From time to time a Community Group that has been incubating a technology seeks to advance it to the W3C Recommendation track in a Working Group. Our goal through this document is to ease that transition.


The following questions can help a Community Group to prepare for the transition of work to a Working Group.

Is the work ready for standardization?

Please see elsewhere in the Guide: W3C Recommendation Track Readiness Best Practices.

What is the target Working Group and the relation to the CG?

If the Working Group does not yet exist, the Community Group can prepare by drafting a Working Group charter. Otherwise, if the group exists but the new work is not within its scope W3C needs to recharter the group to accommodate the new work.

The charter of the target Working Group should address two topics:

@@@TODO extract more from charter template discussion

Community Group chairs should keep the Community Group participants aware of the progress on the transition roadmap, in particular if it involves chartering or re-chartering a Working Group.

Is there a record of Community Group support for the transition?

It is useful to record whether and how the Community Group reached consensus on the transition (in a manner consistent with its practices). The consensus should include expectations about the working relationship with the Working Group moving forward.

Are IPR commitments in place?

Community Groups have a "two-step IPR policy" so that people make lightweight commitments when work starts and more comprehensive commitments once work is mature.

By comparison, under the W3C Patent Policy for Working Groups, participants make full specification commitments upon joining the group.

There are thus two ways to procure commitments by Community Group contributors to the full text of a specification transferred to a Working Group:

  1. They join (or already participate in) the Working Group, or
  2. They make a commitment under the Final Specification Agreement. Note: FSA commitments may still have some value for situations where a Working Group ultimately does not advance the specification on the Recommendation Track.

Each Community Group should make a determination whether to launch the process of gathering Final Specification commitments, based on (anticipated or actual) Contributor participation in the Working Group. The Community Group Web site includes tools to request and collect "Final Spec" commitments.

Once the work transitions to a Working Group, that Working Group's patent policy becomes the "primary" patent policy. Contributions to the work are henceforth made under the W3C Patent Policy. When a contributor cannot join the Working Group, W3C will provide tools so that Working Groups can ensure that substantive contributions from non-participants are made under the terms of the W3C Patent Policy.

How can Community Group Participants remain involved in the work after the transition?

In many cases, Community Group participants will want to continue their involvement in discussions about a work after it has been transferred to a Working Group.


GitHub Repository Management

W3C has a number of GitHub mechanisms in place for specification development and to help manage IPR commitments for contributions.

If a Community Group repository is hosted in a GitHub organization not yet used by W3C to host Recommendation work:

Is the repository already being monitored by W3C's IPR Repo Manager?

Other repository admin for the target Working Group:

Other repository admin for W3C staff.

Dominique Hazael-Massieux for @w3c/guidebook. Issues welcome on GitHub