the “Licensing Obligations of Working Group Participants” and the patent claim exclusion process in “Exclusion From W3C RF Licensing Requirements”.
- Interest Groups.
The primary goal of an Interest Group
is to bring together people who wish to evaluate potential Web technologies and policies.
An Interest Group is a forum for the exchange of ideas.
Interest Groups do not publish Recommendation Track technical reports; but can publish technical reports on the Note Track.
3.4.1. Requirements for All Chartered Groups
Each group must have a charter. Requirements for the charter depend on the group type. All group charters must be public (even if other proceedings of the group are Member-only).
Each group must have a Chair (or co-Chairs) to coordinate the group’s tasks. The Team appoints (and re-appoints) Chairs for all groups. The Chair is a Member representative, a Team representative, or an Invited Expert, (invited by the Team). The requirements of this document that apply to those types of participants apply to Chairs as well.
Note: The role of the Chair [CHAIR] is described in the Art of Consensus [GUIDE].
Each group must have a Team Contact, who acts as the interface between the Chair, group participants, and the rest of the Team.
Note: The role of the Team Contact [TEAM-CONTACT] is described in the Art of Consensus [GUIDE].
The Chair and the Team Contact of a group should not be the same individual.
Each group must have an archived mailing list for formal group communication (e.g., for meeting announcements and minutes, documentation of decisions, and Formal Objections to decisions). It is the responsibility of the Chair and Team Contact to ensure that new participants are subscribed to all relevant mailing lists. Refer to the list of group mailing lists [GROUP-MAIL].
A Chair may form task forces (composed of group participants) to carry out assignments for the group. The scope of these assignments must not exceed the scope of the group’s charter. A group should document the process it uses to create task forces (e.g., each task force might have an informal "charter"). Task forces do not publish technical reports; the Working Group may choose to publish their results as part of a technical report.
3.4.2. Participation in Chartered Groups
There are three types of individual participants in a Working Group: Member representatives, Invited Experts, and Team representatives (including the Team Contact).
There are four types of individual participants in an Interest Group: the same three types as for Working Groups plus, for an Interest Group where the only participation requirement is mailing list subscription, public participants.
Except where noted in this document or in a group charter, all participants share the same rights and responsibilities in a group; see also the individual participation criteria.
A participant may represent more than one organization in a Working Group or Interest Group. Those organizations must all be members of the group.
An individual may become a Working or Interest Group participant at any time during the group’s existence. See also relevant requirements in “Joining an Already Established Working Group” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
On an exceptional basis, a Working or Interest Group participant may designate a substitute to attend a meeting and should inform the Chair. The substitute may act on behalf of the participant, including for votes. For the substitute to vote, the participant must inform the Chair in writing in advance. As a courtesy to the group, if the substitute is not well-versed in the group’s discussions, the regular participant should authorize another participant to act as proxy for votes.
To allow rapid progress, Working Groups are intended to be small (typically fewer than 15 people) and composed of experts in the area defined by the charter. In principle, Interest Groups have no limit on the number of participants. When a Working Group grows too large to be effective, W3C may split it into an Interest Group (a discussion forum) and a much smaller Working Group (a core group of highly dedicated participants).
3.4.3. Types of Participants in Chartered Groups
22.214.171.124. Member Representative in a Working Group
An individual is a Member representative in a Working Group if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- the Advisory Committee representative of the Member in question has designated the individual as a Working Group participant, and
- the individual qualifies for Member representation.
To designate an individual as a Member representative in a Working Group, an Advisory Committee representative must provide the Chair and Team Contact with all of the following information, in addition to any other information required by the Call for Participation and charter (including the participation requirements of the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY]):
- The name of the W3C Member the individual represents and whether the individual is an employee of that Member organization;
- A statement that the individual accepts the participation terms set forth in the charter (with an indication of charter date or version);
- A statement that the Member will provide the necessary financial support for participation (e.g., for travel, telephone calls, and conferences).
A Member participates in a Working Group from the moment the first Member representative joins the group until either of the following occurs:
- the group closes, or
- the Member resigns from the Working Group; this is done through the Member’s Advisory Committee representative.
126.96.36.199. Member Representative in an Interest Group
When the participation requirements exceed Interest Group mailing list subscription, an individual is a Member representative in an Interest Group if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- the Advisory Committee representative of the Member in question has designated the individual as an Interest Group participant, and
- the individual qualifies for Member representation.
To designate an individual as a Member representative in an Interest Group, the Advisory Committee representative must follow the instructions in the Call for Participation and charter.
Member participation in an Interest Group ceases under the same conditions as for a Working Group.
188.8.131.52. Invited Expert in a Working Group
The Chair may invite an individual with a particular expertise to participate in a Working Group. This individual may represent an organization in the group (e.g., if acting as a liaison with another organization).
An individual is an Invited Expert in a Working Group if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- the Chair has designated the individual as a group participant,
- the Team Contact has agreed with the Chair’s choice, and
- the individual has provided the information required of an Invited Expert to the Chair and Team Contact.
To designate an individual as an Invited Expert in a Working Group, the Chair must inform the Team Contact and provide rationale for the choice. When the Chair and the Team Contact disagree about a designation, the CEO determines whether the individual will be invited to participate in the Working Group.
To participate in a Working Group as an Invited Expert, an individual must:
- identify the organization, if any, the individual represents as a participant in this group,
- agree to the terms of the invited expert and collaborators agreement [COLLABORATORS-AGREEMENT],
- accept the participation terms set forth in the charter, including the participation requirements of the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY], especially in “Note on Licensing Commitments for Invited Experts” and in “Disclosure”, indicating a specific charter date or version,
- disclose whether the individual is an employee of a W3C Member; see the conflict of interest policy,
- provide a statement of who will provide the necessary financial support for the individual’s participation (e.g., for travel, telephone calls, and conferences), and
- if the individual’s employer (including a self-employed individual) or the organization the individual represents is not a W3C Member, indicate whether that organization intends to join W3C. If the organization does not intend to join W3C, indicate reasons the individual is aware of for this choice.
The Chair should not designate as an Invited Expert in a Working Group an individual who is an employee of a W3C Member. The Chair must not use Invited Expert status to circumvent participation limits imposed by the charter.
An Invited Expert participates in a Working Group from the moment the individual joins the group until any of the following occurs:
- the group closes, or
- the Chair or CEO withdraws the invitation to participate, or
- the individual resigns.
184.108.40.206. Invited Expert in an Interest Group
When the participation requirements exceed Interest Group mailing list subscription, the participation requirements for an Invited Expert in an Interest Group are the same as those for an Invited Expert in a Working Group.
220.127.116.11. Team Representative in a Working Group
An individual is a Team representative in a Working Group when so designated by W3C management. Team representatives both contribute to the technical work and help ensure the group’s proper integration with the rest of W3C.
A Team representative participates in a Working Group from the moment the individual joins the group until any of the following occurs:
- the group closes, or
- W3C management changes Team representation by sending email to the Chair, copying the group mailing list.
The Team participates in a Working Group from the moment the creation of the group is announced until the group closes.
18.104.22.168. Team Representative in an Interest Group
When the participation requirements exceed Interest Group mailing list subscription, an individual is a Team representative in an Interest Group when so designated by W3C management.
4. Lifecycle of Chartered Groups
4.1. Initiating Charter Development
W3C creates charters for chartered groups based on interest from the Members and Team. The Team must notify the Advisory Committee when a charter for a new Working Group or Interest Group is in development. This is intended to raise awareness, even if no formal proposal is yet available. Advisory Committee representatives may provide feedback on the Advisory Committee discussion list or via other designated channels.
W3C may begin work on a Working Group or Interest Group charter at any time.
4.2. Content of a Charter
A Working Group or Interest Group charter must include all of the following information.
- The group’s mission (e.g., develop a technology or process, review the work of other groups).
- The scope of the group’s work and criteria for success.
- The duration of the group (typically from six months to two years).
- The nature of any deliverables (technical reports, reviews of the deliverables of other groups, or software).
Expected milestone dates where available.
Note: A charter is not required to include schedules for review of other group’s deliverables.
- The process for the group to approve the release of deliverables (including intermediate results).
- Any dependencies by groups within or outside of W3C on the deliverables of this group. For any dependencies, the charter must specify the mechanisms for communication about the deliverables.
- Any dependencies of this group on other groups within or outside of W3C. Such dependencies include interactions with W3C Horizontal Groups [CHARTER].
- The level of confidentiality of the group’s proceedings and deliverables.
- Meeting mechanisms and expected frequency.
- If known, the date of the first face-to-face meeting. The date of the first face-to-face meeting of a proposed group must not be sooner than eight weeks after the date of the proposal.
- Communication mechanisms to be employed within the group, between the group and the rest of W3C, and with the general public.
- Any voting procedures or requirements other than those specified in § 5.2.3 Deciding by Vote.
- An estimate of the expected time commitment from participants.
- The expected time commitment and level of involvement by the Team (e.g., to track developments, write and edit technical reports, develop code, or organize pilot experiments).
- Intellectual property information. What are the intellectual property (including patents and copyright) considerations affecting the success of the Group? In particular, is there any reason to believe that it will be difficult to meet the Royalty-Free licensing goals in “Licensing Goals for W3C Specifications” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY]?
See also the charter requirements in “Licensing Goals for W3C Specifications” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
For every Recommendation Track deliverable that continues work on technical report published under any other Charter (including a predecessor group of the same name), for which there is at least an existing First Public Working Draft the description of that deliverable in the proposed charter of the adopting Working Group must provide the following information:
- The title, stable URL, and publication date of the Working Draft or other Recommendation-track document that will serve as the basis for work on the deliverable (labeled “Adopted Draft”);
- The title, stable URL, and publication date of the document that was used as the basis for its most recent Exclusion Opportunity as per the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY]. (labeled “Exclusion Draft”); and
- The stable URL of the Working Group charter under which the Exclusion Draft was published (labeled the “Exclusion Draft Charter”).
All of the above data must be identified in the adopting Working Group’s charter using the labels indicated.
The Adopted Draft and the Exclusion Draft must each be adopted in their entirety and without any modification. The proposed charter must state the dates on which the Exclusion Opportunity that arose on publishing the Exclusion Draft began and ended. As per “Joining an Already Established Working Group” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY], this potentially means that exclusions can only be made immediately on joining a Working Group.
An Interest Group charter may include provisions regarding participation, including specifying that the only requirement for participation (by anyone) in the Interest Group is subscription to the Interest Group mailing list. This type of Interest Group may have public participants.
A charter may include provisions other than those required by this document. The charter should highlight whether additional provisions impose constraints beyond those of the W3C Process Document (e.g., limits on the number of individuals in a Working Group who represent the same Member organization or group of related Members).
4.3. Advisory Committee Review of a Charter
The Team must solicit Advisory Committee review of every new or substantively modified Working Group or Interest Group charter, except for either:
a charter extension
substantive changes to a charter that do not affect the way the group functions in any significant way.
The review period must be at least 28 days. The following are examples of substantive changes that would not require an Advisory Committee Review: the addition of an in-scope deliverable, a change of Team Contact, or a change of Chair. Such changes must nonetheless be announced to the Advisory Committee and to participants in the Working or in the Interest Group, and a rationale must be provided.
The Call for Review of a substantively modified charter must highlight important changes (e.g., regarding deliverables or resource allocation) and include rationale for the changes.
As part of the Advisory Committee review of any new or substantively modified Working Group charter, any Advisory Committee representative may request an extended review period.
Such a request must be submitted with a Member’s comments in response to the Call for Review. Upon receipt of any such request, the Team must ensure that the Call for Participation for the Working Group occurs at least 60 days after the Call for Review of the charter.
4.4. Call for Participation in a Chartered Group
Deciding whether to adopt a proposed Working Group or Interest Group charter is a W3C Decision. Charters may be amended based on review comments per § 5.7.2 After the Review Period before the Call for Participation.
If the decision is to charter the group, the Team must issue a Call for Participation to the Advisory Committee. For a new group, this announcement officially creates the group. The announcement must include a reference to the charter, the name(s) of the group’s Chair(s), and the name(s) of the Team Contact(s).
After a Call for Participation, any Member representatives and Invited Experts must be designated (or re-designated). When a group is re-chartered, individuals participating in the Working Group or Interest Group before the new Call for Participation may attend any meetings held within forty-five (45) days of the Call for Participation even if they have not yet formally rejoined the group (i.e., committed to the terms of the charter and patent policy).
Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal against the decision to create or substantially modify a Working Group or Interest Group charter.
4.5. Charter Extension
The Team may decide to extend a Working Group or Interest Group charter with no other substantive modifications. The Team must announce such extensions to the Advisory Committee. The announcement must indicate the new duration. The announcement must also include rationale for the extension, a reference to the charter, and the Group homepage (which includes at least the name(s) of the group’s Chair(s), the name of the Team Contact, and instructions for joining the group).
After a charter extension, Advisory Committee representatives and the Chair are not required to re-designate Member representatives and Invited Experts.
Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal against a Team decision regarding the extension of a Working Group or Interest Group charter.
4.6. Chartered Group Closure
A Working Group or Interest Group charter specifies a duration for the group.
The Team, the TAG, or the AB may propose to close a group prior to the date specified in the charter in any of the following circumstances:
There are insufficient member resources to produce chartered deliverables or to maintain the group, according to priorities established within W3C.
A Patent Advisory Group concluded that the work should be terminated.
The group produced all chartered deliverables ahead of schedule.
Such a proposal to close a group must be accompanied by rationale, and the proposal must be confirmed by an AC Review as a W3C Decision.
Closing a Working Group has implications with respect to the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
W3C attempts to resolve issues through dialog. Individuals who disagree strongly with a decision should register with the Chair any Formal Objections.
5.1. Types of Decisions
The Chair of a Working Group or Interest Group has the prerogative to make certain decisions based on their own judgment. Such decisions are called chair decisions.
In contrast, decisions taken by the Chair of a Working Group or Interest Group on the basis of having assessed the consensus of the group or following a vote (see § 5.2.3 Deciding by Vote) are called group decisions (also known as group “resolutions”).
Decisions made by members of the Team in connection with this Process, based on their own individual or collective judgement, are called Team Decisions.
In contrast, a W3C decision is determined by the Team on behalf of the W3C community by assessing the consensus of the W3C Community after an Advisory Committee review.
5.2. Consensus Building
Consensus is a core value of W3C. To promote consensus, the W3C process requires Chairs to ensure that groups consider all legitimate views and objections, and endeavor to resolve them, whether these views and objections are expressed by the active participants of the group or by others (e.g., another W3C group, a group in another organization, or the general public). Decisions may be made during meetings (face-to-face or distributed) as well as through persistent text-based discussions.
Note: The CEO has the role of assessing consensus within the Advisory Committee.
The following terms are used in this document to describe the level of support for a decision among a set of eligible individuals:
- A substantial number of individuals in the set support the decision and there is no sustained objection from anybody in the set. Individuals in the set may abstain. Abstention is either an explicit expression of no opinion or silence by an individual in the set.
- The particular case of consensus where all individuals in the set support the decision (i.e., no individual in the set abstains).
- At least one individual in the set sustains an objection.
Note: A Formal Objection always indicates a sustained objection, but isn’t necessary to express it (except in the context of formal AC Reviews). Disagreement with a proposed decision, however, does not always rise to the level of sustained objection, as individuals could be willing to accept a decision while expressing disagreement.
By default, the set of individuals eligible to participate in a decision is the set of group participants. The Process Document does not require a quorum for decisions (i.e., the minimal number of eligible participants required to be present before the Chair can call a question). A charter may include a quorum requirement for consensus decisions.
Where unanimity is not possible, a group should strive to make consensus decisions where there is significant support and few abstentions. The Process Document does not require a particular percentage of eligible participants to agree to a motion in order for a decision to be made. To avoid decisions where there is widespread apathy, (i.e., little support and many abstentions), groups should set minimum thresholds of active support before a decision can be recorded. The appropriate percentage may vary depending on the size of the group and the nature of the decision. A charter may include threshold requirements for consensus decisions. For instance, a charter might require a supermajority of eligible participants (i.e., some established percentage above 50%) to support certain types of consensus decisions.
If questions or disagreements arise, the final determination of consensus remains with the chair.
5.2.2. Managing Dissent
In some cases, even after careful consideration of all points of view, a group might find itself unable to reach consensus. The Chair may record a decision where there is dissent so that the group can make progress (for example, to produce a deliverable in a timely manner). Dissenters cannot stop a group’s work simply by saying that they cannot live with a decision. When the Chair believes that the Group has duly considered the legitimate concerns of dissenters as far as is possible and reasonable, the group should move on.
Groups should favor proposals that create the weakest objections. This is preferred over proposals that are supported by a large majority but that cause strong objections from a few people. As part of making a decision where there is dissent, the Chair is expected to be aware of which participants work for the same (or related) Member organizations and weigh their input accordingly.
Note: Dissenters can escalate their sustained objection to a decision by registering a Formal Objection.
5.2.3. Deciding by Vote
A group should only conduct a vote to resolve a substantive issue after the Chair has determined that all available means of reaching consensus through technical discussion and compromise have failed, and that a vote is necessary to break a deadlock. In this case the Chair must record (e.g., in the minutes of the meeting or in an archived email message):
- an explanation of the issue being voted on;
- the decision to conduct a vote (e.g., a simple majority vote) to resolve the issue;
- the outcome of the vote;
- any Formal Objections.
In order to vote to resolve a substantive issue, an individual must be a group participant. Each organization represented in the group must have at most one vote, even when the organization is represented by several participants in the group (including Invited Experts). For the purposes of voting:
- A Member or group of related Members is considered a single organization.
- The Team is considered an organization.
Unless the charter states otherwise, Invited Experts may vote.
If a participant is unable to attend a vote, that individual may authorize anyone at the meeting to act as a proxy. The absent participant must inform the Chair in writing who is acting as proxy, with written instructions on the use of the proxy. For a Working Group or Interest Group, see the related requirements regarding an individual who attends a meeting as a substitute for a participant.
A group may vote for other purposes than to resolve a substantive issue. For instance, the Chair often conducts a “straw poll” vote as a means of determining whether there is consensus about a potential decision.
A group may also vote to make a process decision. For example, it is appropriate to decide by simple majority whether to hold a meeting in San Francisco or San Jose (there’s not much difference geographically). When simple majority votes are used to decide minor issues, voters are not required to state the reasons for votes, and the group is not required to record individual votes.
A group charter may include formal voting procedures (e.g., quorum or threshold requirements) for making decisions about substantive issues.
5.3. Formally Addressing an Issue
In the context of this document, a group has formally addressed an issue when it has sent a public, substantive response to the reviewer who raised the issue. A substantive response is expected to include rationale for decisions (e.g., a technical explanation, a pointer to charter scope, or a pointer to a requirements document). The adequacy of a response is measured against what a W3C reviewer would generally consider to be technically sound. If a group believes that a reviewer’s comments result from a misunderstanding, the group should seek clarification before reaching a decision.
As a courtesy, both Chairs and reviewers should set expectations for the schedule of responses and acknowledgments. The group should reply to a reviewer’s initial comments in a timely manner. The group should set a time limit for acknowledgment by a reviewer of the group’s substantive response; a reviewer cannot block a group’s progress. It is common for a reviewer to require a week or more to acknowledge and comment on a substantive response. The group’s responsibility to respond to reviewers does not end once a reasonable amount of time has elapsed. However, reviewers should realize that their comments will carry less weight if not sent to the group in a timely manner.
Substantive responses should be recorded. The group should maintain an accurate summary of all substantive issues and responses to them (e.g., in the form of an issues list with links to mailing list archives).
5.4. Reopening a Decision When Presented With New Information
The Chair may reopen a decision when presented with new information, including:
- additional technical information,
- comments by email from participants who were unable to attend a scheduled meeting,
- comments by email from meeting attendees who chose not to speak out during a meeting (e.g., so they could confer later with colleagues or for cultural reasons).
The Chair should record that a decision has been reopened, and must do so upon request from a group participant.
5.5. Registering Formal Objections
Any individual (regardless of whether they are associated with a Member) may appeal any decision made in connection with this Process (except those having a different appeal process) by registering a Formal Objection with the Team. Group participants should inform their Team Contact as well as the group’s Chair(s). The Team Contact must inform the CEO when a group participant has also raised concerns about due process.
Note: In this document, the term Formal Objection is used to emphasize this process implication: Formal Objections receive formal consideration and a formal response. The word “objection” used alone has its ordinary English connotations. See § 5.2 Consensus Building.
A Formal Objection must include a summary of the issue (whether technical or procedural), the decision being appealed, and the rationale for the objection. It should cite technical arguments and propose changes that would remove the Formal Objection; these proposals may be vague or incomplete. Formal Objections that do not provide substantive arguments or rationale are unlikely to receive serious consideration. Counter-arguments, rationales, and decisions should also be recorded.
A record of each Formal Objection against a decision regarding a publicly-available document must be made publicly available; likewise, a record of each Formal Objection against a Member-visible decision must be made available to Members. A Call for Review to the Advisory Committee must identify any Formal Objections related to that review.
Note: Formal Objections against matter in a technical report are required to be addressed before requesting advancement of the technical report.
A Formal Objection filed during an Advisory Committee Review is considered registered at the close of the review period.
5.6. Addressing Formal Objections
5.6.1. Investigation and Mediation by the Team
The Team considers the Formal objection, researches the question, interviews parties, and so on, to make sure the problem and the various viewpoints are well understood, and to the extent possible, to arrive at a recommended disposition. If the Team can resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the individual that filed the Formal Objection, the individual withdraws the objection and the disposition process terminates.
Otherwise, upon concluding that consensus cannot be found, and no later than 90 days after the Formal Objection being registered, the Team must initiate formation of a W3C Council, which should be convened within 45 days of being initiated. Concurrently, it must prepare a report for the Council documenting its findings and attempts to find consensus.
5.6.2. W3C Council
A W3C Council is the body convened to resolve Formal Objections by combining the capabilities and perspectives of the AB, the TAG, and the Team, and is tasked with doing so in the best interests of the Web and W3C.
22.214.171.124. Council Composition
Each W3C Council is composed of the following members (excepting any renounced or dismissed):
the members of the Advisory Board
the members of the Technical Architecture Group
Participation in a W3C Council must not require attendance of face-to-face meetings.
A distinct instance of the W3C Council is convened for each decision being appealed or objected to. Membership of each Council instance is fixed at formation, and is not changed by any AB or TAG elections occurring before that Council has reached a conclusion. However, if participation in a Council falls so low as to hinder effective and balanced deliberations, the W3C Council Chair should dissolve the Council and call for a new one to be convened.
A Team member is assigned to act as the Council Team Contact, to support this Council and to facilitate adherence to this Process.
126.96.36.199. Extraordinary Delegation
In extraordinary cases, if they feel a Council would not be the appropriate deciding body, a member of the Team (particularly the Legal Counsel) or any potential Council member may suggest that the decision for that specific Formal Objection be delegated to the W3C Board of Directors, to an officer of its corporation (such as the Legal Counsel), or to one or more specific individuals from the Team. The potential Council members then may confidentially discuss and must vote whether to delegate the decision for that specific Formal Objection. A decision to delegate must be supported by a two-thirds supermajority vote (i.e., at least twice as many votes in favor as against). Delegation in such cases cannot be later revoked.
The Team must inform the Advisory Committee when a Formal Objection has been delegated, and to whom it has been delegated.
188.8.131.52. Council Participation, Dismissal, and Renunciation
A potential Council member may be dismissed from the Council. In order to apply consistent criteria, the potential Council members decide collectively which reasons against service rise to a sufficient level for a potential member to be dismissed. No-one is automatically dismissed, and individual recusal is not used in the Council. Dismissal applies to an individual person in the context of a specific Council, and should be used rarely in order to preserve the greatest diversity on the Council.
Note: A W3C Council is a deliberative body whose purpose is to find the best way forward for the Web and for W3C. It is not a judicial body tasked with determining right or wrong.
The Team must draft a list of potential Council members, with annotations of possible reasons for dismissal against each one. The W3C community, including members and team, and potential council members, must be given an opportunity to contribute possible reasons to this list. Affected members must be given an opportunity to respond to such comments about themselves. The Team may report comments verbatim or may paraphrase them while preserving their intent; they may also elide inappropriate comments, such as any that violate applicable laws or the [CEPC].
Before a Council forms, the Team presents the entire list of potential members and collected reasons and responses to the potential Council members, who then consider for each potential member whether that individual’s participation would compromise the integrity of the Council decision, and vote whether to dismiss that potential member. No one is allowed to vote on their own dismissal; each dismissal is decided by simple majority of those not abstaining.
Note: Since dismissal is individual, when the decision being objected to was made by the TAG or AB acting as a body, the entire TAG or AB is not expected or required to be dismissed.
An individual may also renounce their seat on a Council, for strong reason, such as being forbidden by their employer to serve. The individual chooses the extent to which they explain their renunciation. Renunciation is disqualification from participation, not abstention, and should not be used to excuse an absence of participation.
Any person who has been dismissed or who renounces their seat does not receive Council materials, take part in its deliberations, help in the determination of consensus, or vote. The W3C Council may still solicit and hear their testimony, as they can of anyone else in the W3C community.
184.108.40.206. Unanimous Short Circuit
The full Council process may be short-circuited if the Team recommends a resolution and every potential member of a Council who is not renouncing their seat votes affirmatively (no abstentions) to adopt this resolution.
This step may be run concurrently with § 220.127.116.11 Council Participation, Dismissal, and Renunciation and prior to choosing a Chair.
Note: This is intended for exceptional cases that don’t seem to warrant a full Council response because they are, for instance, too trivial, duplicative, etc.
18.104.22.168. Council Chairing
The Chair of each W3C Council is chosen by its members, by consensus if possible, falling back to a vote if that fails. The chair must be a member of that W3C Council. Chair selection happens during formation of each Council, and must be re-run if requested by the Council Team Contact or by the Chair during the Council’s operation.
22.214.171.124. Council Deliberations
Upon appointment of the W3C Council Chair and delivery of the Team’s report, the W3C Council is considered to be convened and can start deliberations.
Having reviewed the information gathered by the Team, the Council may conduct additional research or analysis, or request additional information or interviews from anyone, including the Team.
The Council may further attempt to broker consensus, which, if successful, disposes the formal objection.
Otherwise, after sufficient deliberation, the W3C Council decides whether to uphold or overrule the objection. The W3C Council may overrule the Formal Objection even if it agrees with some of the supportive arguments.
When upholding an objection, it should recommend a way forward. If the overturned decision has already had consequences (e.g., if the objection concerns material already in a published document) the Council should suggest how these consequences might be mitigated. The Team is responsible for making sure that adequate mitigations are enacted in a timely fashion; and the Formal Objection is not considered fully addressed until then.
Note: This does not create new powers for the Team, such as the ability to “unpublish” documents. The Team's role is to ensure the responsible parties enact adequate mitigations, by whatever means they already have at their disposal.
A Council may form sub-groups for deliberation, who may return with a recommendation, but the full Council issues the final decision. The decision of the W3C Council should be unanimous, and may be issued under consensus. However, if despite careful deliberation a W3C Council is unable to reach consensus, the W3C Council Chair may instead resort to voting. In that case, the decision is made by simple majority, with the W3C Council Chair breaking any tie. In case of a vote, if two members of a Council who share the same affiliation cast an identical ballot, then their ballots count as a one vote, not two.
In the case of non-unanimous decisions, members of a W3C Council who disagree with the decision may write a Minority Opinion explaining the reason for their disagreement.
The deliberations of a W3C Council are confidential to that W3C Council and its Council Team Contact.
If a W3C Council is unable to come to a conclusion within 45 days of being convened, the W3C Council Chair must inform the AC of this delay and of the status of the discussions. The W3C Council Chair may additionally make this report public.
126.96.36.199. Council Decision Report
A Council terminates by issuing a Council Report, which:
must provide a rationale supporting the decision, which should address each argument raised in the Formal Objection(s).
must include any recommendation decided by the Council.
must include the Minority Opinion(s), if any.
must report the names of the individuals who participated in the final decision.
may report vote totals, if any vote was held.
must not attribute any position to any individual on the Council.
The Team must maintain a public page on the W3C website indexing all completed Council Reports. If a Council decision is later overturned by an AC Appeal, this must also be mentioned. Council Reports must be no more confidential than the decision or document being objected to.
The Council may also issue a Supplemental Confidential Council Report with a more restricted level of confidentiality than its main report when it believes that additional commentary on confidential aspects of the case would be informative. However, the main Council Report should be self-sufficient and understandable without reference to Supplemental Confidential Council Reports.
188.8.131.52. Appealing Council Decisions
Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of a Council decision issued in a Council Report.
5.7. Advisory Committee Reviews
Advisory Committee review is the process by which the Advisory Committee formally confers its approval on charters, technical reports, and other matters.
5.7.1. Start of a Review Period
Each Advisory Committee review period begins with a Call for Review from the Team to the Advisory Committee. The Call for Review describes the proposal, raises attention to deadlines, estimates when the decision will be available, and includes other practical information. Each Member organization may send one review, which must be returned by its Advisory Committee representative.
For clarity, in the context of an AC Review, dissent must be expressed as a Formal Objection.
The Team must provide two channels for Advisory Committee review comments:
- an archived Team-only channel;
- an archived Member-only channel.
The Call for Review must specify which channel is the default for review comments on that Call.
Reviewers may send information to either or both channels. A reviewer may also share their own reviews with other Members on the Advisory Committee discussion list, and may also make it available to the public.
A Member organization may modify its review during a review period (e.g., in light of comments from other Members).
5.7.2. After the Review Period
After the review period, the Team determines the appropriate W3C Decision, which they must announce to the Advisory Committee. The announcement must indicate the level of support for the proposal (consensus or dissent), and specifically whether there were any Formal Objections, with attention to changing the confidentiality level of the Formal Objections.
If there were Formal Objections, at least some of which were upheld, or if there is not consensus because of insufficient support, W3C Decision must be one of:
- The proposal is returned for additional work, with a request to the initiator to improve the proposal.
- The proposal is rejected.
If the proposal has consensus, or if any Formal Objections are retracted or overruled and the proposal otherwise has sufficient support to achieve consensus, this W3C Decision must be one of:
- The proposal is adopted, possibly with additional changes integrated in order to address the comments of the AC (see below).
- The proposal is returned for additional work, with a request to the initiator to make desirable changes identified during the review and to resubmit.
If the proposal is adopted with changes other than class 1 (markup) changes, then those changes must be announced to the AC and to the Group that owns the document (if any).
Additionally, when adopting a proposal with substantive changes integrated, the announcement must include rationale for the substantive changes, and those changes must have the consensus of the subset of the AC that voted on the proposal (including anyone who explicitly abstained). For publications which have conditions in addition to AC approval for introducing substantive changes (such as Group consensus or implementation experience), those other conditions must also be re-fulfilled.
This document does not specify time intervals between the end of an Advisory Committee review period and the W3C decision. This is to ensure that the Members and Team have sufficient time to consider comments gathered during the review. The Advisory Committee should not expect an announcement sooner than two weeks after the end of a review period. If, after three weeks, the outcome has not been announced, the Team should provide the Advisory Committee with an update.
5.8. Advisory Committee Votes
The Advisory Committee votes in elections for seats on the TAG or Advisory Board, and in the event of an Advisory Committee Appeal achieving the required support to trigger an appeal vote. Whenever the Advisory Committee votes, each Member or group of related Members has one vote.
5.9. Appeal by Advisory Committee Representatives
Advisory Committee representatives may appeal certain decisions, though appeals are only expected to occur in extraordinary circumstances.
When a W3C decision is made following an Advisory Committee review, Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal. These W3C decisions include those related to group creation and modification, and transitions to new maturity stages for Recommendation Track documents and the Process document.
Advisory Committee representatives may also initiate an appeal for decisions of a W3C Council, and for certain decisions that do not involve an Advisory Committee review. These cases are identified in the sections which describe the requirements for the decision and include additional (non-reviewed) maturity stages of Recommendation Track documents, group charter extensions and closures, and Memoranda of Understanding.
In all cases, an appeal must be initiated within three weeks of the decision.
An Advisory Committee representative initiates an appeal by sending a request to the Team, and should also share this request with the Advisory Committee. The request should say “I appeal this Decision” and identify the decision, and may also include their rationale for appealing the decision.
Note: See Appealing a W3C Decision for a recommendation on how to communicate an appeal request to the Team and the AC.
Within one week the Team must announce the appeal process to the Advisory Committee and provide a mechanism for Advisory Committee representatives to respond with a statement of positive support for this appeal. The archive of these statements must be member-only. If, within one week of the Team’s announcement, 5% or more of the Advisory Committee support the appeal request, the Team must organize an appeal vote asking the Advisory Committee “Do you approve of the Decision?” together with links to the decision and the appeal support.
The ballot must allow for three possible responses: “Approve”, “Reject”, and “Abstain”, together with Comments.
If the number of votes to reject exceeds the number of votes to approve, the decision is overturned. In that case, there are the following possible next steps:
- The proposal is rejected.
- The proposal is returned for additional work, after which the applicable decision process is re-initiated.
6. W3C Technical Reports
The W3C technical report development process is the set of steps and requirements followed by W3C Working Groups to standardize Web technology. The W3C technical report development process is designed to:
- support multiple specification development methodologies
- maximize consensus about the content of stable technical reports
- ensure high technical and editorial quality
- promote consistency among specifications
- facilitate royalty-free, interoperable implementations of Web Standards, and
- earn endorsement by W3C and the broader community.
See also “licensing goals for W3C Specifications” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
6.1. Types of Technical Reports
This chapter describes the formal requirements for publishing and maintaining a W3C Recommendation, Note, or Registry Report.
- Working Groups develop technical reports on the W3C Recommendation Track in order to produce normative specifications or guidelines as standards for the Web. The Recommendation Track process incorporates requirements for wide review, adequate implementation experience, and consensus-building, and is subject to the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY], under which participants commit to Royalty-Free IPR licenses for implementations. See § 6.3 The W3C Recommendation Track for details.
- Groups can also publish documents as W3C Notes and W3C Statements, typically either to document information other than technical specifications, such as use cases motivating a specification and best practices for its use. See § 6.4 The Note Track (Notes and Statements) for details.
- Working Groups can also publish registries in order to document collections of values or other data. These are typically published in a separate registry report, although they can also be directly embedded in Recommendation Track documents as a registry section. Defining a registry requires wide review and consensus, but once set up, changes to registry entries are lightweight and can even be done without a Working Group. See § 6.5 The Registry Track for details.
Individual Working Groups and Interest Groups should adopt additional processes for developing publications, so long as they do not conflict with the requirements in this chapter.
6.2. General Requirements for Technical Reports
6.2.1. Publication of Technical Reports
Publishing as used in this document refers to producing a version which is listed as a W3C Technical Report on its Technical Reports index at https://www.w3.org/TR [TR]. Every document published as part of the technical report development process must be a public document. W3C strives to make archival documents indefinitely available at their original address in their original form.
Every document published as part of the technical report development process must clearly indicate its maturity stage, and must include information about the status of the document. This status information:
- must be unique each time a specification is published,
- must state which Working Group developed the specification,
- must state how to send comments or file bugs, and where these are recorded,
- must include expectations about next steps,
- should explain how the technology relates to existing international standards and related work inside or outside W3C, and
- should explain or link to an explanation of significant changes from the previous version.
Every Technical Report published as part of the Technical Report development process is edited by one or more editors appointed by a Group Chair. It is the responsibility of these editors to ensure that the decisions of the Group are correctly reflected in subsequent drafts of the technical report. An editor must be a participant, per § 3.4.2 Participation in Chartered Groups in the Group responsible for the document(s) they are editing.
The Team is not required to publish a Technical Report that does not conform to the Team’s Publication Rules [PUBRULES] (e.g., for naming, status information, style, and copyright requirements). These rules are subject to change by the Team from time to time. The Team must inform group Chairs and the Advisory Committee of any changes to these rules.
The primary language for W3C Technical Reports is English. W3C encourages the translation of its Technical Reports. Information about translations of W3C technical reports [TRANSLATION] is available at the W3C website.
6.2.2. Reviews and Review Responsibilities
A document is available for review from the moment it is first published. Working Groups should formally address any substantive review comment about a technical report in a timely manner.
Reviewers should send substantive technical reviews as early as possible. Working Groups are often reluctant to make substantive changes to a mature document, particularly if this would cause significant compatibility problems due to existing implementation. Working Groups should record substantive or interesting proposals raised by reviews but not incorporated into a current specification.
184.108.40.206. Wide Review
The requirements for wide review are not precisely defined by the W3C Process. The objective is to ensure that the entire set of stakeholders of the Web community, including the general public, have had adequate notice of the progress of the Working Group (for example through notices posted to email@example.com) and were able to actually perform reviews of and provide comments on the specification. A second objective is to encourage groups to request reviews early enough that comments and suggested changes can still be reasonably incorporated in response to the review. Before approving transitions, the Team will consider who has been explicitly offered a reasonable opportunity to review the document, who has provided comments, the record of requests to and responses from reviewers, especially W3C Horizontal Groups [CHARTER] and groups identified as dependencies in the charter or identified as liaisons [LIAISON], and seek evidence of clear communication to the general public about appropriate times and which content to review and whether such reviews actually occurred.
For example, inviting review of new or significantly revised sections published in Working Drafts, and tracking those comments and the Working Group's responses, is generally a good practice which would often be considered positive evidence of wide review. Working Groups should follow the W3C Horizontal Groups’ review processes, and should announce to other W3C Working Groups as well as the general public, especially those affected by this specification, a proposal to enter Candidate Recommendation (for example in approximately 28 days). By contrast a generic statement in a document requesting review at any time is likely not to be considered as sufficient evidence that the group has solicited wide review.
A Working Group could present evidence that wide review has been received, irrespective of solicitation. But it is important to note that receiving many detailed reviews is not necessarily the same as wide review, since they might only represent comment from a small segment of the relevant stakeholder community.
6.2.3. Classes of Changes
This document distinguishes the following 5 classes of changes to a document. The first two classes of change are considered editorial changes, the next two substantive changes, and the last one registry changes.
No changes to text content
- These changes include fixing broken links, style sheets, or invalid markup.
Changes that do not functionally affect interpretation of the document
- For Recommendation-track technical reports specifically,
this constitutes changes that do not affect conformance,
i.e. changes that reasonable implementers
would not interpret as changing architectural
or interoperability requirements
or their implementation.
Changes which resolve ambiguities in the specification
are considered to change (by clarification) the implementation requirements
and do not fall into this class.
- Examples of changes in this class include correcting non-normative examples which clearly conflict with normative requirements, clarifying informative use cases or other non-normative text, fixing typos or grammatical errors where the change does not change requirements.
- If there is any doubt or disagreement as to whether a change functionally affects interpretation, that change does not fall into this class.
