PWE/201609 TPAC

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TPAC session on Positive Work environment + Global Participation Enhancement

21 September 2016


  • Tzviya Siegman, Wiley, Digital Pub
  • An Qi LI, W3C/Beijing, Global Participation
  • Chunming Hu, W3C/Beijing
  • Amy van der Hiel, W3C/MIT
  • Florian Rivoal, Vivliostyle, CSS
  • Romain Deltour, DAISY Consortium, Digital Pub & WCAG
  • Frank Olivier, Microsoft Corporation, HTML & WebApps
  • Ann Bassetti, independent, Social Web
  • Antonio Olmo Titos, W3C
  • Dave Cramer, Hachette Livre, CSS / Digital Pub
  • Coralie Mercier, W3C/Sophia Antipolis, Communications
  • Vagner Diniz,, Brazil office
  • Judy Brewer, W3C/MIT, WAI

Minutes (by Amy van der Hiel)

  • TS: I am working at Wiley
  • AL: New area from new re-org, international, business
  • CH: support AL
  • FR: The topic is interesting personally. I volunteered to help make connections for BusDev, recruiting people. I saw how people can run into barriers in trying to join
  • RD: I am in Digital publishing and WCAG. I am here because of personal interest. I think an inclusive work environment is important
  • FO: I work in HMTL and WebApps
  • AB: I have been w/ PWET since its start. I have long been concerned about global participation. If you've been in a meeting with me you've likely heard me ask people to speak more slowly. I am interested to have pwet, be that - positive work environment. Something cultural. not about punishment and process. The code of conduct is not the issue. what other things are the issue?
  • FR: things shouldn't have to get to the reporting place
  • AT: I am interested to hear more about it. having lived in Japan I've seen the Asian side of things, It can be difficult to integrate
  • DC: I am in digital publishing. I am interested in the dynamics of discussions. I notice some people dominate discussions and others can be afraid to speak. Even groups that do wonderful work, have welcoming environments still have concerns about everybody's voice being heard.
  • CM: I can understand the CoC being interpreted as punishment. I am still interested in topic since the group started in 2008. I have been staff since 99. I used to be the co chair of PWE. I am now the head of Comm but stepped down because I am focusing in other areas
  • VD: I'm from Brazil, from
  • AB: I'm interested in how to organize this. I have heard different issues around organizing. it's a human issue. Some people dominate the talking more. It can be especially a global issue, it comes in more. 1/3 of our people here are not native English speakers. I know I'd be very quiet in a meeting held in French. Certain cultures are also more quiet.
  • FR: to Dave, in terms of being loud. I might be loud, but I think there are two ways of being scary: by decibel or you hear the % of market share behind (magnitude of the company they represent)
  • TS: I think tone is an issue more than volume. Tone is much more felt than volume. more than browser presence. For example. the other day [someone] gave a presentation. she had put in hours of work, no applause, she was just picked apart.
  • FR: There was no applause?
  • TS: no
  • DC: sound volume and
  • AL: another issue is recognition for contributions
  • TS: yes, acknowledgement
  • RD: on mailing lists, too. Sometimes the sheer volume. it may have doubled.
  • AL: I have heard from shy Chinese members. They are maybe not used to all email. So when they ask stupid questions. someone says "go read web page" this really hurts
  • FR: As a counter example - an exception not a rule. The LG from Korea joined the WG. They had a valid use case. not mature enough. Both sides showed good will. They wanted to learn and work w/ us. We showed they are not there yet. would need hand holding. luckily they got hand holding. When that happens it works brilliantly
  • TS: everyone needs hand holding
  • DC: they did everything perfectly from the start. well developed approach, they took it to the WG rather than doing it on they own. so many things self
  • FR: to tie to the Asian difficultly. calls are aways 1 or 2 am. sometimes it may seem there's no human to do contact.
  • AB: when I was on the AB, we had Asian members. there is no time zone that works when geographically set up. So we did alternating times during the year. Half the time the west coast got up 5 am or 6pm. that was convenient for Aisa. then other times it was afternoon for me but midnight for them. I can say it was very aggravating when Asian counterpart didn't show up for meeting. we didn't change month by month. that was too confusing.
