. Art of Consensus Guide
Role of the Group Chair
The W3C Director appoints (or re-appoints) a Chair (or more than one co-Chair) "Chair" for every Working
Group and Interest Group ("Group"). The Chair's primary role is to
facilitate consensus-building among Group members. The Chair works together with
the W3C Staff Contact. Key roles of the Group
Chair are listed below. Additional information on the role of the
Group Chair is in W3C Process
See also: On Chairing a
group, Joseph Reagle
The team contact should
arrange for the Chair and the Director to meet (by phone if necessary) to make sure
they're on the same wavelength about things like:
- where the group's work fits into Web Architecture
- where does it fit with other groups
- testing, test suites ... generating tests as you come to
- responsibility not just to the group -- working toward consensus
of the whole community
- cost of delaying wider consensus - negotiating your reviews and
really getting in touch with people - versus time to market and specification relevance
- formal objections, i.e. the tricky bits of W3C process
and the team contact should make sure the chair is in the
Creates Group charter and convenes Group
- Develops Group charter together with the Staff
- Is familiar with W3C
Process and Guidebook.
- Convenes Group and ensures Group members oriented to W3C Process with assistance of Staff
- Schedules deliverables and sets milestones towards completion
- Appoints document editors. (NOTE: Editors are responsible for
ensuring that Group decisions are correctly reflected in Group
documents, and for maintaining an issue list.)
- Proposed invited experts with assistance of Staff Contact (W3C
staff must be involved in decisions regarding inclusion/exclusion
of participants). Makes sure that all participants have
filled out a call for participation and have disclosed their IPR in
accordance with W3C process.
- (If there is a Co-chair) Establishes clear and close
coordination with Co-chair.
Coordinates with W3C Team and other W3C Working Groups as
- Maintains close coordination with W3C Staff
- Maintains coordination with assigned liaisons from other W3C
- Participates in the Chairs mailing list (archive) and attends Chairs
the team contact should make sure the chair is in the
- Works with the Communications Team and Staff Contact in preparing press release.
- Communicates with the press, when necessary and appropriate,
and with prior coordination with the communication team, on behalf
of the group.
- Ensures all participants have proper access to Group
data with assistance from Staff Contact.
Maintains Group Process & Organization
- Solicits drafts, encourages participation.
- Judges items in or out of scope for the Group.
- Generally stays neutral in discussion but can participate in
technical discussions if announces in advance that will remove his
or her chair "hat" at that time.
- Keeps Group's charter compliant with W3C Process, and initiates
charter update as needed.
- Announces calls, meetings, events with appropriate advance time
and through proper channels.
- Ensures minutes are taken and posted in due time.
- Defines meeting agendas.
- Maintains home page of Group using W3C authoring guidelines
(receives access privileges for doing that).
- If it is necessary to take a vote, supervises voting and announces results, with
assistance of Staff Contact.
- Resolve issues that motivated "No" votes (facilitate reaching
- Revises deliverables timeline as needed.
What to look for when choosing a chair
The following bullets based on suggestions from Joseph
- Experience in chairing similar groups, committees, and/or
- Previous participation or technical contributions in related
- Ability to satisfy the time commitment (from you and/or your
- Familiarity and/or willingness to learn W3C process and
document formatting rules;
- The ability to keep the Working Group "in Charter", both for
technical and IPR issues;
- The ability (both actual and perceived by the Working Group --
including potential competitors) to forge consensus fairly and
without bias from your affiliation/employer and, sometimes, even
your own technical positions.
Chris Lilley, Judy Brewer, Daniel Dardailler