[DRAFT] Silver Task Force Decision Policy

This document explains the decision process of the Silver Task Force of the AG Working Group, and the Silver Community Group when operating jointly with the Silver Task Force (collectively identified henceforth as the "Silver groups"). Decisions made according to this policy are to be recorded in the Silver decisions wiki page. The Silver groups follow the W3C Process Document regarding decisions. This document sets out procedures specific to the Silver groups to implement Process requirements and to facilitate later decisions by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.

Goals

The Silver groups strive to reach consensus via unanimous agreement. In the course of establishing consensus it is critical that all participants have the opportunity to express their views for consideration so that all relevant information can be used in arriving at the conclusion. Consensus indicates that a substantial number of individuals in the group support a proposal, and within the Silver groups consensus can be achieved through this process. Subgroup agreement represents consensus of the subgroup but only consistitutes a proposal to the working group.

During discussion on a topic, participants are welcome to raise objections freely to help ensure that all available information can be considered and contribute to the best possible decision. However, when all views raised have been considered and the facilitators indicate a discussion is approaching the decision point, objections should not be raised unless the individual strongly believes the decision is the wrong one in spite of discussion, and the individual cannot "live with" the decision. Compromise on points that the individual considers suboptimal but can "live with" is an essential part of group decisions that must meet various requirements.

Procedures

  1. For decisions being considered in task force meetings, objections should be raised immediately by participants in that meeting when there is a call for objections. Participants who miss meetings are expected to read the resolutions and raise objections to any decisions made within a week of the meeting. It is a best practice of the group to include a list of resolutions in the email of the minutes of the meeting. If participants will be out for more than a week, let the facilitators know so they can take this into account when considering objections. Facilitators can extend the timeline at their discretion, and will take into account factors such as worldwide public holidays and W3C moratoria.
  2. When the facilitators believe that the group is ready to come to a decision, they indicate that a decision is imminent and call for objections.
    • For decisions being considered in meetings, objections must be raised immediately by participants in that meeting when there is a call for objections. Participants who miss meetings are expected to read the minutes and raise objections to any decisions made within a week of the meeting. If participants will be out for more than a week, let the facilitators know so they can take this into account when considering objections.
    • For decisions being considered in asynchronous communication tools, or decisions made during a meeting at which the participant was not present, objections must be raised within two business days of the call for objections.
    • If an objection is received but the facilitators believe the objection has already been considered as far as is possible and reasonable, and the reviewer providing the objection can "live with‚ÄĚ the decision, the decision is nonetheless ratified.
    • If an objection is received but the potential decision is supported by the vast majority of participants, the facilitators evaluate the majority view for bias with respect to the minority view. If bias is considered reasonably possible, the facilitators reopen the discussion. Otherwise the decision is ratified, with the objection recorded as part of the decision context.
  3. If no objection is raised, the Silver groups facilitators ratify the decision by recording it on the Silver TF Decisions page. Any related edits to documents are committed at that time.
    • Decisions must be identifiable by a URI (e.g., in meeting minutes, an archived email message, a comment in a GitHub issue, etc.).
    • It must be possible from the URI of the decision to reconstruct the discussion leading to the decision. Therefore, the decision URI must contain or reference pointers to discussions leading to the decision. The references may take any archived form, such as meeting minutes, an email thread, a history of comments in a GitHub issue, etc.
  4. If an objection is raised after the decision is ratified, the facilitators evaluate the objection to determine whether to reopen the discussion.
    • If the participant raising the objection participated actively in the discussion leading to the decision AND was not available to object during the objection window, the facilitators reopen the discussion.
    • If the participant raising the objection is a participant in the Silver Task Force or the Silver Community Group BUT did not participate actively in the discussion YET include substantial new information in the objection, the facilitators MAY reopen the discussion. To avoid disruption caused by objections from non-active participants who are not current on context, the discussion will generally be reopened only if substantial new information is presented that could not have been considered in the original discussion.
    • If the objection is received from a person who does not participate in the Silver Task Force or the Silver Community Group, the facilitators ask the objector to review the discussion leading to the decision, and indicate how the discussion did not address their concern. If, after this review, it is determined that the objection raises substantial new information, the facilitators reopen the discussion. Otherwise, the facilitators record the objection as part of the decision context.
  5. In the rare situation where a formal objection is raised, the task force Facilitators, Working Group Chairs, and staff contact(s) will come to an agreement about the issue and work to address the issue as described in section 3.3.3 of the Process Document (Formally Addressing an Issue). The outcome may be to record a decision with objections per section 3.3.2 of the Process Document (Recording and Reporting Formal Objections).

Related Policies

The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group as a whole uses its own decision policy. Consensus from the Working Group is required to publish normative content, and may be required to publish informative content, depending on the content and publication mechanism. The Silver groups uses its own decision policy to facilitate discussion and consensus within the Silver groups, and to substantiate its proposals to the Working Group when seeking Working Group consensus.

Other aspects of Consensus are defined in the Process Document, including Votes (section 3.4) and Appeal of a Chair’s Decision (section 3.5). If a participant believes the task force facilitators have not exercised sound judgment in following this policy, they should express their concern first to one of the Task Force facilitators, escalating if needed to the Working Group chairs or the AG staff contact, and further escalating if needed to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Lead.

In all discussions, participants are expected to follow the W3C Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, treating other participants with respect, acknowledging different perspectives, and respecting various communication styles.

Ratification

History

There have been no changes to this policy since its initial ratification.

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