AB/2020 Priorities

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< AB
These are past priorities. For the current AB Priorities see AB/Priorities

Priority tasks that the W3C Advisory Board (AB) is taking on during 2020.

Related issues are all available on the [| ab-memberonly repository].

Task 1: W3C Legal Entity (LE)


  • Leads: David Singer. (TBC)


Produce a set of bylaws that are legally acceptable for "reasonable" jurisdictions, and that structure a W3C entity that the Steering Committee and members will agree to.
Working with W3C legal council, develop bylaws that describe the management of W3C, and review in the AC. Prepare for Steering Committee review and acceptance.
  • A proposed set of bylaws, by 30 Sept 2020
  • Legal review and opinion that they are acceptable in the jurisdiction(s) in which W3C proposes to register its legal entity
  • Steering comittee review and acceptance by 30 September 2020
  • AC review and acceptance by 31st December 2020

Fund raising

  • Leads: Eric and Chris


  • Goals: Evaluate W3C Legal Entity's financial needs; generate options to fund the Legal Entity's spin-off from the host entity.
  • Description: Work with CFO, Bill Judge to prepare all necessary financial and business materials for engagement with potential funding sources to successfully enroll interest and to pass financial due diligence.
  • Deliverables: Bill Judge will submit an initial draft of key deliverables to AB project Leads for review and discussion by May 28. The table of the key deliverables and status of progress will be posted on this site when ready.

Task 2: W3C strategy



  • Determine strategic goals.
  • Refine the identity and scope of organization.
  • Define the values of the organization.
  • Make it visible to W3C community and beyond.


The discussion in strategy session in November 2019 AB meeting gave some pointers for moving ahead. The work will start from these pointer, and the high level plan is as follows:

  • Connect the dots, considering the inputs given by AB in November 2019 meeting and the objectives defined by W3M.
  • Determine the strategic goals, scope and values of the organization, with inputs from stake holders.
  • Prioritize the strategic goals.
  • Outline the action plan in collaboration with the management.
  • Make the strategic goals, scope and values visible to W3C members and beyond.

February 2020 status: The inputs were provided by AB in November 2019 meeting and the overview of management objectives was provided by the management in January 2020. The work in progress document is at: https://www.w3.org/wiki/AB/W3C-strategy-development The first draft of strategic goals are identified, and we are now working on assigning priorities to these strategic goals.

May 2020 status: Prepared draft 1 of strategic goals with their respective priorities for inputs of AC. The work in progress document has been updated.

July 2020 status:

  • The strategic goals and their priorities were presented to AC in May AC meeting.
  • We have started the next step of identifying the core values of W3C.
  • Deliverables: TBC

Task 3: W3C form and structure


  • Explore the model under which W3C operates - namely that Members pay dues, but work that is often done by volunteers (in other standards organizations) is done by the staff
    • Examine the assumptions about what work would be done by the staff when W3C started, and compare that to what happens today.
    • Examine the total cost of this model against the costs of other models
    • Examine the efficacy (quantity, quality) of this approach against other models
    • Assess whether things should be done differently when W3C becomes its own legal entity.

Related topic

  • In the 25 February AB meeting there was a relationship raised between this project and the project called "Role of the Director" or "Director-free" (DF), i.e. the plans to restructure roles and responsibilities within W3C when Tim steps down as Director. The question arose whether the DF project needed to consider a broader shift in W3C's operating model.
  • Most of the AB felt that the DF project should continue with its more modest restructure assumptions, but the discussion made "W3C form and structure" seem more urgent.
  • Accordingly, the next step for the "W3C form and structure" project should be to build a diverse team of people from our community to study this issue.
  • A good first step would be some announcement to the AC; launching this project; getting participants into this project, and explaining how it relates to DF

April update

  • Jeff and David met with the Director to get his historical view, and sent a summary to the AB

July update

  • Given the shortened year, it was nice progress that we had the meeting with the Director and sent around his comments. It is teed up as a continuing priority for 2021. It is worthy of note that it does intersect with two other major things that are going on: the Legal Entity spinout and the director-free project

Task 4: Incubation at W3C

Incubation guidance

  • Leads:* TBC


  • Goals: Define Incubation, create incubation best practices, broaden review of incubation beyond WICG
  • Description: TBC
  • Deliverables: TBC

Review incubation process

  • Leads: TBC


  • Goals: TBC
  • Description: TBC
  • Deliverables: TBC


Some of this is documented for WICG in the WICG admin repo: https://github.com/WICG/admin. However, there isn't only one process for incubation - the goal of the pattern of incubation is to do early exploration, and those explorations may explicitly fail. (Chris Wilson and Yoav Weiss talked about incubation as a part of the standards process a bit at Chrome Dev Summit 2019: https://youtu.be/y3EZx_b-7tk?t=781). Note that there's different subtleties depending on how "incubation" is done - for example the way the Immersive Web CG/WG does it is detailed at https://github.com/immersive-web/administrivia/blob/master/transitioning-issues-from-cg-to-wg.md. The CSS WG does their own version internally - IIRC, they used to more carefully mark the instability of their specs at https://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/current-work for early-stage specs (the CSS process doc does talk about how the CSS Snapshot doesn't include modules that don't have high stability, but doesn't talk about that in terms of the journey of a feature from idea to standard).

The transition of an incubation to a "specification" (aka a REC-track "standard") isn't well defined, partly because there's no single path there, either. Some features in incubation go into the HTML or DOM specs, or are subsumed into other specs; many, to be honest, are awaiting broader implementer interest, which would hold them up in standards. Is that success or failure?

We have begun speaking with members who have expressed particular interest or concern in this topic. One person asked me to consider incubation in this context:

  • how is the process (including incubation) supposed to work when Google is moving faster than everyone else? how can W3C accommodate those who can't work at Google's speed?

See (https://www.w3.org/Guide/standards-track/) definition from 2016.

Task 5: Process 2020


  • Leads: Florian Rivoal and Elika Etemad


Goals: Make it possible to maintain a Registry at W3C

Description: Registries are a type of report that is available in other standards bodies but not at w3c, and w3c participants have expressed the need for. We have high level agreement on what making them work here would entail, but still need to converge on the concrete realization. There is extensive discussion on the wiki.


  • Complete, then merge into P2020 P2021, a process for publishing and maintaining registries
  • Diffs to facilitate review
  • Explainers and FAQs


  • A draft text implementing a possible process for Registries exists (Preview / Diff)
  • Some aspects of that process don't have consensus yet
  • Discussion stalled to finish P2020. To be resumed soon.


  • Leads: Florian Rivoal and Elika Etemad


Goals: Finalize the Evereblue/teal

Description: Finalize all necessary edits to fully bake ever* into process 2020, work with Wendy and PSIG to get an updated Patent Policy that supports it, and all the supporting documentation to ease review and approval by the AC


  • Process 2020 with everblue/teal integrated
  • Updated Patent Policy supporting Process 2020
  • Diffs to facilitate review
  • Explainers and FAQs


  • Text of Process 2020 and Patent Policy 2020 finalized, undergoing formal AC Review
  • Operational aspects of the deployment (mostly) on the team. Standing ready to help if there are blockers.

Task 6: W3C Globalisation


Horizontal issue

  • 1. I18n
  • 2. Diversity and Inclusion(tzviya and Angel)
  • 3. Translation at TPAC 2020 (Jay and Léonie)

We are preparing the captioning and translation system with Nomi team. Tentative schedule is:

    • phase 1 captioning + CJK translation with quality control for the coming virtual AC mtg
    • Phase 2 Holistic translations system for all mtg including WG

I hope all AB support this trial.

Vertical issue

  • 4. Digital Currency--(Jay and ?)
    • Blockchain economy, incl. Lebra
  • Goals: TBC
  • Description: TBC
  • Deliverables: TBC

Task 7: Role of the Director


Goals: Be ready for when the Founding Director steps down

Description: The founding Director will eventually be leaving his role. Many parts of W3C formally depend on him to function. Continue the efforts started in 2019 to Evolve the various governing documents so that W3C can be fully functional in the absence of a Director. There isn't a strict deadline within the time-frame of Process 2021, but it would be good to be ready by then. Even if not fully finalized, the larger part of the work should be completed.


  • An integrated set of changes that could be landed into the Process and related documents to fully operate without a Director.
  • Some parts of the previous items may optionally be available in individual Pull Requests for possible adoption while the Founding Director is still present.

Timeline / Plan: See https://www.w3.org/wiki/AB/Director-free_Plan

Task 8: Next big thing for the web


  • Goals: To explore the next big technical directions that matter to the community and the long-term development of the Web.
  • Description: Forward looking in industry, discussion widely with members to identify and incubate potential topics, such as voice assistance, AI, etc., and move the identified topics forward in standardization.
  • Deliverables: Target area list, possible roadmap for incubation, member participation intention list, and present the topics in TPAC 2020.
  • Progress updated by Judy Zhu (by July 10th 2020):
    • Initially collected topics:
      • From Members: WebRTC.Next, V2E (Voice to everything, such as voice API), Video (e.g. to support remote participation), Semantic search engine, knowledge graph, Progressive Hybrid App (hybrid rendering based on Web and Native), etc etc
      • Ref---From Strategy Funnel: MiniApps, Improving Web Advertising; workshops or potential workshops in Web and Machine Learning, Maps, Media Packaging, Voice Interaction. Potential WG from WebGPU CG.
    • Over All Plan:
      • Step1[Done]: input from Strategy team: Wendy, Judy, and Angel reviewed W3C Strategy Funnel
        • Other possible resources?
      • Step2[Done]: input from community: The member survey of Next Big Thing was open from 2020-05-20 to 2020-06-30. The 11 items listed as initially collected topics gained majority support, especially Maps on the Web, Web against COVID-19 items, privacy, and Knowledge Graph. 12 new topics proposed. See details of Step 2 below.
      • Step3[Done]: info collection report: a report based on the community feedback has been generated and report to AB during July AB virtual meeting
      • Step4: report to TPAC or AC meeting.
        • Consider various means of advancing work, including virtual workshops, online interaction, WG formation
  • Details of Step 2:
    • Summary: A Questionnaire for next big thing has been sent to collect feedback from Team, Chairs, AB, TAG and AC.16 people provided feedback, 2 were from W3C team, and 14 were from members.
    • 12 new topics proposed including:
  1. WebTransport: could go into the category of Web Against COVIC-19, to utilize QUIC in the Web, becomes important to realize relative A/V streaming.
  2. WebPackage: Signed HTTP Exchanges will change the way to distribute content, e.g. book, audio, via the web. https://github.com/WICG/webpackage
  3. Progressive Web Apps - making web apps fully integrated in host OS'es so that they work and appear as native apps do
  4. Web Capabilities - Making sure the people can actually implement the experiences they want on the web
  5. Accessibility of remote collaboration tools, could go into the category of Web Against COVIC-19
  6. Web (re-)decentralization: DAT, Secure Scuttlebutt,Blockchain, DID and decentralized consensus algorithm
  7. Continued standardisation of ontologies is important, especially mid-level generic ontologies, e.g. for affordances of IoT devices, Gesture controls and gaze controls
  8. Standard protocol for gesture and gaze controls
  9. AR/VR API standardization
  10. Identity and Payments: to fix the problem that Identity and payments on the Web are deeply broken
  11. AI standards: Guidelines for facial recognition and W3C’s position towards AI in order to influence the global discussion
  12. Other: to improve Process, W3C should try to promote internally a big push to getting CRs to Rec, especially those that have been in CR for a long time and are mainly waiting for tests and implementation reports. The reputational damage to W3C by having this work lingering in an incomplete state is real, significant but intangible.
    • There are also suggestions from the AC about how to move things forward:
  1. Categorize the topics from the aspects, e.g. impact on the world, relations to the existing W3C activities, barriers to move forward, and then discuss how to move forward according to the categories of topics
  2. improve Process to help Recs evolve more rapidly
  3. joint meeting with DID, Verified Credential, and any other relevant movement people to work on Blockchain, DID and decentralized consensus algorithm
  4. TAG to do some product management and proactive feature development
  5. Present to the AC the criteria used for picking up a new piece of work, with concrete examples and explanation. And more regularly presentations about the pipeline of work (the so-called strategy funnel) and what is happening on it.
    • Suggestions from Judy who is the lead of this AB priority on Next Steps of Next Big Thing
  1. Categorize topics and make a status check of the 21 proposed technical topics. Mark those which are not well-staffed or need a push in Rec track.
  2. Summarize a whole topics analysis chart in Wiki to fill in the next step proposal, with who, when and where.
  3. W3C to allocate resources to support the development of the decided topics

