W3C updates its Process Document

Author(s) and publish date


The W3C Membership approved the 2023 W3C Process Document, which takes effect today.

Notable changes include:

  • Adjustments to remove the Process dependency on the Founding Director Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and to rebalance those responsibilities onto other parts of W3C.
  • Most notably, rather than the Director, the W3C Council, which combines the W3C Advisory Board (AB), W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG), and CEO, will now hear and resolve formal objections. Over the past couple years, we have been practicing this Council process under delegation from the Director, and evolving the corresponding Process proposal in response to those experiences.
  • The W3C Team, AB, or TAG rather than the Director is now responsible for proposing group creation and forcible closure; Member Review is now required for forcible group closure, not just for group creation.
  • Appointed TAG seats now have consecutive term limits.
  • Improvements to the definitions around filing objections, what constitutes an editorial change for non-REC-track documents, and what are the acceptable outcomes to AC Review inputs.
  • Adjustment to match the new reality of a standalone W3C, as opposed to the previous Hosted model, though the impacts of that are very limited on the Process itself.

The role of Sir Tim Berners-Lee is thus evolving from Founding Director to Founder, Emeritus Director, Honorary Member of the Board of Directors. This important and significant transition has been happening progressively through several years of phasing out his direct involvement, and this has allowed for strengthening of the various mechanisms that drive web standardization.

You can read more about all changes since the 2 November 2021 Process Document, read the complete disposition of comments, or peruse the diff.

This document was developed between the W3C Advisory Board and the public Revising W3C Process Community Group. Comments and feedback on the new Process Document may be sent as issues in the public GitHub Repository.

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