Vision for W3C

W3C Group Draft Note,

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Chris Wilson (Google)


This Vision attempts to help the world understand what W3C is, what it does and why that matters; and in particular to articulate the principles by which it operates and that guide its decisions.

Status of this document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

This document was published by the Advisory Board as a Group Draft Note using the Note track. Group Draft Notes are not endorsed by W3C nor its Members. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document is governed by the 12 June 2023 W3C Process Document.

The 15 September 2020 W3C Patent Policy does not carry any licensing requirements or commitments on this document.

This document was developed by the Advisory Board in cooperation with its Vision Task Force. It will continue to evolve, and the AB will issue updates as often as needed. The intent is for this document to eventually become a W3C Statement.

1. Purpose of this Document

This document is an articulation of W3C’s mission, its values, and its organizational principles; in other words, our vision for W3C as an organization in the context of our vision for the Web itself. The goal of this vision is not to predict the future, but to define shared principles to guide our decisions.

The goal of this document is to:

2. The Mission of W3C

W3C leads the community in defining a World Wide Web that puts users first, by developing technical standards and guidelines to empower an equitable, informed, and interconnected society.

3. Introduction

The World Wide Web was originally conceived as a tool for sharing information. It has evolved rapidly into a fundamental part of humanity, sparking major social change by providing and expanding access to knowledge, education, commerce and shopping, social experiences, civic functions, entertainment, and more.

The Web’s amazing success has also led to many unintended and undesirable consequences that harm society: openness and anonymity have given rise to scams, phishing, and fraud; the ease of gathering personal information has led to business models that mine and sell detailed user data, without people’s awareness or consent; rapid global information sharing has allowed misinformation to flourish and be exploited for political or commercial gain. This has divided societies and incited hate. We must do better. We must take steps to address these consequences in the standards we create.

Technology is not neutral; new technologies enable new actions and new possibilities, and we must take responsibility to address the actual impact of our work. The W3C’s Technical Architecture Group’s work to clearly define Ethical Web Principles is a strong basis to improve the ethical integrity of the Web.

The Web has had a tremendous impact on the world, and its impact will continue to grow in the future, as it expands reach, knowledge, education, and services even more broadly. We believe the World Wide Web should be inclusive and respectful of its users: a Web that supports facts over falsehoods, people over profits, humanity over hate.

4. W3C’s Vision for the World Wide Web

5. Vision for W3C

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded as an organization to provide a consistent architecture across the rapid pace of progress in the Web, and to build a common community to support its development. It has become an association where diverse voices from around the world and from different industries and organizations work together to evolve the Web.

To build a better future, the W3C must rise even further to the challenge of improving the Web’s fundamental integrity, while continuing to expand the Web’s scope and reach. The Operational Principles for the W3C should reflect the core values of the Web itself.

These core values will be clearly demonstrated by how W3C leads the Web forward: by being inclusive, principled, and continually striving to make the Web better through these principles and the Ethical Web Principles. This will lead to a Web that is more equitable, better serving its users in connecting the world. As the Ethical Web Principles state, “The web should empower an equitable, informed and interconnected society.”

6. Operational Principles for W3C

The fundamental function of W3C is to provide an open forum where diverse voices from around the world and from different organizations and industries work together to build consensus on voluntary global standards for Web technologies. In order to fulfill this function, we will follow these operational principles:

7. Acknowledgements and supporting material


Informative References

Daniel Appelquist; Hadley Beeman; Amy Guy. W3C TAG Ethical Web Principles. 6 September 2023. NOTE. URL: