PWE/201604 outline

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Ideas for PWE next steps, proposed by co-chairs Amy van der Hiel and Ann Bassetti, for consideration and comments. We are grateful for early feedback from the former chair, Coralie Mercier.


Outline for renewing Task Force, reviewing goals, vision, documents, and next steps

A. Renew the Task Force membership. Start meeting again.

B. Review current objectives, Code of Conduct, related documents and policies for gaps or 'needs work'. Develop new strategies and materials with training and tips on how to facilitate meetings and best practices for handling problematic situations.

C. Consider what is our aspirational work environment? Seek to ascertain what people do or don't like about working within W3C, and what would make the W3C *the best* organization to work with.

D. Communicate widely about this work. Develop strategies for ongoing communications and training.


The current members of the Positive Work Environment Task Force are listed at #Ref 1. We need to determine who now wants to be on the Task Force.

Proposed actions re: Task Force membership and participation

A.1) Send email to list (, asking if current members want to continue or not. [Completed; July 2016, by AnnB]

A.2) When there is a general announcement to W3C community, ask for new members.

A.3) Once the list of participants is updated, work with newly re-formed Task Force to determine work mode (e.g., meeting schedule, email list, priorities, etc.)

A.4) Clarify if this work will be done entirely within "member" space, or in public, or a combination of the two. We propose the new TF continue to work in a member space but have a public page and possibly a mailing list, but are open to alternatives.

B) CODE OF CONDUCT, related policies and documents

The current published set of statements and policies are:

-- Code of Conduct: #Ref 2

-- Glossary: #Ref 3

-- Procedures to follow: #Ref 4

-- Ombudsman process: #Ref 5

-- Education and Training resources: #Ref 6

-- Draft subset Code of Conduct for Conferences #Ref 7

This content is collected on the public Positive Work Environment home page: #Ref 8 , and there is a member-only PWE Task Force site: #Ref 9

Proposed actions re: policies, documents and web sites

B.1) Review current objectives, documents, open issues, etc. for gaps or segments which need editing

B.2) Proposal: add a section on facilitation and best practices, addressing topics such as:

   -- How does one recognize a problem?
   -- What to do "in the moment", when you perceive difficult behavior occurring?
   -- What responsibilities do participants have, according to their role
       (e.g., Chair, Team Contact, team member)?
   -- How does one recognize when one is "out of one's depth"? 
   -- What should you do in a situation that feels like you do not have
       the skill, knowledge, or experience to manage?
   -- How to distinguish between a mistake versus a recurrent pattern?
   -- Note that over-reacting can be as bad as under-reacting.

Note: work on a Best Practices for Meetings document was proposed to be done by the TPAC in Lisbon.


Besides the basic requirements and efforts to ensure a Positive Work Environment, what else could we add to make W3C the *best* place to do standards work?

Proposed actions toward achieving an AWEsome Work Environment

C.1) Conduct Information Interviews with current participants, in assorted roles, asking questions such as:

   -- What do you like or not like about working within W3C?
   -- What would make this a better environment for you?
   -- What are the kinds of problems you've encountered?
   -- How should we handle participants who are <bullies / obstructive / rude / ignorant / ...>?
   -- How should we handle technical disagreements?
   -- What could we do to encourage more diverse participation?
   -- What do you envision when you think of "more diverse"?
   -- Have you seen any particularly good techniques or resources in other places you've worked?
   -- ...
   -- <what other questions might be good?>

C.2. Compile the results of those interviews, and determine next steps based on what's collected.


This effort is only valuable if people learn and modify their behavior(s). Many don't know the Code of Conduct exists. Even more participants don't know how to apply these ideas in their day-to-day Working Groups. Some well-intentioned individuals don't recognize that their own behavior is at issue.

Proposed actions for communications:

D.1) Issue "basic" W3C communications -- to the public, members, and Working Group participants -- announcing (or reminding people about) the Code of Conduct, related content, and PWE Task Force.

D.2) Invite new participation in the Task Force.

D.3) Working groups that function efficiently are foundational to having a good working environment. To that end, encourage renewed Working Group training about how to use existing tools and techniques (e.g., rotating scribe list, speakers' queue in IRC, speaking slowly, ...), as well as ongoing chair support and education. Are there additional tip sheets, tools or supporting materials we could add?

D.4) Changing people's perceptions and behavior can take a long time. For this reason, we should map out a long-term communications and training strategy regarding these ideas. Examples:

  -- How frequently should we issue a communication (in any form) on these topics?
  -- What's the most effective way to communicate to participants in Working Groups?
  -- Should there be a basic set of introductory materials given to all new participants?
  -- Could there be a set of "reminder" materials given periodically to all participants?
  -- Although Community Groups exist with minimal support from the W3C,
      should we communicate these concepts to the CGs?
  -- Would it be useful to have a PWE “Tip of the Week”?
  -- Could we publish anonymized examples of good and bad behaviors?
  -- ...

D.5) Seek examples of similar communications and training from Members' companies, from which we might learn.

D.6) Consider adding new materials (in what form?), about visions for making the W3C an "AWEsome" work place (i.e., this effort is not only about how to deal with problems) -- proposals include developing a Best Practices for Meetings document (see Speakers Guidelines) -- proposed to be done by the TPAC


  • 1. Amy reviews (done)
  • 2. Amy and Ann make final adjustments and edits per Amy's review (done)
  • 3. We send to Coralie for initial feedback (because she's got so much experience with the topic, and is seeking some specific inputs from us as Comm Director) (done)

(update: to send to Jeff first, before bringing to TF, since we had an earlier discussion with him).

  • 4. Review with current Task Force
  • 5. Edit as appropriate
  • 6. Submit to W3M / Comm Team / Jeff Jaffe / etc ... in whatever sequence makes sense
  • 7. Announced by Comm Team
  • 8. Reactions & feedback from W3C Community
  • 9. Add new Task Force team members
  • 10. Make changes per considerations of feedback received
  • 11. Produce a "Chair Training" session
  • 11. ... what
  • 12. ... iterate ...


Current members of Positive Work Environment Task Force
Code of Conduct
Procedures to follow
Ombudsman procedures
Education and Training resources
Draft subset Code of Conduct for conferences
Public Positive Work Environment home page
Member-only PWE Task Force site