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W3C benefits from diverse, inclusive, and worldwide participation. This document provides guidance to those organizing distributed meetings.

Dealing with timezones

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).

W3C Process Document

A Chair should build consensus about the time slots for distributed meetings and should reevaluate that consensus on a regular basis. A good practice is to re-evaluate at the semi-annual spring and fall shifts in daylight saving time, and upon significant changes in membership or participation.

When scheduling regularly occurring distributed meetings, the Chair should consider rotating meeting times if that helps a broader group of members to participate.

W3C being an international organization, its meetings are impacted by holidays in various countries and cultures. You can find a list of holidays to take into consideration.

A Chair might use the following steps for proposing time slots:

A Chair should consider the following when judging the group's consensus:

The W3C Process provides rules about the timing of meeting announcements and agenda publication.

Group calendars

Group calendars are available from lists of Groups. For each Group, there is a 'Calendar' tab.

Creating an event

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Create the event as 'Draft' and keep it as such until you're ready to get your event listed on the Group calendar.

    Draft events are found through your personal calendar 'My Drafts', so only 'Tentative' and 'Confirmed' events will appear on the Group calendar page.

  2. Assume a newcomer will look at your event, so use standalone information as much as possible and use links in the event description, agenda, and joining instructions fields, so a new participant can follow links and find out the additional information.
  3. Joining link and instructions are restricted. The information will NOT be part of public email ntofications and can only be seen by W3C members, participants in the invited groups and additional invitees, so it's safe to put passcodes in the joining instructions.
  4. Avoid sending multiple email notifications:
    1. When updating, select "Update but don't send notifications"
    2. Check your information on the resulted event page
    3. If satisfied, go back into "Edit" mode and use "Update" to send the notifications out.

A suggested workflow for recurring events is to create the event with the recurrence rule, keeping the status as 'Tentative'. This will create the multiple occurences of your regular meeting (up to one year ahead) and notify participants (unless they opted out) of the tentative meetings. Once you're ready to confirm the meeting and include the agenda, update the single occurence and change the meeting status to 'Confirmed'. This will notify participants and the Group mailing list of the updated event. Once the minutes of the meeting are out, update again the single occurence to point to the minutes so that it's easy to find them later in the 'Past Events' tab of your Group calendar.

The tooling requirements to manage time zones are still being developed and is not be part of the initial release of the W3C Calendar system. The W3C Calendar system does support timezones but not provide facilitation for finding suitable times within a set of timezones. In the meantime, we recommend using online resources, such as the World Clock Meeting Planner and doodle.

Report issues on GitHub if you find any.


Philippe Le H├ęgaret, guidebook editor
plh@w3.org
Yep, it's on GitHub.