W3C Strategic Highlights for Spring 2018 and Advisory Committee Meeting

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W3C held its annual meeting mid-May in Berlin, Germany. It was a very engaging meeting that many found excellent, with a good range of sessions, a clear structure and good audience participation. The W3C Advisory Board had worked very closely with me, feeling the pulse of the membership, understanding what topics needed conversation. The planning started as early as December, and a great deal of work went into creating the program.

I felt that this was a meeting where the Advisory Committee truly "advised". There was much time scheduled for open discussion. This would have been boring if noone came to the microphone. But people came! With great input. Differences of opinion. Expressed with passion and respect. Striving for consensus on critical governance issues facing the consortium.

The agenda focused on governance, complemented with demonstrations of new technology and general web issues of the day. Here are a few highlights I would like to share publicly:

Our partnership with WHATWG

W3C management shared a proposal for a joint workmode with WHATWG on HTML, that was developed with the WHATWG Steering Group, and seeks to organize a partnership that has had ebbs and flows over a period of more than a decade. A set of terms were developed, but W3C management had not had an opportunity to socialize it, or get feedback, reaction, and support. A large number of people came to the microphone with diverse viewpoints. There was general support for the overall direction, but quite a few important suggestions about how to make the proposal even better were made and need to be further developed before broader socialization.


A panel on diversity focused on progress we have made and how much more is required. A W3C Member came to the microphone to propose and agree to start funding "diversity tickets" for TPAC attendance. We discussed actions that W3C should take to promote diversity: including publishing our diversity statistics, encourage AC reps to nominate a more diverse set of people to run for Advisory Board and Technical Architecture Group Elections. This was further discussed at the AB May face-to-face meeting right after the AC Meeting and the team will help set this up.

I will soon write again about this.

Updates (CEO, TAG, demos, process)

As with any AC meeting part of the objective is to share information. I highlighted breakthrough success - in accessibility, payments, authentication, and fonts - as well as pointing to innovative directions in general. Dan Appelquist focused on the TAG's continued efforts to address issues coming from many directions; particularly our Working Groups. Natasha Rooney described "W3C Process for Busy People" that intends to make our process more easily understandable.

Propaganda, misinformation and fake news

We had a very interactive panel about propaganda, misinformation and fake news, and the role of standards. Partly this was to inform and engage the AC with a topic currently on our periphery; partly this was to discuss work being incubated in our Community Groups which could become standards in the future; and partly it was to engage leading thinkers in our host country (Germany) in a topic of public interest.

Technical controversy

There has been some controversy in our community since the TAG published its finding on distributed and syndicated content, so we were treated to a dialog between the editor of the document and a leader in the AMP development organization to expose some different viewpoints on this question.

Invited Expert identity program

In conversations at the AC meeting as well as at the AB meeting, there was a feeling that we needed to do more for Invited Experts. At the Advisory Board meeting, they recommended that we raise TPAC registration fees for all registrants by 5% (with an opt-out possibility) to create a fund which would allow IEs with financial challenges to be exempted from registration fees. Additionally, the AB recommended that we create an Invited Expert Identity program, which would consist of a mailing list where to share experiences with each other - to become a community; and inviting this community to send an observer to AC meetings.

I will soon write again about this.

During the meeting we released the Spring 2018 W3C Strategic Highlights which gives an overview of recent highlights and work of consolidation, optimization, enhancement of the existing landscape, innovation, incubation, research. and the Road-map for the Web.

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