Positive Work Environment

W3C is a global community where participants choose to work together. In that community, we experience differences in language, location, nationality, and experience. In such a diverse environment, misunderstandings and disagreements happen, and in most cases can be resolved informally.

W3C has developed several resources:

  • W3C Code of Conduct (Code), which defines a set of community principles regarding how people working in the W3C ecosystem should treat each other.
  • Procedures, to assist all parties when there are issues that arise.

We also curate a list of Education and training materials.


Important: These procedures do not substitute for intervention by legal authorities. Anyone may seek advice from law enforcement authorities at any time and should do so immediately if a situation is dangerous or potentially so.

Timely action is encouraged, especially if a behavior rises to the level of harassment or intimidation.

If one person believes another's behavior is inappropriate (inconsistent with CEPC), and ordinary communication between them is not possible, escalation of the issue takes place by contacting one of the W3C Ombuds, which may be done confidentially.

Any individual in the W3C community —including staff, members, invited experts, participants in W3C meetings, in W3C teleconferences, and participants in mailing lists— may call upon the W3C ombuds for assistance.

Note: In exceptional circumstances, the W3C Director may ban an individual from participating in our activities, e.g. on a mailing list or in a group (refer to section of the W3C Process Document).


The W3C Ombuds are a small group selected by the W3C management to act as trusted confidants to work toward resolving complaints between any internal or external constituent. Ombuds will operate by procedures appropriate to their sites and jurisdictions.

The ombuds positions are currently held by:

  • The W3C CEO,
  • one person for each world region

Note: there is no obligation to contact an Ombuds associated with a particular W3C world region, but they may be able to orient complaints to the right process and next steps more quickly.

Ombuds list

The ombuds may be contacted individually or in subset (potentially all of them via the confidential alias ombuds@w3.org).

Ombuds affiliationOmbuds NameEmail
W3C COORalph Swickswick@w3.org
ChinaAngel Liangel@w3.org
Japan/KoreaNaomi Yoshizawanaomi@w3.org
Americas and rest of the worldRalph Swickswick@w3.org

Education and Training

Several resources are available:

Feedback and Status


The Positive Work Environment Community Group is responsible for the evolution of this document.

Send comments or questions on this document to public-pwe@w3.org [publicly archived]. Note: Do not use this list to report inappropriate behavior; refer to Procedures.


This is the 22 October 2014 version of the document.


We acknowledge the contributions from the participants in the former Positive Work Environment Task Force:

Kazuyuki Ashimura, Ann Bassetti (former Chair), Steve Bratt, Beau Brendler, Judy Brewer, Daniel Dardailler (former Chair and editor), Ted Guild, Simon Hernandez, Jeffrey Jaffe (former W3C CEO), Coralie Mercier (former Chair and editor), Charles Nevile, Mauro Nunez, Antonio Olmo Titos, Florian Rivoal, Tzviya Siegman, Jeanne Spellman, Wendy Seltzer, Ralph Swick, Amy van der Hiel (former Chair), Steve Zilles. As well as all those who provided input for improvements over time.


Coralie Mercier, Head of W3C Marketing & Communications