Task 9: Scope of the W3C


  • Goal: To consider what the scope of the W3C should be.
  • Description: The web has existed for nearly three decades and the W3C for a little less. Both the web and the W3C have changed over that time and we now want to find out whether we (the W3C membership) have a common understanding of what the scope of the W3C might be.
  • Deliverables: Proposed definition of scope of the W3C.

The first step is to gather information by:

  • Looking at documents published to /TR over the past 20 years.
  • Looking at existing areas of work (WG and IG).
  • Talking with members from different industries, verticals and interests to get a qualitative sense of where we are.
  • Looking at what's incubating (WG and CG).

Current Work areas in W3C

Web for all

WG deliverables
Accessibility Guidelines, ARIA, Education and outreach, Web app security, Web Payment Security, Web Authentication
Review (and resultant deliverables)
APA, I18n, Privacy, Patents and Standards

Browser Web

Testing and Tools, (CSS), Pointer Events, Service Workers, SVG, Fonts, Performance, RTC, WebAssembly, Web Applications (assorted APIs etc), Devices and Sensors
HTML, DOM, microdata

Information management

Dataset Exchange, JSON-LD, DID, Verifiable Credentials, spatial data, distributed tracing

Like browsers

Audio, Automotive, Media, second screen, Timed Text, Publishing, Audio, Web of Things, Immersive Web, Web Payments
Media and entertainment

Other stuff

Web & Networks

Top 20 "Active" CGs

(In order as per W3C's activity dashboard, excluding those that match existing Working Groups and process groups)

  • Web NFC
  • XProc next
  • Open Active
  • GPU for the Web
  • Maps for HTML
  • Chainpoint
  • AI Knowledge Representation
  • Bioschemas for llfe sciences
  • Interledger payments
  • Data Privacy vocabularies and control
  • Shape Expressions
  • MathML refresh
  • Solid
  • Xforms users
  • Improving Web Advertising BG
  • Hydra
  • Talent Marketplace Signaling
  • Entity Reconciliation
  • Ontology Lexica
  • Music Notation

Interviews about Scope

Tzviya spoke with several AC Reps about perceived Scope and desired future Scope. Here are key points from interviews:

  • Biggest problem: tension between desire for diversity of all types and high fees
  • W3C moves better than other SDOs, better tooling and infra – great potential in projects like packaging if work with IETF
  • RF policy is what makes us unique and the place that people want to work
  • Competition should not be with other SDOs. We should be looking to work with them, build better bridges.
  • Incubation is great but it can go too far: consider a point at which a spec "graduates" from incubation (whether it is WICG or other CG). There is concern that incubation skips key steps, such as use cases (at least in a transparent way)

