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Goal of this page

This page is a work-in-progress to characterize several aspects of being a member of the AB

Language of the Process Document

The Process document defines the Advisory Board, outlining its the overall responsibilities and participation rules.

It also defines the role of an AB participant as acting in a personal capacity, emphasizing that AB members

  • do not represent their companies: they use their best judgement of what is good for the Web and the W3C Membership as a whole.
  • are expected to participate fully.

Values and Behaviors

All W3C participants are expected to adhere to W3C's Code of Conduct. But AB Members, as leaders of the community, have a special responsibility to be role models for this code.

Time Commitment

  • The AB conducts 4 F2F meetings through the year. Each lasts for three days. Locations are rotated around the world. Unless there is a significant conflict, all AB Members are expected at all meetings. When a conflict arises, AB Members are expected to dial in as much as they can.
  • AB members are also expected to attend the two Advisory Committee Meetings every year. Aside from participating in the meetings, it is an opportunity to interact with the membership.
  • The AB conducts 2 one hour calls every month (first and third Thursday) at 14:00 UTC.
  • The AB deals with many issues raised by the team, the AB, and the membership. It also reviews key material from the team and revisions to W3C governing documents. It is expected that an AB Member can devote four hours per week reviewing these documents.
  • The AB is responsible for managing the evolution of key W3C Governing Documents such as the W3C Process Document. It is highly desirable that AB Members participate in the W3C Process Community Group (which meets for an hour every other week) and stay abreast of key issues.
    • It is recognized that some AB Members might prioritize their AB time on other critical matters and not be among the most active on process evolution.

Speaking guidelines

There are speaking nuances that are important to respect for two reasons. First, AB Members while serving on the AB are supposed to represent what is good for the Web community and W3C Membership - not their particular organizations. Second, as senior members of the W3C community their opinions carry special weight when outside of AB meetings. Here are some guidelines.

  • During AB meetings
    • The basic assumption is that any opinion expressed in such a meeting is the opinion of the AB Member as an individual.
    • There may be times when an AB Member thinks it is relevant to express an organizational view. In that case, it should be explicit (either in words or from context) that the AB Member is speaking in a capacity different from their role as AB Member.
    • If your view in some other capacity (e.g. as an AC rep) differs from your view as an AB member - and that is likely to come out (e.g. if the AB approves something that you will object to as an AC rep) - then it is courteous to inform your AB colleagues in advance.
  • When speaking outside of an AB context
    • Don't use the phrase "on behalf of the AB" unless the AB has specifically asked you to send the message
    • When representing the AB, be clear that you are representing the AB
    • When not speaking for the AB you may judiciously, but carefully, make mention of your being on the AB. Here are some examples:
      • If you are making an observation which is far from the AB's business (e.g. a technical remark in a Working Group) there is no particular point in mentioning the AB affiliation.
      • If your point is influenced by being on the AB, you may mention that ("in my experience on the AB, I find that…")
      • There is no need to hide your AB affiliation
      • If you are discussing a point that may come up in an AB discussion (e.g. an item related to the scope of W3C) you must make clear that you are NOT speaking for the AB. Otherwise the point might be misunderstood as a widespread view within the AB.
      • You will be held to a higher standard, as a result of your elected status (e.g. the AB owns the process and shepherds the code of ethics and professional conduct, so one might presume careful adherence)

How to represent AB decisions

  • When formally representing an AB decision to others (e.g. email to AC-forum, presentation at AC meeting)
    • Express clearly what was decided and what was not decided
    • Make sure that all written material is shared with others on the AB and that there is time to comment
    • If time pressure prevents adequate time to vet material; as a minimum there should be a 24 hour comment period plus review by the AB Chair
  • When discussing an AB decision
    • Be respectful about the decision even if you did not support the AB consensus
    • Be respectful of all points of views, including those that did not gain consensus
  • When discussing an AB activity which has not yet reached conclusion
    • Emphasize that the work is an ongoing activity, not a conclusion
    • Emphasize that the AB as a whole is always looking for input (and if relevant point to the AB member-only GH repository)
    • It is expected that you share your material with the AB in advance
      • It is recognized that there could be extreme timing cases where sharing in advance is not possible.