- Examples of changes in this class include correcting non-normative examples which clearly conflict with normative requirements, clarifying informative use cases or other non-normative text, fixing typos or grammatical errors where the change does not change requirements.
Other changes that do not add new features
For Recommendation-track documents,
these changes may affect conformance to the specification.
A change that affects conformance is one that:
- makes conforming data, processors, or other conforming agents become non-conforming according to the new version, or
- makes non-conforming data, processors, or other agents become conforming, or
- clears up an ambiguity or under-specified part of the specification in such a way that data, a processor, or an agent whose conformance was once unclear becomes clearly either conforming or non-conforming.
- Changes that add new functionality, such as new elements, new APIs, new rules, etc.
Changes to the contents of a registry table
- Changes that add, remove, or alter registry entries in a registry table.
6.2.4. Errata Management
Tracking errors is an important part of a Working Group's ongoing care of a technical report; for this reason, the scope of a Working Group charter generally allows time for work after publication of a Recommendation. In this Process Document, the term “erratum” (plural “errata”) refers to any error that can be resolved by one or more changes in classes 1-3 of section § 6.2.3 Classes of Changes.
Working Groups must keep a public record of errors that are reported by readers and implementers for Recommendations. Such error reports should be compiled no less frequently than quarterly.
Working Groups decide how to document errata. Such documentation must identify the affected technical report text and describe the error; it may also describe some possible solution(s). Readers of the technical report should be able easily to find and see the errata that apply to that specific technical report with their associated tests. Errata may be documented in a separate errata page or tracking system. They may, in addition or alternatively, be annotated inline alongside the affected technical report text or at the start or end of the most relevant section(s).
6.2.5. Candidate Amendments
An erratum may be accompanied by an informative, candidate correction approved by group decision.
When annotated inline,
Note: Annotating changes in this way allows more mature documents such as Recommendations and Candidate Recommendations to be updated quickly with the Working Group’s most current thinking, even when the candidate amendments have not yet received sufficient review or implementation experience to be normatively incorporated into the specification proper.
A candidate addition is similar to a candidate correction, except that it proposes a new feature rather than an error correction.
If there is no group chartered to maintain a technical report, the Team may maintain its errata and associated candidate corrections. Such corrections must be marked as Team correction, and do not constitute a normative portion of the Recommendation, as defined in the Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] (i.e. they are not covered by the Patent Policy). The Team must solicit wide review on Team corrections that it produces.
Candidate corrections and candidate additions are collectively known as candidate amendments.
In addition to their actual maturity stage, published REC Track documents with candidate amendments are also considered, for the purpose of the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY], to be Working Drafts with those candidate amendments treated as normative.
6.2.6. License Grants from Non-Participants
When a party who is not already obligated under the Patent Policy offers a change in class 3 or 4 (as described in § 6.2.3 Classes of Changes) to a technical report under this process the Team must request a recorded royalty-free patent commitment; for a change in class 4, the Team must secure such commitment. Such commitment should cover, at a minimum, all the party’s Essential Claims both in the contribution, and that become Essential Claims as a result of incorporating the contribution into the draft that existed at the time of the contribution, on the terms specified in the “W3C Royalty-Free (RF) Licensing Requirements” section of the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
6.3. The W3C Recommendation Track
Working Groups create specifications and guidelines to complete the scope of work envisioned by a Working Group's charter. These technical reports undergo cycles of revision and review as they advance towards W3C Recommendation status. Once review suggests the Working Group has met their requirements for a new standard, including wide review, a Candidate Recommendation phase allows the Working Group to formally collect implementation experience to demonstrate that the specification works in practice. At the end of the process, the Advisory Committee reviews the mature technical report, and if there is support from its Membership, W3C publishes it as a Recommendation.
In summary, the W3C Recommendation Track consists of:
- Publication of the First Public Working Draft.
- Publication of zero or more revised Working Drafts.
- Publication of one or more Candidate Recommendations.
- Publication of a Proposed Recommendation.
- Publication as a W3C Recommendation.
This Process defines certain Recommendation Track publications as Patent Review Drafts. Under the 2004 Patent Policy (and its 2017 update) [PATENT-POLICY-2004], these correspond to “Last Call Working Draft” in the Patent Policy; Starting from the 2020 Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY-2020], these correspond to “Patent Review Draft” in the Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
W3C may end work on a technical report at any time.
As described in § 6.3.3 Advancement on the Recommendation Track, the Team will decline a request to advance in maturity stage and return the specification to a Working Group for further work if it determines that the requirements for advancement have not been met.
6.3.1. Maturity Stages on the Recommendation Track
- Working Draft (WD)
A Working Draft is a document that W3C has published on the W3C’s Technical Reports page [TR] for review by the community (including W3C Members), the public,
and other technical organizations,
and for simple historical reference.
Some, but not all, Working Drafts are meant to advance to Recommendation;
see the document status section of a Working Draft
for the group’s expectations. Working Drafts do not necessarily represent a consensus of the Working Group with respect to their content,
and do not imply any endorsement by W3C
or its members beyond agreement to work on a general area of technology.
Nevertheless the Working Group decided to adopt the Working Draft as the basis for their work at the time of adoption.
A Working Draft is suitable for gathering wide review prior to advancing to the next stage of maturity.
For all Working Drafts a Working Group:
- should document outstanding issues, and parts of the document on which the Working Group does not have consensus, and
- may request publication of a Working Draft even if its content is considered unstable and does not meet all Working Group requirements.
The first Working Draft of a technical report is called the First Public Working Draft (FPWD), and has patent implications as defined in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
- Candidate Recommendation (CR)
A Candidate Recommendation is a document that satisfies the technical
requirements of the Working Group that produced it and their dependencies,
and has already received wide review.
W3C publishes a Candidate Recommendation to
- signal to the wider community that it is time to do a final review
- gather implementation experience
Note: Advancing to Candidate Recommendation indicates that the document is considered complete and fit for purpose, and that no further refinement to the text is expected without additional implementation experience and testing; additional features in a later revision may however be expected. A Candidate Recommendation is expected to be as well-written, detailed, self-consistent, and technically complete as a Recommendation, and acceptable as such if and when the requirements for further advancement are met.
Candidate Recommendation publications take one of two forms:
- Candidate Recommendation Snapshot (CRS)
A Candidate Recommendation Snapshot
corresponds to a Patent Review Draft as used in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
Publishing a Patent Review Draft triggers a Call for Exclusions,
per “Exclusion From W3C RF Licensing Requirements”
in the W3C Patent Policy.
Publication as a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot requires verification of either a Transition Request (for the first Candidate Recommendation publication from another maturity stage) or an Update Request (for subsequent Candidate Recommendation Snapshots).
- Candidate Recommendation Draft (CRD)
A Candidate Recommendation Draft
is published on the W3C’s Technical Reports page [TR] to integrate changes from the previous Candidate Recommendation Snapshot that the Working Group intends to include
in a subsequent Candidate Recommendation Snapshot.
This allows for wider review of the changes
and for ease of reference to the integrated specification.
Any changes published directly into a Candidate Recommendation Draft should be at the same level of quality as a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot. However, the process requirements are minimized so that the Working Group can easily keep the specification up to date.
A Candidate Recommendation Draft does not provide an exclusion opportunity; instead, it is considered a Working Draft for the purpose of the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
A Rescinded Candidate Recommendation is a Candidate Recommendation in which significant problems have been discovered such that W3C cannot endorse it or continue work on it, for example due to burdensome patent claims that affect implementers and cannot be resolved (see the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] and in particular “PAG Conclusion”). There is no path to restoration for a Rescinded Candidate Recommendation. See “W3C Royalty-Free (RF) Licensing Requirements” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] for implication on patent licensing obligations.
- Proposed Recommendation (PR)
- A Proposed Recommendation is a document that has been accepted by W3C as of sufficient quality to become a W3C Recommendation. This phase triggers formal review by the Advisory Committee, who may recommend that the document be published as a W3C Recommendation, returned to the Working Group for further work, or abandoned. Substantive changes must not be made to a Proposed Recommendation except by publishing a new Working Draft or Candidate Recommendation.
- W3C Recommendation (REC)
A W3C Recommendation is a specification
or set of guidelines
or requirements that,
after extensive consensus-building,
has received the endorsement of W3C and its Members.
W3C recommends the wide deployment
of its Recommendations as standards for the Web.
The W3C Royalty-Free IPR licenses
granted under the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] apply to W3C Recommendations.
As technology evolves,
a W3C Recommendation may become:
- A Superseded Recommendation
A Superseded Recommendation is a specification
that has been replaced by a newer version
that W3C recommends for new adoption.
An Obsolete or Superseded specification
has the same status as a W3C Recommendation with regards to W3C Royalty-Free IPR Licenses granted under the Patent Policy.
Note: When a Technical Report which had previously been published as a Recommendation is again published as a Recommendation after following the necessary steps to revise it, the latest version replaces the previous one, without the need to invoke the steps of § 220.127.116.11 Abandoning a W3C Recommendation: it is the same document, updated. Explicitly declaring a documented superseded, using the process documented in § 18.104.22.168 Abandoning a W3C Recommendation, is intended for cases where a Recommendation is superseded by a separate Technical Report (or by a document managed outside of W3C).
- An Obsolete Recommendation
- An Obsolete Recommendation is a specification that W3C has determined lacks sufficient market relevance to continue recommending it for implementation, but which does not have fundamental problems that would require it to be Rescinded. If an Obsolete specification gains sufficient market relevance, W3C may decide to restore it to Recommendation status.
- Rescinded Recommendation
- A Rescinded Recommendation is an entire Recommendation that W3C no longer endorses, and believes is unlikely to ever be restored to Recommendation status. See also “W3C Royalty-Free (RF) Licensing Requirements” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
- Discontinued Draft
- A technical report representing the state of a Recommendation-track document at the point at which work on it was discontinued. See § 22.214.171.124 Abandoning an Unfinished Recommendation.
Only sufficiently technically mature work should be advanced.
Note: Should faster advancement to meet scheduling considerations be desired, this can be achieved by reducing the scope of the technical report to a subset that is adequately mature and deferring less stable features to other technical reports.
When publishing an updated version of an existing Candidate Recommendation or Recommendation, technical reports are expected to meet the same maturity criteria as when they are first published under that status. However, in the interest of replacing stale documents with improved ones in a timely manner, if flaws have been discovered in the technical report after its initial publication as a CR or REC that would have been severe enough to reject that publication had they be known in time, it is also permissible to publish an updated CR or REC following the usual process, even if only some of these flaws have been satisfactorily addressed.
Working Groups and Interest Groups may make available Editor’s drafts. Editor’s drafts (ED) have no official standing whatsoever, and do not necessarily imply consensus of a Working Group or Interest Group, nor are their contents endorsed in any way by W3C.
6.3.2. Implementation Experience
Implementation experience is required to show that a specification is sufficiently clear, complete, and relevant to market needs, to ensure that independent interoperable implementations of each feature of the specification will be realized. While no exhaustive list of requirements is provided here, when assessing that there is adequate implementation experience the Team will consider (though not be limited to):
- is each feature of the current specification implemented, and how is this demonstrated?
- are there independent interoperable implementations of the current specification?
- are there implementations created by people other than the authors of the specification?
- are implementations publicly deployed?
- is there implementation experience at all levels of the specification’s ecosystem (authoring, consuming, publishing…)?
- are there reports of difficulties or problems with implementation?
Planning and accomplishing a demonstration of (interoperable) implementations can be very time consuming. Groups are often able to work more effectively if they plan how they will demonstrate interoperable implementations early in the development process; for example, developing tests in concert with implementation efforts.
6.3.3. Advancement on the Recommendation Track
For all requests to advance a specification to a new maturity stage (called Transition Requests), the Working Group:
- must record the group’s decision to request advancement.
- must obtain Team verification. Team verification (a Team decision) must be withheld if any Process requirements are not met or if there remain any unresolved Formal Objections (including any upheld by a Council but not yet fully addressed), or if the document does not adequately reflect all relevant decisions of the W3C Council (or its delegates). If the Team rejects a Transition Request it must indicate its rationale to the Advisory Committee and the Working Group.
- must publicly document all new features (class 4 changes) to the technical report since the previous publication.
- must publicly document if other substantive changes (class 3 changes) have been made, and should document the details of such changes.
- should publicly document if editorial changes have been made, and may document the details of such changes.
- must formally address all issues raised about the document since the previous maturity stage.
- must provide public documentation of any Formal Objections.
- should report which, if any, of the Working Group's requirements for this document have changed since the previous step.
- should report any changes in dependencies with other groups.
- should provide information about implementations known to the Working Group.
For a First Public Working Draft there is no “previous maturity stage”, so many requirements do not apply, and verification is normally fairly straightforward. For later stages, especially transition to Candidate or Proposed Recommendation, there is usually a formal review meeting to verify that the requirements have been met.
Transition Requests to First Public Working Draft or Candidate Recommendation will not normally be approved while a Working Group's charter is undergoing or awaiting a decision on an Advisory Committee Review.
6.3.4. Updating Mature Publications on the Recommendation Track
Certain requests to re-publish a specification within its current maturity stage (called Update Requests) require extra verification. For such update requests, the Working Group:
- must record the group’s decision to request the update.