  • TS: one other issue. maybe for AL, we have an issue attracting a large percentage of population - we don't have a lot of women. we have a diversity issue. Things not just to encourage women and people of color to join but actual outreach. at IETF they do outreach to join. they have a method to fund people. then the challenge becomes maintaining membership. Both how to make people comfortable to join and keep them comfortable to stay.
  • Ann: is travel covered?
  • Av: some of this might fall under general good behavior, politeness. a sense of openness and respect to others. there are drives to commit to not be on panels of all men
  • VD. a big issue is gender equality. at meeting like this one or a workshop. we should make an effort to ensure we will have always women in panels.
  • FR: I am a feminist, and I made this promise. and even so, I forgot about it for this panel happening tomorrow
  • TS: Dave and I have signed a pledge. 50% women speakers
  • VD:. There are procedure and process. We can go further. at the next w3c conference in Brazil. more than 1/2 women speakers. we just have to put effort in this
  • Av: is there an action we can have here to put this idea in front of w3c?
  • AB: it's a great vision to have. the difficulty is to find someone appropriately skilled. Vagner, for a conference can seek. I had to find someone at Boeing when I left. Adam (my replacement) is a man. the work would not appropriate for a women who doesn't know the role. working toward that goal, but not sure it's always realistic
  • AL: I wanted to ask a question. In the history of W3C. its there a document with the principle for diversity, participation, etc? For the positive work environment, for basic human things like teleconferences at tolerable working times.
  • CM: there is the code of ethics and conduct. you have to be decent.
  • AB: maybe we should review this for the revitalization
  • Av: there are now more best practices documents
  • AB: Judy Zhu worked on one, we've linked to. if we're trying to aim for diversity of male and female. international as well
  • FR: Ann, it does depends on who members send. In the gender composition of working group, I noticed between members and invited experts. invited experts were more balanced
  • JB; years ago I was invited to participate in a panel at Grace Hopper conference. it is massive now. centered around the theme of women in Tech. There were 4 standards organizations who spoke on gender balance. years ago we had done it. but it's frightening how predictable the ratio was. invited expert #s was stronger. For WG participant it was not as good. Chairs were less. at the AC level there was just Ann. and at the AB. For a long time there only one woman on w3c management. This is one reason we have PWETF. Things came out of that. I said when looking at a new WG, we should look more broadly for chair candidates. team and international side. they weren't even considering women. It was like an automatic screen out. it was really helpful to get a reminder. comparably qualified
  • FR: There was something like this in a search i was recently involved in. It didn't play out well
  • TS: chair training might really help.
  • AB: chairs are crucial.
  • JB: it is mandatory
  • TZ: since I've been a chair for two years it's not been done
  • AB: I think we can add this back to the thinking
  • AL: to be sure everyone is included I'd like to the keep queue locally
  • TS: there needs to be chair training. didn't know this for two years.
  • JB: staff needs to be trained too
  • AQ: we might put in a team day
  • DC: all this is pointing to one place we don't see to have untying. onboarding. huge problem. 3 years ago at a workshop Markus said to me: your company joined you're going to be in China next month. i'm dumped into TPAC. it's like what the hell is this? i'm in this 20 year old strong culture of the CSS WG. W3C has a defined culture. cultures, even. i survived because other members took care of me.
  • AB: team buddy.
  • TS: buddies are variable. we also are lucky because we have Ivan
  • FR: we've touched on gender. diversity. there are women around this table. few people of color. age we seem to do ok
  • Av: true diversity is important. We may, as TS suggested, look at better outreach
  • AB: we have very little representation from south america, africa, etc
  • JB: at a meeting in Tunisa. we meet wonderful people.
  • Av: Jeff gave us not just task to update documents, he asked us to think about our aspirational goals. what kind of place we want this to be to work at. This is an area where W3C could truly lead. Diversity is a very valuable goal
  • AL: From the hosts. we encourage warm up calls. fresh attendance to AC and TPAC. we do this for Chinese members. to help anticipate more culture shock when join. We can guide through tools rss agent. etc. We can introduce highlights in agenda. at the end we provide tips. culturally strong WG. sometimes we talk about werewolves. they feel it helps a lot.