Task 10: W3C member value


Describe the features of W3C that provide value to members, and which of those provide long-term value
Propose features, ask for input from members, and measure support from actual members about whether and how much they value each proposed important feature. These can be existing features of W3C or new initiatives, as long as such new initiatives can actually be delivered within the resources of the W3C
A document that can be used for member marketing and account management, that has been validated by real members' feedback.
Areas to explore
Create an executive meeting place in W3C, to ensure higher levels of corporate commitment.
Account management of small members: Send an automated email annually to all Members. Encourage feedback and address the feedback through ongoing dialog
Explore pricing as a means to encourage long-term membership
Add components to W3C's value which will ensure greater value to Members (e.g. certification)
Create a survey to solicit input from membership - what do they see as the value?
They should know! They joined for a reason. Let's hear that reason.
Once we know their reasons we can put together a new package which describes the Member Value.
April update
Draft Member value questionnaire has been created.
May update
See https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Group/ab/2020AprJun/0162.html
July update
The survey questions are available in this wiki
Survey closed with 35 responses. Results.
The 5 topics that scored highest on "This is one of the key reasons we joined W3C" are:
3. The ability to influence the direction for web standards. 19 votes
13. An opportunity to ensure that the web is open and royalty-free. 17 votes
1. Working Group output (for example, specifications) that will have a major impact on my organization in its industry.16 votes
9. A place where we interact with global experts that my organization would not normally interact with. 14 votes
12. An opportunity to make a contribution to the web infrastructure which is an important common good for society. 14 votes
Another metric, is to look at those that scored highest on either "this provides a lot of value to us" or "this is one of the key reasons we joined W3C. Based on that metric, the six highest scores are:
7. An inclusive and open working environment that strives to make sure that all comments, concerns, and suggestions are heard, respected, and handled well. 33 votes
13 (above) 31 votes
8. Make sure that web standards have the widest possible sets of inputs. 30 votes
1 (above) 30 votes
2. Working Group output (for example, specifications) that is required for incremental progress in my organization. 29 votes
12 (above) 29 votes
Many of the high-scoring topics speak to W3C's enduring values as a consortium (e.g. RF) and don't necessarily imply any new actions. But some of the areas where we may want to redouble and strengthen our focus include globalization, and inclusivity.
It is also instructive to see what choices did poorly. The three weakest value components (based on highest number of either "no value" or "no opinion" were:
14. An opportunity to interact with one (or several) of the W3C Host institutions. 23 votes (of no value or no opinion)
It is noteworthy that Members associated with MIT and ERCIM particularly saw little value, while there was more perceived value for Beihang and Keio
11.Early insight into new business opportunities for my organization. 13 votes
5. Tooling infrastructure for the creation of standards. 11 votes
These seem to validate recent W3M decisions about legal entity and reductions in SysTeam.
The survey asked about 10 suggestions for additional tasks that W3C could take on to provide additional value. Most of them were viewed as providing very little value. None of them were even close to the top scoring items listed above.

Task 11: W3C tooling


  • Goals: Develop a tooling policy for the W3C, and work with the SysTeam on key priorities
  • Description: We use a variety of tools both for the development of deliverables (e.g. Github, Bikeshed, ReSpec etc.) and for the operation of the W3C (e.g. Webex, IRC, the bots). A number of groups are experimenting with other tools as well (Slack, Converse, WebRTC and other call-in and conference systems), and we have some volunteer tools (Bikeshed was one once, and the Github-bot comes to mind). We need to work out what principles apply; what tools can groups use, that have suitable accessibility (both for international audiences, and in the traditional sense), transparency, longevity etc. We have some obvious long-standing problems (calendaring is one). We also have a discoverability question: if one is not a member of a WG but wants to investigate something, or help on a topic, can you find where conversations occur, decisions are made, calls happen, etc.?
  • Deliverables: A standing W3C Tooling Policy document, probably supported by guidelines and recommendations
  • Status: We plan to work on at least some aspects of this for Process 2021, in conjunction with work on Registries. There are also notes on the Tooling Considerations page