W3C community bridges unicorns and werewolves #tpac09


The theme photo for W3C presentations at the TPAC09 showed the Natural Bridges state beach of Santa Cruz, California. We met in Santa Clara (not far from Santa Cruz) 2-6 November in order to bridge various communities and bring them together. For example, bringing together the HTML 5 browser folks and the extensibility folks was a goal. We joked this goal was called “Unnatural Bridges”.

Broadening the W3C community was one of the themes of TPAC09, and was reflected in talks as well as participation.

For the first time ever, we invited the public to gather for an afternoon of discussion and networking, the Developer Gathering (the minutes are now available). Ian Jacobs aligned fantastic speakers who regaled us when they presented the latest on various open standards in development. Feedback from the #w3cdev demos included many “very cool”, “absolutely amazing”, “video element”, “impressive”, “geolocation”, “accelerometer”, “APIs”, “nice possibilities”, “features”.

I thought the event went very well and think W3C should organize more. Please let us know what sort of event would appeal to you (e.g., with speakers as we had this time, or more like a bar camp, or a mix). If you blogged about #w3cdev, please, share a pointer in a comment!

TPAC is our biggest yearly event. Each year about 300 people who participate in various W3C groups meet face-to-face to exchange ideas, resolve technology issues, and socialize. My sense is that for most people involved, TPAC is their favorite W3C meeting of the year.

We tracked micro-blogosphere feedback on #tpac09. We expanded the number of people we follow (I’m not yet quite caught up with the additions I wanted to make, so excuse us if we’re not yet following you). Likewise, at the occasion of TPAC and the Developer Gathering, a significant number of people also expanded their contact list and started to follow us (yay!). In Santa Clara @dckc said, ‘@w3c has ~5000 followers’. This is still growing, ~6300 now!

A bit of a mystery to me as I reviewed the tweets is the unicorn meme. I have no idea who started it and why, but unicorns were mentioned, portraited (it even made it to our theme photo!), tweeted, and interjected.

Oh, and I mentioned werewolves in the title. Although not (yet) a resident on our meetings agenda, Werewolves attacked the villagers almost every night at TPAC! Led by fantastic emcee @dontcallmedom, many people enjoyed the battles of minority against majority, the games of suspicion, trust, lies, doubts and beliefs. Nightly werewolf encounters are such fun in person.

J'accuse! Werewolves game photo. By Amy van der Hiel J'accuse! Werewolves game photo. By Amy van der Hiel

If you attended TPAC09 and would like to give feedback, we’d appreciate if you took the WBS survey. I welcome additional feedback, or a pointer to your blog entry in a comment to this entry.

4 thoughts on “W3C community bridges unicorns and werewolves #tpac09

  1. As far as I know, the unicorns began with Doug Shepers during the Wednesday morning talks. That’s the earliest I saw any of them, at least. To be fair, they may have been around before this, but invisible.

  2. I think that someone asked for an IRC channel that wasn’t about TPAC, or that could be used just for goofing off without annoying the mainstream, and Doug made #unicorns (perhaps because the channel didn’t exist).

    It joined nicely with the recurring “dahut” theme that runs through many W3C groups and specifications by now.

  3. Once XML Namespaces are allowed in HTML, Distributed Extensibility will magically produce unicorns. Or that’s what the RDFa proponents would like you to think. (At least, that’s the context in which I see unicorns being mentioned.)

  4. Ms2ger: Don’t despoil the magic and beauty of unicorns by politicizing them. I made the channel because someone asked that there be a TPAC channel that didn’t talk about technical issues… and such a channel on the W3C IRC server is much more rare than a unicorn (or a dahut).

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