- must show that the changes have received wide review.
- must obtain Team verification, or fulfill the criteria for § 126.96.36.199 Streamlined Publication Approval. Team verification (a Team decision), should be withheld if any Process requirements are not met, and may be withheld in consideration of unresolved Formal Objections (including any upheld by a Council but not yet fully addressed) or if the document does not adequately reflect all relevant decisions of the W3C Council (or its delegates). If the Team rejects an Update Request, it must indicate its rationale to the Working Group. If it waives any Process requirements, it must indicate its rationale to the AC.
- must provide public documentation of any Formal Objections.
- must publicly document of all new features (class 4 changes) to the technical report since the previous publication.
- must publicly document if other substantive changes (class 3 changes) have been made, and should document the details of such changes.
- should publicly document if editorial changes changes have been made, and may document the details of such changes.
- must show that the revised specification meets all Working Group requirements, or explain why the requirements have changed or been deferred,
- should report which, if any, of the Working Group's requirements for this document have changed since the previous step.
- should report any changes in dependencies with other groups.
- should provide information about implementations known to the Working Group.
There is usually a formal review meeting to verify that the requirements have been met.
Note: Update request verification is expected to be fairly simple compared to verification of a transition request.
The Team must announce the publication of the revised specification to other W3C groups and the Public.
188.8.131.52. Streamlined Publication Approval
Note: These criteria are intentionally stricter than the general requirements for an update request. This is in order to minimize ambiguities and the need for expert judgment, and to make self-evaluation practical.
In order to streamline the publication process in non-controversial cases, verification of an update request is automatically granted without formal review when the following additional criteria are fulfilled:
- There must have been no changes to Working Group requirements about this document.
- For each of the W3C Horizontal Groups [CHARTER], if the Horizontal Review Group has made available a set criteria under which their review is not necessary, the Working Group must document that these criteria have been fulfilled. Otherwise, the Working Group must show that review from that group has been solicited and received.
- No Formal Objection has been registered against the document.
The Working Group must have formally addressed:
all issues raised against the document that resulted in changes since the previous publication
all issues raised against changes since the previous publication
all issues raised against the document that were closed since the previous publication with no change to the document
The response to each of these issues must be to the satisfaction of the person who raised it: their proposal has been accepted, or a compromise has been found, or they accepted the Working Group’s rationale for rejecting it.
Note: This is stricter than the general Transition Request criteria.
Additionally, for updates to Recommendations with substantive changes or with new features:
- Changes to the document are limited to proposed corrections that were included in a Last Call for Review of Proposed Corrections possibly combined with class 1 or 2 changes, and/or (in the case of a Recommendation that allows new features) proposed additions that were included in a Last Call for Review of Proposed Additions.
The Working Group must show
that all changes have been implemented in at least 2 distinct products by 2 different implementers,
as evidenced by passing tests of a test suite
providing extensive coverage of the changes,
or an alternative streamlined verification implementation requirement
described in the working Group charter has been met.
Note: This is stricter than the general criteria for adequate implementation experience.
The Working Group must provide written evidence for these claims, and the Team must make these answers publicly and permanently available.
After publication, if an AC Representative or Team member doubts that the evidence presented supports the claims, they may request that a formal review meeting be convened post facto. If that review finds that the requirements were not fulfilled, the Team may revert the changes by updating in place the status section to indicate that it has been reverted, and by republishing the previously approved version of the technical report.
6.3.5. Publishing a First Public Working Draft
To publish the First Public Working Draft of a document, a Working Group must meet the applicable requirements for advancement.
The Team must announce the publication of a First Public Working Draft to other W3C groups and to the public.
6.3.6. Revising a Working Draft
A Working Group should publish a Working Draft to the W3C Technical Reports page when there have been significant changes to the previous published document that would benefit from review beyond the Working Group.
If 6 months elapse without significant changes to a specification, a Working Group should publish a revised Working Draft, whose status section should indicate reasons for the lack of change.
To publish a revision of a Working draft, a Working Group:
- must record the group’s decision to request publication. Consensus is not required, as this is a procedural step,
- must provide public documentation of substantive changes to the technical report since the previous Working Draft,
- should provide public documentation of significant editorial changes to the technical report since the previous step,
- should report which, if any, of the Working Group’s requirements for this document have changed since the previous step,
- should report any changes in dependencies with other groups,
Possible next steps for any Working Draft:
6.3.7. Transitioning to Candidate Recommendation
To publish a Candidate Recommendation, in addition to meeting the requirements for advancement a Working Group:
- must show that the specification has met all Working Group requirements, or explain why the requirements have changed or been deferred,
- must document changes to dependencies during the development of the specification,
- must document how adequate implementation experience will be demonstrated,
- must specify the deadline for comments, delineating the Candidate Recommendation review period, which must be at least 28 days after publication, and should be longer for complex documents,
- must show that the specification has received wide review, and
- may identify features in the document as at risk. These features may be removed before advancement to Proposed Recommendation without a requirement to publish a new Candidate Recommendation.
The first Candidate Recommendation publication after verification of having met the requirements for a Transition Request is always a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot. The Team must announce the publication of the Candidate Recommendation Snapshot to other W3C groups and to the public.
Possible next steps after a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot:
- Return to Working Draft
- A revised Candidate Recommendation Snapshot
- A revised Candidate Recommendation Draft
- Proposed Recommendation
- Discontinued Draft
Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the decision to advance the technical report.
6.3.8. Revising a Candidate Recommendation
184.108.40.206. Publishing a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot
If there are any substantive changes made to a Candidate Recommendation since the previous Candidate Recommendation Snapshot other than to remove features explicitly identified as at risk, the Working Group must meet the requirements of an update request in order to republish.
In addition the Working Group:
- must specify the deadline for further comments, which must be at least 28 days after publication, and should be longer for complex documents,
- may identify features in the document as at risk. These features may be removed before advancement to Proposed Recommendation without a requirement to publish a new Candidate Recommendation.
The Team must announce the publication of a revised Candidate Recommendation Snapshot to other W3C groups and to the public.
To provide timely updates and patent protection, a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot should be published within 24 months of the Working Group accepting any proposal for a substantive change (and preferably sooner). To make scheduling reviews easier, a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot should not be published more often than approximately once every 6 months.
Note: Substantive changes trigger a new Exclusion Opportunity per “Exclusion From W3C RF Licensing Requirements” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
220.127.116.11. Publishing a Candidate Recommendation Draft
A Working Group should publish an Update Draft to the W3C Technical Reports page when there have been significant changes to the previous published document that would benefit from review beyond the Working Group.
To publish a revision of a Candidate Recommendation Draft, a Working Group:
- must record the group’s decision to request publication,
- must provide public documentation of substantive changes to the technical report since the previous Candidate Recommendation Snapshot,
- should provide public documentation of significant editorial changes to the technical report since the previous Candidate Recommendation Snapshot,
- should document outstanding issues, and parts of the document on which the Working Group does not have consensus,
- should report which, if any, of the Working Group’s requirements for this document have changed since the previous step,
- should report any changes in dependencies with other groups.
Note: A Working Group does not need to meet the requirements of a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot update request in order to publish a Candidate Recommendation Draft.
Possible next steps after a Candidate Recommendation Draft:
- Return to Working Draft
- A revised Candidate Recommendation Snapshot
- A revised Candidate Recommendation Draft
- Proposed Recommendation, if there are no substantive change other than dropping at risk features
- Discontinued Draft
6.3.9. Transitioning to Proposed Recommendation
In addition to meeting the requirements for advancement,
- The status information must specify the deadline for Advisory Committee review, which must be at least 28 days after the publication of the Proposed Recommendation and should be at least 10 days after the end of the last Exclusion Opportunity per ”Exclusion From W3C RF Licensing Requirements” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
A Working Group:
- must show adequate implementation experience except where an exception is approved by a Team Decision,
- must show that the document has received wide review,
- must show that all issues raised during the Candidate Recommendation review period have been formally addressed,
- must identify any substantive issues raised since the close of the Candidate Recommendation review period,
- must not have made any substantive changes to the document since the most recent Candidate Recommendation Snapshot, other than dropping features identified at risk.
- may have removed features identified in the Candidate Recommendation Snapshot document as at risk without republishing the specification as a Candidate Recommendation Snapshot.
- must announce the publication of a Proposed Recommendation to the Advisory Committee, and must begin an Advisory Committee Review on the question of whether the specification is appropriate to publish as a W3C Recommendation.
- may approve a Proposed Recommendation with minimal implementation experience where there is a compelling reason to do so. In such a case, the Team must explain the reasons for that decision, and that information must be included in the Call for Review proposing advancement to W3C Recommendation.
Since a W3C Recommendation must not include any substantive changes from the Proposed Recommendation it is based on, to make any substantive change to a Proposed Recommendation the Working Group must return the specification to Candidate Recommendation or Working Draft.
A Proposed Recommendation may identify itself as intending to allow new features (class 4 changes) after its initial publication as a Recommendation, as described in § 18.104.22.168 Revising a Recommendation: New Features. Such an allowance cannot be added to a technical report previously published as a Recommendation that did not allow such changes.
Possible Next Steps:
- Return to Working Draft
- Return to Candidate Recommendation
- Recommendation status, (the expected next step).
- Discontinued Draft
Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the decision to advance the technical report.
6.3.10. Transitioning to W3C Recommendation
The decision to advance a document to Recommendation is a W3C Decision.
In addition to meeting the requirements for advancement,
- A Recommendation must identify where errata are tracked, and
- A Recommendation must not include any substantive changes from the Proposed Recommendation on which it is based.
- If there was any dissent in Advisory Committee reviews, the Team must publish the substantive content of the dissent to W3C and the general public, and must formally address the comment at least 14 days before publication as a W3C Recommendation.
- Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the W3C decision
- The Team must announce the publication of a W3C Recommendation to Advisory Committee, other W3C groups and to the public.
Possible next steps: A W3C Recommendation normally retains its status indefinitely. However it may be:
- republished as a revised Recommendation, or
- republished as a Candidate Recommendation to be developed towards a revised Recommendation, or
- declared superseded or obsolete, or
6.3.11. Revising a W3C Recommendation
This section details the process for making changes to a Recommendation.
22.214.171.124. Revising a Recommendation: Markup Changes
A Working group may request republication of a Recommendation to make corrections that do not result in any changes to the text of the specification. (See class 1 changes.)
If there is no Working Group chartered to maintain a Recommendation, the Team may republish the Recommendation with such changes incorporated.
126.96.36.199. Revising a Recommendation: Editorial Changes
Editorial changes to a Recommendation require no technical review of the intended changes. A Working Group, provided there are no votes against the decision to publish, may request publication of a Recommendation to make this class of change without passing through earlier maturity stages. (See class 2 changes.)
If there is no Working Group chartered to maintain a Recommendation, the Team may republish the Recommendation with such changes incorporated, including errata and Team corrections.
188.8.131.52. Revising a Recommendation: Substantive Changes
A candidate correction can be made normative and be folded into the main text of the Recommendation, once it has satisfied all the same criteria as the rest of the Recommendation, including review by the community to ensure the technical and editorial soundness of the candidate amendments. To validate this, the Working Group must request a Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments, followed by an update request. See § 184.108.40.206 Incorporating Candidate Amendments.
a Working Group may incorporate the changes
and publish as a Working Draft—
Note: If there is no Working Group chartered to maintain a Recommendation the Team cannot make substantive changes and republish the Recommendation. It can, however, informatively highlight problems and desirable changes using errata and candidate corrections and republish as described in the previous section.
220.127.116.11. Revising a Recommendation: New Features
New features (see class 4 changes) may be incorporated into a Recommendation explicitly identified as allowing new features using candidate additions. A candidate addition can be made normative and be folded into the main text of the Recommendation using the same process as for candidate amendments, as detailed in § 18.104.22.168 Revising a Recommendation: Substantive Changes.
Note: This prohibition against new features unless explicitly allowed enables third parties to depend on Recommendations having a stable feature-set, as they have prior to the 2020 revision of this Process.
To make changes which introduce a new feature to a Recommendation that does not allow new features, W3C must create a new technical report, following the full process of advancing a technical report to Recommendation beginning with a new First Public Working Draft.
22.214.171.124. Incorporating Candidate Amendments
A Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments verifies acceptance by the W3C community of candidate amendments by combining an AC Review with a patent exclusion opportunity.
The Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments must be announced to other W3C groups, the public, and the Advisory Committee. The announcement must:
- Identify whether this is a Last Call for Review of Proposed Corrections, Last Call for Review of Proposed Additions, or Last Call for Review of Proposed Corrections and Additions.
- Identify the specific candidate amendments under review as proposed amendments (proposed corrections/proposed additions).
- Specify the deadline for review comments, which must not be any sooner than 60 days from the Call for Review.
- Solicit review and, if it does not already have it, implementation experience.
The combination of the existing Recommendation with the proposed amendments included in the Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments is considered a Patent Review Draft for the purposes of the Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY]. Also, the review initiated by the Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments is an Advisory Committee Review.
Note: Last Call for Review of Proposed Additions and Last Call for Review of Proposed Corrections and Additions can only be issued for Recommendations that allow new features.
A Working Group may batch multiple proposed amendments into a single Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments. To facilitate review, a Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments on a given specification should not be issued more frequently than approximately once every 6 months.
At the end of the Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments, the W3C Decision may either be to reject the proposed amendment, or to clear the proposed amendment for advancement as is, or to return the proposal to the Working Group with a request to formally address comments made on the changes under review. If the Working Group needs to amend a proposed amendment in response to review feedback it must issue another Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments on the revised change before it can be incorporated into the main text.
Once all comments on a proposed amendment have been formally addressed, and after the Working Group can show adequate implementation experience and the fulfillment of all other requirements of Recommendation text, it may incorporate the proposed amendment into the normative Recommendation by issuing an update request for publication of the updated Recommendation.
To ensure adequate review of proposed amendment combinations, only proposed amendments included in the most recent Last Call for Review of Proposed Amendments can be incorporated into the normative Recommendation text. (Thus if incorporation of a proposed amendment is postponed, it may need to be included in multiple Last Calls for Review of Proposed Amendments.)
6.3.12. Regression on the Recommendation Track
A Working Group may republish a Recommendation-track technical report at a lower maturity stage by fulfilling the requirements to transition to that maturity stage, as described above.
Additionally, with the approval of the TAG and the AB the Team may return the technical report to a lower maturity stage in response to wide review or a formal objection.
6.3.13. Retiring Recommendation Track Documents
Work on a technical report may cease at any time. Work should cease if W3C or a Working Group determines that it cannot productively carry the work any further.
126.96.36.199. Abandoning an Unfinished Recommendation
Any Recommendation-track technical report no longer intended to advance or to be maintained, and that is not being rescinded, should be published as a Discontinued Draft, with no substantive change compared to the previous publication. This can happen if the Working Group decided to abandon work on the report, or as the result of an AC Review requiring the Working Group to discontinue work on the technical report before completion. If a Working Group is made to close, W3C must re-publish any unfinished technical report on the Recommendation track as Discontinued Draft.
Such a document should include in its status section an explanation of why it was discontinued.
A Working Group may resume work on such a technical report within the scope of its charter at any time, by re-publishing it as a Working Draft.
188.8.131.52. Rescinding a Candidate Recommendation
The process for rescinding a Candidate Recommendation is the same as for rescinding a Recommendation.
184.108.40.206. Abandoning a W3C Recommendation
It is possible that W3C decides that implementing a particular Recommendation is no longer recommended. There are three designations for such specifications, chosen depending on the advice W3C wishes to give about further use of the specification.
W3C may obsolete a Recommendation, for example if the W3C Community decides that the Recommendation no longer represents best practices, or is not adopted and is not apparently likely to be adopted. An Obsolete Recommendation may be restored to normal Recommendation, for example because despite marking it Obsolete the specification is later more broadly adopted.
W3C may declare a Recommendation Superseded if a newer version exists which W3C recommends for new adoption. The process for declaring a Recommendation Superseded is the same as for declaring it Obsolete, below; only the name and explanation change.
W3C may rescind a Recommendation if W3C believes there is no reasonable prospect of it being restored for example due to burdensome patent claims that affect implementers and cannot be resolved; see the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] and in particular “W3C Royalty-Free (RF) Licensing Requirements” and “PAG Conclusion”.
W3C only rescinds, supersedes, or obsoletes entire Recommendations. A Recommendation can be both superseded and obsolete. To rescind, supersede, or obsolete some part of a Recommendation, W3C follows the process for modifying a Recommendation.
Note: For the purposes of the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] an Obsolete or Superseded Recommendation has the status of an active Recommendation, although it is not recommended for future implementation; a Rescinded Recommendation ceases to be in effect and no new licenses are granted under the Patent Policy.
220.127.116.11. Process for Rescinding, Obsoleting, Superseding, Restoring a Recommendation
The process of rescinding, obsoleting, superseding, or restoring a Recommendation can be initiated either by a request from the Team or via a request from any of the following:
- The Working Group who produced, or is chartered to maintain, the Recommendation
- The TAG, if there is no such Working Group
- Any individual who made a request to the relevant Working Group as described above, or the TAG if such a group does not exist, to obsolete, rescind, supersede, or restore a Recommendation, where the request was not answered within 90 days
- 5% of the members of the Advisory Committee
The Team must then submit the request to the Advisory Committee for review. For any Advisory Committee review of a proposal to rescind, obsolete, supersede, or restore a Recommendation the Team must:
- announce the proposal to all Working Group Chairs, and to the Public, as well as to the Advisory Committee
- indicate that this is a proposal to Rescind, Obsolete, Supersede, or restore, a Recommendation as appropriate
- identify the Recommendation by URL
- publish a rationale for the proposal
- identify known dependencies and solicit review from all dependent Working Groups
- solicit public review
- specify the deadline for review comments, which must be at least 28 days after the announcement
- identify known implementations.
If there was any dissent in the Advisory Committee review, the Team must publish the substantive content of the dissent to W3C and the public, and must formally address the dissent at least 14 days before publication as an Obsolete or Rescinded Recommendation.
The Advisory Committee may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the Team's decision.
W3C must publish an Obsolete or Rescinded Recommendation with up to date status. The updated version may remove the main body of the document. The Status of this Document section should link to the explanation of Obsoleting and Rescinding W3C Specifications [OBS-RESC] as appropriate.
Once W3C has published a Rescinded Recommendation, future W3C technical reports must not include normative references to that technical report.
Note: W3C strives to ensure that all Technical Reports will continue to be available at their version-specific URL.
6.4. The Note Track (Notes and Statements)
6.4.1. Group Notes
A Group Note (NOTE) is published to provide a stable reference for a useful document that is not intended to be a formal standard.
Working Groups, Interest Groups, the TAG and the AB may publish work as Notes. Examples include:
- supporting documentation for a specification, such as explanations of design principles or use cases and requirements
- non-normative guides to good practices
Some Notes are developed through successive Draft Notes before publication as a full Notes, while others are published directly as a Note. There are few formal requirements to publish a document as a Note or Draft Note, and they have no standing as a recommendation of W3C but are simply documents preserved for historical reference.
Note: The W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] does not apply any licensing requirements or commitments for Notes or Draft Notes.
6.4.2. Publishing Notes
In order to publish a Note or Draft Note, the group:
- must record their decision to request publication as a Note or Draft Note, and
- should publish documentation of significant changes to the technical report since any previous publication.
Both Notes and Draft Notes can be updated by republishing as a Note or Draft Note. A technical report may remain a Note indefinitely.
If a Note produced by a chartered group is no longer in scope for any group, the Team may republish the Note with class 1 changes incorporated, as well as with errata and Team corrections annotated.
6.4.3. Elevating Group Notes to W3C Statement status
A W3C Statement is a Note that has been endorsed by W3C as a whole. In order to elevate a Note to W3C Statement status, A group must:
- show that the document has received wide review.
- record the group’s decision to request publication as a W3C Statement.
- show that all issues raised against the document since its first publication as a Note have been formally addressed.
- provide public documentation of any Formal Objections.
A Note specifying implementable technology should not be elevated to W3C Statement status; if it does, the request to publish as a Statement must include rationale for why it should be elevated, and why it is not on the Recommendation track.
Once these conditions are fulfilled, the Team must then begin an Advisory Committee Review on the question of whether the document is appropriate to publish as a W3C Statement. During this review period, the Note must not be updated.
The decision to advance a document to W3C Statement is a W3C Decision. Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the decision.
The Team must announce the publication of a W3C Statement to the Advisory Committee, other W3C groups, and the public.
6.4.4. Revising W3C Statements
Given a recorded group decision to do so,
groups can request publication of a W3C Statement with editorial changes—
A candidate amendment can be folded into the main text of the W3C Statement, once it has satisfied all the same criteria as the rest of the Statement, including review by the community to ensure the substantive and editorial soundness of the candidate amendments. To validate this, the group must request an Advisory Committee review of the changes it wishes to incorporate. The specific candidate amendments under review must be identified as proposed amendments just as in a Last Call for Review of Proposed Corrections.
The decision to incorporate proposed amendments into W3C Statement is a W3C Decision. Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the decision.
6.5. The Registry Track
A registry documents a data set consisting of one or more associated registry tables, each table representing an updatable collection of logically independent, consistently-structured registry entries. A registry has three associated components:
- the registry definition, defining how the registry tables are structured and maintained
- one or more registry tables, holding the data set represented by the registry (the registry data)
- one or more referencing specifications, which make use of the registry
The purposes of maintaining a registry can include:
- Avoiding the problem of two entities using the same value with different semantics.
- Avoiding the problem of having two or more different values in use with the same semantics.
- Providing a central index where anyone can find out what a value means and what its formal definition is (and where it is).
- Ease of adding new terms, including by stakeholders external to the custodian organization.
- Promoting a clear consensus of the community on the terms.
This section of the W3C Process provides a specialized process facilitating the publication and maintenance of such registry tables, particularly those required by or closely related to W3C Recommendations.
Note: Not every table in a specification is a potential registry. If the intent or effect is that the table enumerates all the possibilities the authors of the specification expect or envisage, then the table by itself is enough. Similarly, if the table is managed by the Working Group and only updated as part of specification update, then the complexities of registry management are not needed.
6.5.1. Registry Definitions
A registry definition defines what each registry table is and how it is maintained. It must:
- Define the scope and purpose of each registry table.
- Define the fields of each registry table and their constraints (e.g. values must be drawn from a defined set, or be unique, or only reference publicly available resources, etc.)
Define the policy for changes to existing entries, such as
- whether entries can be deleted or deprecated
- whether entries can be changed after being published, and what kinds of changes are allowed
- whether previously-deleted unique identifiers can be re-used, or are reserved indefinitely
- Define the method and criteria by which changes are proposed, approved, and incorporated. (For example, a registry could define that changes to registry entries can be proposed using a particular web form or email address, that they must be accompanied by certain background information, or that they do or do not need to be approved by any member of a particular Working Group.)
- Identify the custodian of the registry table: the entity to which requests for registry changes must be sent, and which is responsible for evaluating whether such requests satisfy the criteria defined in the registry definition.
6.5.2. Publishing Registries
Registries can be published either as a stand-alone technical report on the Registry Track called a registry report, or incorporated as part of a Recommendation as a registry section.
A registry report or registry section is purely documentational, is not subject to the W3C Patent Policy, and must not contain any requirements on implementations. For the purposes of the Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY], any registry section in a Recommendation track document is not a normative portion of that specification.
The registry report or registry section must:
- Clearly label the registry report/section, its tables, and its registry definitions as such, including a link to § 6.5 The Registry Track in this Process.
- Include the registry definition for each of its registry tables.
Provide the registry data by either:
- Including the entire contents of each registry table, either inline in the report (e.g. formatted as a table, or list, or other appropriate representation), or in a machine-readable file published as part of the technical report, or (preferably) both.
- Linking to one or more standalone Registry Data Reports containing the registry tables in human-readable form, machine-readable form, or (preferably) both.
- Include, if the registry table is provided in a machine-readable file, a definition of the format of that file.
The Team must make available a means for interested parties to be notified of any updates to a registry table.
Note: Since the Process does not impose requirements on changes to the contents of a registry table other than those imposed by the registry definition, acceptance of proposed registry changes on behalf of the custodian and publication of an updated registry report that contains only registry changes since the previous publication can be automated if satisfaction of those rules can be automatically verified.
Rules for publication and advancement on the Registry Track are identical to that of the Recommendation Track with the following exceptions:
- Registry reports are not subject to the [PATENT-POLICY], and therefore none of their publications correspond, to First Public Working Draft, Working Draft, or Patent Review Draft for the purposes of the [PATENT-POLICY].
- For the same reason, there is no equivalent to Rescinded Recommendation nor to Rescinded Candidate Recommendation for Registries.
- The equivalent of Working Draft is called Draft Registry.
- The equivalent of Candidate Recommendation is called Candidate Registry, with Candidate Recommendation Snapshot and Candidate Recommendation Draft corresponding to Candidate Registry Snapshot and Candidate Registry Draft.
- The equivalent of W3C Recommendation is called W3C Registry; Obsolete Recommendation and Superseded Recommendation correspond to Obsolete Registry and Superseded Registry.
- There is no equivalent to the Proposed Recommendation phase. Instead, an Advisory Committee Review is started upon publication of each Candidate Registry Snapshot.
- Changes that add new features (i.e. class 4 changes) are allowed in all W3C Registries, without needing the to explicitly indicate that this is allowed.
6.5.3. Updating Registry Tables
Changes to the contents of a registry table that are in accordance with the registry definition, (i.e. Class 5 changes) can be made by re-publishing the technical report that contains the affected table, without needing to satisfy any other requirements for the publication (not even Working Group consensus, unless this is required by the registry definition). Such registry changes do not trigger new Advisory Committee Reviews, nor Exclusion Opportunities, and do not require verification via an update request, even for technical reports at maturities where this would normally be expected. Such publications can be made even in the absence of a Working Group chartered to maintain the registry when the custodian is another entity.
Note: The custodian is only empowered to make registry changes.