  • AB: can we reuse these materials for everyone?
  • AL: we do it in China.
  • AB: could it be generalized?
  • AL: we could clone practice in all hosts. talk to locals. in own their own language. every season we come up w/ script to share. the feedback from members is pretty good. it's not so daunting. they got tips. trips, travel info. weather. it makes them feel "i'm welcome". to do globally
  • AB: i was a third grade teacher. helping people prepare for making materials
  • TS: I do something similar. I was copied in early email to Rob Sanders when I joined the WG, I used the same text. Now every time someone joins I send a list of things to know: email archive, links to irc. next meeting i'll send it you. You should be able to generate it automatically. the same way I get a note when someone joins the group.
  • AL: yes, some templates you can customize
  • FR: template gets sent.
  • AB: we could use a modernized version of guidebook. consulted and review. could be translated into local languages. at least it would be consistent. a werewolf introduction [laughter]. no, social stuff is huge.
  • TS: it's how you meet people.
  • AB: right now we've got a group who does art. maybe next will be music.
  • FR: another social thing they do in css. not intentionally but since a lot of us are friends. we go to AirBnB and rent an apartment. including newcomers helps
  • AB: though that could be to the detriment of w3c. we can't get rooms
  • FR: We do it at TPAC less. just individual group meetings
  • AL: it works for a f2f
  • DC: to follow up. going back to issues of invited experts. what CSS has done, we try to take care of invited experts during the meetings. if 7 go out and 5 are on expense. we it split 5 ways. Florian slept in my hotel room last time
  • FR: this time I am sponsored.
  • AL: it's good to be nice to the IEs. it's the small things.
  • TS: this is not so small
  • DC: it is evidence of the culture
  • AB: it's great to be supportive and friendly thought we've got a long way to go
  • TS: it's largely a friendly group
  • FR: for the chairs training and training for picking chairs. now we have to address AC. telling AC reps, don't forget to nominate women.
  • AL: we can put into on on-boarding. starting into next year.
  • CH: one of my observations. i can remember one or two years ago. Baidu did their first member submission. they didn't know who to participate. before they joined the WG there was lots of the job done by WG. They didn't know how to show their value, how to contribute. They came up w/ a member submission. They wanted to give solutions. They also asked the local team to help them contact the WG people to help to explain what happened. the idea in this case, after that they showed they proposal face to face. They debated, is it ok? Finally since this accepted for the people who proposed. they might think their ideas were ignored. they were not sure how to change situation. now they have a lot of do and they won't put more time on it. i think in this case, what can we learn? personally. 1. i'm not sure if we can work out best practice. how to participate on WG discussions.
  • FR: that might be hard right now. it would have been easier a few years ago. even the people who are used to this. others think incubation. first fight in w3c.
  • AB: all these things are true. maybe could have a W3C-wide TF on how to participate.
  • CH: they may get debate. we can alert them. if there are some good stories for them that might help. look at best practice.
  • AB: I also wanted to hear from people who have been quiet. Romain, Frank, Antonio?
  • RD: i agree w/ all these ideas. another possible idea. I am in a group, and when we have a F2F of the TF. where the chair has the habit at end of the meeting, to make a round. to ask for final thoughts. to appeal who those who haven't spoken to be sure they have chance to talk. Sometimes they feel compelled. some people may prefer not to talk to but this encourages them.
  • AB: we lose value if they don't speak, or aren't called on
  • DC: i did that on a call for ePub. especially in the phone context, the barrier can be high.
  • RD: it could be difficult depending on the size of the group.
  • DC: this was not for a small technical point. but the larger vision so it was worth it
  • AT: this feels very inclusive for me. Are there statistics? i don't think people think things are broken. they just want to know how to make things better
  • Av: industry standard. 25% women. we are below that in W3C Team etc.
  • FO: Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc do yearly diversity reports ( W3C might consider this.

