One Web Day and W3C Community Groups

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One Web Day bag from W3C. Photo credit: Marie-Claire Forgue

Happy One Web Day from Web standards land! One of the themes for One Web Day 2010 is "the internet model" which "relies on processes and products that are local, bottom-up, and accessible to users around the world." I'm chairing a W3C task force for making W3C a more welcoming environment for new ideas and discussions. Since my July post on this topic, the task force has produced a draft proposal for a new type of "Community Group." In the current proposal (still tentative):

  • anyone can participate in a Community Group;
  • there are no fees to participate;
  • Community Groups can work indefinitely as long as they are being productive.

We expect some (but not all) Community Group work will move to the standards track. I recently added some scenarios to illustrate some uses for Community Groups:

  • Engineers employed by W3C Member and non-Member companies want to collaborate on a specification. They would like to bring it to W3C for standardization, but it requires some additional work before the formal standards process. They would like some IPR protection while they experiment with implementations. They want access to the existing W3C community, but are not yet ready for broad community review.
  • News organizations want to work together to develop a publishing ontology. They want collaboration tools and access to technology experts in the Semantic Web.
  • People interested in Web privacy seek a forum for brainstorming. They aren't planning to develop a specification, but are interested in connectivity with others in the Web community. Their discussions may result in documentation of use cases.

In the next few weeks I will add an IPR policy to the proposal. This is a challenging element, and getting it right will be important to its success. We'll need feedback on the draft IPR policy from the community. I have already had valuable discussions with people (W3C Members, IETF, OWF, others) on how have commitments increase as work matures. The policy needs to strike a number of balances (e.g., between implementers and IPR holders) and mesh well with the existing standards track Royalty-Free Patent Policy.

This is a work in progress, though it is becoming more stable. One Web Day seems like a great time to share our progress and ask for you feedback. Thanks!

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