If the Working Group establishing the registry wishes
to empower the custodian to add commentary on individual entries,
this needs to be part of the registry table’s definition.
If other changes are desired,
they must be requested of the responsible Working Group—
Changes to the registry tables made in accordance with candidate or proposed amendments to the registry definition which would not be allowed by the unamended registry definition must be identified as such.
6.5.4. Registry Data Reports
When the registry data is published in a separate technical report from its registry definition, that report is called a Registry Data Report. This technical report:
- Must link to the registry definition establishing the registry tables that it contain.
- May contain informative introductory text, examples, and notes about the registry tables and entries that it contains. (Changes to these parts are deemed to be editorial changes).
Registry Data Reports do not have maturity stages in and of themselves; The maturity stage of the registry whose data they record is that of the technical report holding the registry definition.
Anytime a change is made to a registry definition, the Working Group must update and republish any document holding the corresponding registry tables to make it consistent with these changes.
Given a recorded group decision to do so, the Working Group may republish the Registry Data Report to incorporate editorial changes. If there is no Working Group chartered to maintain this registry, the Team may do so instead.
6.5.5. Specifications that Reference Registries
Registries document values, they do not define any architectural or interoperability requirements related to those values. All architectural and interoperability requirements pertaining to registry entries must be contained in the specifications that reference the registry, and are therefore subject to the processes (including approval and intellectual property provisions) applicable to those referencing specifications.
If there are entries that must be implemented, or any other such restrictions, they must be defined or documented in the referencing specification without dependency on the registry.
Basic-Methodas defined in the registry” is not acceptable; a change to the definition of the
Basic-Methodin the registry would then affect conformance. Instead, the requirement must be complete in the specification, directly or by reference to another specification. For example “All implementations must recognize the name
Basic-Method, and implement it as defined by section yy of IETF RFC xxxx”. (The Registry should nonetheless contain Basic-Method as an entry.)
6.6. Switching Tracks
Given a Group decision to do so, Working Groups can republish a technical report on a different track than the one it is on, under the following restrictions:
- A technical report that is or was a W3C Recommendation, W3C Statement, or Patent Review Draft cannot switch tracks.
- A technical report should not switch away from the Recommendation Track without due consideration of the Patent Policy implications and approval of W3C’s legal counsel if the Working Group envisions a likelihood of returning to it later.
Technical reports that switch tracks start at their new track’s initial maturity stage, while retaining any established identity (url, shortname, etc.).
6.7. Further reading
Refer to "How to Organize a Recommendation Track Transition" [TRANSITION] in the Art of Consensus [GUIDE] for practical information about preparing for the reviews and announcements of the various steps, and tips on getting to Recommendation faster [REC-TIPS]. Please see also the Requirements for modification of W3C Technical Reports [REPUBLISHING].
7. Dissemination Policies
7.1. Public Communication
The Team is responsible for managing communication within W3C and with the general public (e.g., news services, press releases, managing the website and access privileges, and managing calendars). Members should solicit review by the Team prior to issuing press releases about their work within W3C.
The Team makes every effort to ensure the persistence and availability of the following public information:
- W3C technical reports whose publication has been approved. Per W3C IPR Policies, W3C technical reports (and software) are available free of charge to the general public.
- A mission statement [MISSION] that explains the purpose and mission of W3C, the key benefits for Members, and the organizational structure of W3C.
- Legal documents, including the Membership Agreement [MEMBER-AGREEMENT] and documentation of any legal commitments W3C has with other entities.
- The Process Document.
- Public results of W3C activities and Workshops.
To keep the Members abreast of W3C meetings, Workshops, and review deadlines, the Team provides them with a regular (e.g., weekly) news service and maintains a calendar [CALENDAR] of official W3C events. Members are encouraged to send schedule and event information to the Team for inclusion on this calendar.
7.2. Confidentiality Levels
There are three principal levels of access to W3C information (on the W3C website, in W3C meetings, etc.): public, Member-only, and Team-only.
While much information made available by W3C is public, “Member-only” information is available to authorized parties only, including representatives of Member organizations, Invited Experts, the Advisory Board, the TAG, and the Team. For example, the charter of some Working Groups may specify a Member-only confidentiality level for group proceedings.
“Team-only” information is available to the Team and other authorized parties.
Those authorized to access Member-only and Team-only information:
- must treat the information as confidential within W3C,
- must use reasonable efforts to maintain the proper level of confidentiality, and
- must not release this information to the general public or press.
The Team must provide mechanisms to protect the confidentiality of Member-only information and ensure that authorized parties have proper access to this information. Documents should clearly indicate whether they require Member-only confidentiality. Individuals uncertain of the confidentiality level of a piece of information should contact the Team.
Advisory Committee representatives may authorize Member-only access to Member representatives and other individuals employed by the Member who are considered appropriate recipients. For instance, it is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee representative and other employees and official representatives of the organization to ensure that Member-only news announcements are distributed for internal use only within their organization. Information about Member mailing lists is available in the New Member Orientation [INTRO].
7.3. Changing Confidentiality Level
As a benefit of membership, W3C provides some Team-only and Member-only channels for certain types of communication. For example, Advisory Committee representatives can send reviews to a Team-only channel. However, for W3C processes with a significant public component, such as the technical report development process, it is also important for information that affects decision-making to be publicly available. The Team may need to communicate Team-only information to a Working Group or the public. Similarly, a Working Group whose proceedings are Member-only must make public information pertinent to the technical report development process.
This document clearly indicates which information must be available to Members or the public, even though that information was initially communicated on Team-only or Member-only channels. Only the Team and parties authorized by the Team may change the level of confidentiality of this information. When doing so:
- The Team must use a version of the information that was expressly provided by the author for the new confidentiality level. In Calls for Review and other similar messages, the Team should remind recipients to provide such alternatives.
- The Team must not attribute the version for the new confidentiality level to the author without the author’s consent.
- If the author has not conveyed to the Team a version that is suitable for another confidentiality level, the Team may make available a version that reasonably communicates what is required, while respecting the original level of confidentiality, and without attribution to the original author.
8. Workshops and Symposia
The Team organizes Workshops and Symposia to promote early involvement in the development of W3C activities from Members and the public.
The goal of a Workshop is usually either to convene experts and other interested parties for an exchange of ideas about a technology or policy, or to address the pressing concerns of W3C Members. Organizers of the first type of Workshop may solicit position papers for the Workshop program and may use those papers to choose attendees and/or presenters.
The goal of a Symposium is usually to educate interested parties about a particular subject.
The Call for Participation in a Workshop or Symposium may indicate participation requirements or limits, and expected deliverables (e.g., reports and minutes). Organization of an event does not guarantee further investment by W3C in a particular topic, but may lead to proposals for new activities or groups.
Workshops and Symposia generally last one to three days. If a Workshop is being organized to address the pressing concerns of Members, the Team must issue the Call for Participation no later than six weeks prior to the Workshop’s scheduled start date. For other Workshops and Symposia, the Team must issue a Call for Participation no later than eight weeks prior to the meeting’s scheduled start date. This helps ensure that speakers and authors have adequate time to prepare position papers and talks.
W3C uses the term liaison to refer to coordination of activities with a variety of organizations, through a number of mechanisms ranging from very informal (e.g., an individual from another organization participates in a W3C Working Group, or just follows its work) to mutual membership, to even more formal agreements. Liaisons are not meant to substitute for W3C membership.
All liaisons must be coordinated by the Team due to requirements for public communication; patent, copyright, and other IPR policies; confidentiality agreements; and mutual membership agreements.
W3C may negotiate technical agreements with another organization. For purposes of the W3C Process, a technical agreement is a formal contract, or a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), or a similar document, between W3C and another party or parties, that relates to the technical activity of the Consortium (e.g., its publications, groups, or liaisons). It specifies rights and obligations of each party toward the others. These rights and obligations may include joint deliverables, an agreed share of technical responsibilities with due coordination, and/or considerations for confidentiality and specific IPR.
Non-technical agreements, including those between W3C and its Members for the purposes of membership, between W3C and its Partners for the purposes of partnership [BYLAWS], and other agreements related to the operation of the Consortium or to the ordinary provision of services, are not subject to these Process provisions.
When considering a technical agreement (i.e., before the decision whether to sign is made), the Team should provide the Advisory Committee with a draft of the proposed agreement, along with an explanation of how W3C would benefit from signing this agreement, for their review and discussion. After addressing any comments, and subject to any management or governance procedures that apply (e.g., formal review of proposed contracts by legal counsel or by the Board), if the Team decides to proceed with signing the agreement, the Team must announce the intent to sign, and provide the final text of the agreement, with an explanation of signing rationale, to the Advisory Committee. Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal of the decision to sign the agreement. If the proposal is rejected on appeal, the Team must not sign the agreement on behalf of W3C unless directed to do so by the Board. A signed agreement should be made public.
Information about W3C liaisons with other organizations [LIAISON] and the guidelines W3C follows when creating a liaison is available on the Web.
10. Member Submission Process
The Member Submission process allows Members to propose technology or other ideas for consideration by the Team. After review, the Team may make the material available at the W3C website. The formal process affords Members a record of their contribution and gives them a mechanism for disclosing the details of the transaction with the Team (including IPR claims). The Team also makes review comments on the Submitted materials available for W3C Members, the public, and the media.
A Member Submission consists of:
- One or more documents developed outside of the W3C process, and
- Information about the documents, provided by the Submitter.
One or more Members (called the Submitter(s)) may participate in a Member Submission. Only W3C Members may be listed as Submitters.
The Submission process consists of the following steps:
- One of the Submitters sends a request to the Team to acknowledge the Submission request. The Team and Submitter(s) communicate to ensure that the Member Submission is complete.
- After review, the Team must either acknowledge or reject the Submission request.
- Documents in a Member Submission are developed outside of the W3C technical report development process (and therefore are not included in the index of W3C technical reports [TR]).
- The Submission process is not a means by which Members ask for “ratification” of these documents as W3C Recommendations.
- There is no requirement or guarantee that technology which is part of an acknowledged Submission request will receive further consideration by W3C (e.g., by a W3C Working Group).
Making a Member Submission available at the W3C website does not imply endorsement by W3C, including the W3C Team or Members. The acknowledgment of a Submission request does not imply that any action will be taken by W3C. It merely records publicly that the Submission request has been made by the Submitter. A Member Submission made available by W3C must not be referred to as “work in progress” of W3C.
The list of acknowledged Member Submissions [SUBMISSION-LIST] is available at the W3C website.
10.1. Submitter Rights and Obligations
When more than one Member jointly participates in a Submission request, only one Member formally sends in the request. That Member must copy each of the Advisory Committee representatives of the other participating Members, and each of those Advisory Committee representatives must confirm (by email to the Team) their participation in the Submission request.
At any time prior to acknowledgment, any Submitter may withdraw support for a Submission request (described in "How to send a Submission request" [SUBMISSION-REQ]). A Submission request is “withdrawn” when no Submitter(s) support it. The Team must not make statements about withdrawn Submission requests.
Prior to acknowledgment, the Submitter(s) must not, under any circumstances, refer to a document as “submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium” or “under consideration by W3C” or any similar phrase either in public or Member communication. The Submitter(s) must not imply in public or Member communication that W3C is working (with the Submitter(s)) on the material in the Member Submission. The Submitter(s) may release the documents in the Member Submission to the public prior to acknowledgment (without reference to the Submission request).
After acknowledgment, the Submitter(s) must not, under any circumstances, imply W3C investment in the Member Submission until, and unless, the material has been adopted as a deliverable of a W3C Working Group.
10.1.1. Scope of Member Submissions
When a technology overlaps in scope with the work of a chartered Working Group, Members should participate in the Working Group and contribute the technology to the group’s process rather than seek publication through the Member Submission process. The Working Group may incorporate the contributed technology into its deliverables. If the Working Group does not incorporate the technology, it should not publish the contributed documents as Working Group Notes since Working Group Notes represent group output, not input to the group.
On the other hand, while W3C is in the early stages of developing a charter, Members should use the Submission process to build consensus around concrete proposals for new work.
Members should not submit materials covering topics well outside the scope of W3C’s mission [MISSION].
10.1.2. Information Required in a Submission Request
The Submitter(s) and any other authors of the submitted material must agree that, if the request is acknowledged, the documents in the Member Submission will be subject to the W3C Document License [DOC-LICENSE] and will include a reference to it. The Submitter(s) may hold the copyright for the documents in a Member Submission.
The request must satisfy the Member Submission licensing commitments in “Licensing Commitments in W3C Submissions” in the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY].
The Submitter(s) must include the following information:
- The list of all submitting Members.
- Position statements from all submitting Members (gathered by the Submitter). All position statements must appear in a separate document.
- Complete electronic copies of any documents submitted for consideration (e.g., a technical specification, a position paper, etc.) If the Submission request is acknowledged, these documents will be made available by W3C and therefore must satisfy the Team’s Publication Rules [PUBRULES]. Submitters may hold the copyright for the material contained in these documents, but when made available by W3C, these documents must be subject to the provisions of the W3C Document License [DOC-LICENSE].
The request must also answer the following questions.
- What proprietary technology is required to implement the areas addressed by the request, and what terms are associated with its use? Again, many answers are possible, but the specific answer will affect the Team’s Decision.
- What resources, if any, does the Submitter intend to make available if W3C acknowledges the Submission request and takes action on it?
- What action would the Submitter like W3C to take if the Submission request is acknowledged?
- What mechanisms are there to make changes to the specification being submitted? This includes, but is not limited to, stating where change control will reside if the request is acknowledged.
For other administrative requirements related to Submission requests, see “How to send a Submission request” [MEMBER-SUB].
10.2. Team Rights and Obligations
Although they are not technical reports, the documents in a Member Submission must fulfill the requirements established by the Team, including the Team’s Publication Rules [PUBRULES].
The Team sends a validation notice to the Submitter(s) once the Team has reviewed a Submission request and judged it complete and correct.
Prior to a decision to acknowledge or reject the request, the request is Team-only, and the Team must hold it in the strictest confidentiality. In particular, the Team must not comment to the media about the Submission request.
10.3. Acknowledgment of a Submission Request
The Team acknowledges a Submission request by sending an announcement to the Advisory Committee. Though the announcement may be made at any time, the Submitter(s) can expect an announcement between four to six weeks after the validation notice. The Team must keep the Submitter(s) informed of when an announcement is likely to be made.
Once a Submission request has been acknowledged, the Team must:
- Make the Member Submission available at the W3C website.
- Make the Team comments about the Submission request available at the W3C website.
If the Submitter(s) wishes to modify a document made available as the result of acknowledgment, the Submitter(s) must start the Submission process from the beginning, even just to correct editorial changes.
10.4. Rejection of a Submission Request, and Submission Appeals
The Team may reject a Submission request for a variety of reasons, including any of the following:
- The ideas expressed in the request overlap in scope with the work of a chartered Working Group, and acknowledgment might jeopardize the progress of the group.
- The IPR statement made by the Submitter(s) is inconsistent with W3C’s Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY] and in particular the “Licensing Commitments in W3C Submissions”, Document License [DOC-LICENSE], or other IPR policies.
- The ideas expressed in the request are poor, might harm the Web, or run counter to W3C’s mission [MISSION].
- The ideas expressed in the request lie well outside the scope of W3C’s mission.
In case of a rejection, the Team must inform the Advisory Committee representative(s) of the Submitter(s). If requested by the Submitter(s), the Team must provide rationale to the Submitter(s) about the rejection. Other than to the Submitter(s), the Team must not make statements about why a Submission request was rejected.
The Advisory Committee representative(s) of the Submitters(s) may initiate a Submission Appeal. The procedure for handling Submission Appeals is the same as for Formal Objections, except that an AC Appeal is not possible and both the Formal Objection and the Council Report are confidential to the Team, TAG, and AB.
11. Process Evolution
Revision of the W3C Process and related documents (see below) undergoes similar consensus-building processes as for technical reports,
with the Advisory Board—
The documents covered by this section are:
the W3C Process (this document)
the W3C Patent Policy [PATENT-POLICY]
the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct [CEPC]
The W3C Document License [DOC-LICENSE]
The Advisory Board initiates review as follows:
- The Team sends a Call for Review to the Advisory Committee and other W3C groups.
- After comments have been formally addressed and the document possibly modified, the Team seeks endorsement from the Members by initiating an Advisory Committee review. The review period must last at least 28 days.
- After the Advisory Committee review, following a W3C decision to adopt the document(s), the Team does so and sends an announcement to the Advisory Committee. Advisory Committee representatives may initiate an Advisory Committee Appeal to W3C.
Note: As of June 2020, the Patent Policy is developed in the Patents and Standards Interest Group, the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in the Positive Work Environment Community Group, and the Process in the W3C Process Community Group.
This section is non-normative.
The editors are grateful to the following people, who as interested individuals and/or with the affiliation(s) listed, have contributed to this proposal for a revised Process: Brian Kardell, Carine Bournez (W3C), Charles McCathie Nevile (ConsenSys), Chris Needham (BBC), Chris Wilson (Google), David Singer (Apple), Delfí Ramírez, Dominique Hazaël-Massieux (W3C), Elika J. Etemad aka fantasai, Fuqiao Xue (W3C), Jeff Jaffe (W3C), Jeffrey Yasskin (Google), Kevin Fleming (Bloomberg), Léonie Watson (The Paciello Group), Mark Nottingham (Cloudflare), Michael Champion (Microsoft), Nigel Megitt (BBC), Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C), Ralph Swick (W3C), Samuel Weiler (W3C), Sandro Hawke (W3C), Shawn Lawton Henry, Tantek Çelik (Mozilla), Ted Thibodeau Jr (OpenLink Software), Virginia Fournier (Apple), Wendy Seltzer (W3C), Yves Lafon (W3C).
The editors are sorry for forgetting any names, and grateful to those who have listened patiently to conversations about this document without feeling a need to add more.
The following individuals contributed to the development of earlier versions of the Process: Alex Russell (Google), Andreas Tai (Institut fuer Rundfunktechnik), Andrew Betts (Fastly), Ann Bassetti (The Boeing Company), Anne van Kesteren, Art Barstow (Nokia, unaffiliated), Bede McCall (MITRE), Ben Wilson, Brad Hill (Facebook), Brian Kardell (JQuery), Carine Bournez (W3C), Carl Cargill (Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Adobe), Chris Lilley (W3C), Chris Wilson (Google), Claus von Riegen (SAP AG), Coralie Mercier (W3C), Cullen Jennings (Cisco), Dan Appelquist (Telefonica, Samsung), Dan Connolly (W3C), Daniel Dardailler (W3C), Daniel Glazman (Disruptive Innovations), David Baron (Mozilla), David Fallside (IBM), David Singer (Apple), David Singer (IBM), Delfí Ramírez, Dominique Hazaël-Massieux (W3C), Don Brutzman (Web3D), Don Deutsch (Oracle), Eduardo Gutentag (Sun Microsystems), Elika J. Etemad aka fantasai, Florian Rivoal, Fuqiao Xue (W3C), Geoffrey Creighton (Microsoft), Giri Mandyam (Qualcomm), Gregg Kellogg, Hadley Beeman, Helene Workman (Apple), Henri Sivonen (Mozilla), Håkon Wium Lie (Opera Software), Ian Hickson (Google), Ian Jacobs (W3C), Ivan Herman (W3C), J Alan Bird (W3C), Jay Kishigami 岸上順一 (NTT), Jean-Charles Verdié (MStar), Jean-François Abramatic (IBM, ILOG, W3C), Jeff Jaffe (W3C), Jim Bell (HP), Jim Miller (W3C), Joe Hall (CDT), John Klensin (MCI), Josh Soref (BlackBerry, unaffiliated), Judy Brewer (W3C), Judy Zhu 朱红儒 (Alibaba), Kari Laihonen (Ericsson), Karl Dubost (Mozilla), Ken Laskey (MITRE), Kevin Fleming (Bloomberg), Klaus Birkenbihl (Fraunhofer Gesellschaft), Larry Masinter (Adobe Systems), Lauren Wood (unaffiliated), Liam Quin (W3C), Léonie Watson (The Paciello Group), Marcos Cáceres (Mozilla), Maria Courtemanche (IBM), Mark Crawford (SAP), Mark Nottingham, Michael Champion (Microsoft), Michael Geldblum (Oracle), Mike West (Google), Mitch Stoltz (EFF), Natasha Rooney (GSMA), Nigel Megitt (BBC), Olle Olsson (SICS), Ora Lassila (Nokia), Paul Cotton (Microsoft), Paul Grosso (Arbortext), Peter Linss, Peter Patel-Schneider, Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C), Qiuling Pan (Huawei), Ralph Swick (W3C), Renato Iannella (IPR Systems), Rigo Wenning (W3C), Rob Sanderson (J Paul Getty Trust), Robin Berjon (W3C), Sally Khudairi (W3C), Sam Ruby (IBM), Sam Sneddon, Sandro Hawke (W3C), Sangwhan Moon (Odd Concepts), Scott Peterson (Google), Steve Holbrook (IBM), Steve Zilles (Adobe Systems) Steven Pemberton (CWI), TV Raman (Google), Tantek Çelik (Mozilla), Terence Eden (Her Majesty’s Government), Thomas Reardon (Microsoft), Tim Berners-Lee (W3C), Tim Krauskopf (Spyglass), Travis Leithead (Microsoft), Virginia Fournier (Apple), Virginie Galindo (Gemalto), Wayne Carr (Intel), Wendy Fong (Hewlett-Packard), Wendy Seltzer (W3C), Yves Lafon (W3C).
This section is non-normative.
Changes since the 2 November 2021 Process
This document is based on the 2 November 2021 Process. A list of issues addressed, a diff from Process 2021 to this latest version, as well as a detailed log of all changes since then are available.
In addition to a number of editorial adjustments and minor teaks, the following is a summary of the main differences:
Changes related to the role of the Director
- Outcomes of AC Reviews are no longer unconstrained decisions (by the Director), but instead must be based on the content of the review, with specific rules (based on current best practices) about what can or cannot be adjusted post review, and under what circumstances.
- Rather than the Director, the W3C Council, which is composed of TAG+AB+CEO, will now hear and resolve formal objections.
- The W3C Council will also hear Submission Appeals, which were previously handled separately by either the TAG or the AB, depending on the grounds for the appeal.
- The Team rather than the Director is charged with appointing the 3 non-elected TAG members, subject to ratification by the TAG and AB.
- There is no longer an ex-officio seat for the Director on the TAG, but Tim Berners-Lee personally does continue to hold one.
- The Team rather than the Director is charged with verification that the various expectations of the Process have been fulfilled for Transition Requests and Update Requests.
- Require AB and TAG approval when the Team wants to lower the maturity stage of a technical report without a Group Decision.
- The Team, AB, or TAG rather than the Director is now responsible for proposing group creation and forcible closure; AC Review is now required for forcible group closure (it already was for group creation).
- The CEO rather than the Director is charged with disciplinary questions.
- The Team rather than the Director is charged with negotiating MoUs (now called technical agreements) and other agreements related to the technical program.
- The Team rather than the Director is charged with handling various participation-related judgement calls (see § 18.104.22.168 Membership Associations, § 22.214.171.124 Conflict of Interest Policy, § 126.96.36.199 Individuals Representing a Member Organization, § 3.4.1 Requirements for All Chartered Groups, and § 188.8.131.52 Invited Expert in a Working Group).
- The Team rather than the Director is charged with handling Member Submission requests (but see also Submission Appeals).
Other Governance Changes
- The TAG now picks its own chair(s), and the timing of AB and TAG chair selection is clarified.
- Appointed TAG seats now have consecutive term limits.
- Remove mentions of the Hosts, add recognition of the existence of the W3C Inc. Board of Directors, and adjust language for W3C being rooted in W3C Inc.
- Codify that the AB is expected to pick up to two of its participants as liaisons for the board.
- Clarify interactions between AC / Team / Board about MoUs (now called technical agreements).
Other miscellaneous changes
- Improve the definition of consensus to make the notion usable even in contexts where Formal Objections would be inappropriate (such as inside a W3C Council, or when the TAG or AB pick their chair), and to avoid circular definitions.
- Merge Chair Decision Appeal, Group Decision Appeal, and Formal Objection; clarify what can be objected to.
- Define editorial vs substantive changes for non-REC-track documents.
- Expect supporting material to meeting minutes to be archived as the minutes are.
- Encourage people requesting an AC Appeal to share their request with the Advisory Committee in addition to the Team.
- Allow Recommendations to transition directly to Working Draft without having to go through Candidate Recommendation when making substantive changes.
- Place the W3C Document License under the same revision process and requirements as this document, the CEPC, or the Patent Policy.
- Similarly to the pre-existing requirement that a public record be made about confidential Formal Objections about public things, added a requirement that a member visible record be made about confidential Formal Objections about member-visible things.
- Stop excluding comments from AC Reps from those that have to be addressed while transitioning to Proposed Recommendation; just because there will be an opportunity to address them later doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be handled at the first opportunity.
- Clarify what the term Candidate Recommendation review period refers to.
- Clarify how the advance notice period for MoU works.
- Various bits of information that were so far required to be included in announcements of charter extensions are covered in the group’s homepage, making it sufficient to point to that page rather than having to inline everything in the announcement.
- Be more rigorous in references to the Patent Policy, using dated versions when appropriate.
- Rename “Member Consortia” into Member Associations to align with terminology in the Bylaws (and to avoid confusion with W3C itself).
- Rename “maturity level” into “maturity stage”.
Changes since earlier versions
Changes since earlier versions of the Process are detailed in the changes section of the previous version of the Process.
Conformance requirements are expressed with a combination of descriptive assertions and RFC 2119 terminology. The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in the normative parts of this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119. However, for readability, these words do not appear in all uppercase letters in this specification.
All of the text of this specification is normative except sections explicitly marked as non-normative, examples, and notes. [RFC2119]
Examples in this specification are introduced with the words “for example”
or are set apart from the normative text
Informative notes begin with the word “Note”
and are set apart from the normative text
Note, this is an informative note.