end: who might join, participate in PWET (Roman, Tzviya, Florian, Antonio?)

Meeting notes (by Ann Bassetti)

This TPAC16 break-out session was a combined focus of "global participation" and "positive work environment". Overall, it was not a complaining session. Rather, there were good observations about issues, with some positive suggestions. Amy's minutes (above) were scribed more directly than these notes which are more random and summarized. We covered 3 general topics: A. Ways people dominate in a meeting; B. Diversity; C. Onboarding and Training.

A. People dominate in meetings by:

  • Being loud
  • Tone of voice
  • Corporate dominance
  • Talking excessively
  • Being dismissive of others' questions, ideas, or opinions
  • Having (or claiming) more experience, hence new people are shy to ask questions, or are told to 'go read the manual'
  • ... all of the above are exacerbated if not face-to-face
  • Using a time zone advantage (Either makes the meeting difficult to attend for some, or discussion / decisions have occurred before later time zones come online. Note also that people sometimes won't join a group if the current meeting time is in the middle of the night for them; and they are shy to ask the whole meeting to change.)

Amy van der Hiel: When a conversation 'goes sideways', it's helpful for the Chair or someone else to remind the group that politeness is important and expected

Romain Deltour: Valuable when, at the end of a meeting or topic, the Chair asks each person for his/her opinion. Quiet people will usually speak if called upon.

B. Diversity (e.g., gender, racial, ...) Tzviya Siegman: IETF gives grants to enable additional participation Vagner Diniz: We need to do more to help females participate, e.g., have a greater percentage of women on panels

Proposal: set guidelines to encourage all panels to emphasize gender and international balance of participants

Judy Brewer: We have a stronger diversity balance among Invited Experts, less among group participants, Chairs, AC reps, W3C Team and management.

Antonio Olmo Titos: curious about our diversity statistics, where are we now?

Proposal: encourage conscious consideration of diverse candidates. If there is not a concerted effort, it generally won't happen.

C. Onboarding and Training

General agreement that we could improve on Chair Training, AC Rep Training, Team Training and Onboarding, regarding issues and ideas to improve global participation and help create a more positive work environment at W3C.

Proposal: identify new members, to help them get involved

CSS takes care of it's Invited Experts ... (e.g., people will pick up their dinner bill (since IEs usually pay their own way and are not on expense accounts), or invite them to share a hotel room or house)

Dave Cramer: Onboarding should include social activities such as Werewolf training

Chunming Hu: Baidu submitted a member submission. It was confusing and frustrating when it was turned down.

Proposal: need Best Practices on how to participate

How to Make W3C Great Again (by Ann Bassetti)

This was a separate breakout session, chaired by Dominique Hazaël-Massiuex. But many of the points raised seemed pertinent to Positive Work Environment and Global Participation. Hence, I'm including my notes here.

  • Great that all W3C work is archived. But, there is now so much information, it can be daunting.
  • How many people attend any particular TPAC for the first time?
    • Noting that TPACs do not have "buddies", nor New Participant Intro, nor badges indicating newbie status (all strategies that have been used with success at AC meetings)
  • Would be helpful to have a Welcome to W3C Primer, with links to key info
    • Open Geospatial has similar problems. They have a 2-hour intro for new members. Plus this Guide to the OGC
    • Alternatives would be to identify people who've been at W3C for a long time. OR people who volunteer to be helpful to newbies.
  • Someone suggested rating Chairs -- widespread distaste for that idea. Suggest instead rating the meeting as a whole.
  • W3C has gotten much better since using GitHub