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< Headlights 2014

Status: 2015-10-28 W3C creates Web Developers avenue and introduces Friends
The proposal below is thus Superseded.

This wiki was the home page for the Webizen Task Force.

[See the historic content that the task force developed between March and June 2014.]

The essence of the proposed Webizen program is to provide a way for individuals to obtain some benefits, possibly in exchange for a nominal fee. This task force will explore whether such a program is viable and, if so, the set of benefits.

Feedback is welcome, preferably by directly editing this document or by sending email to public-webizen@w3.org (archive). We are also interested in input from non-Members i.e. The Public.

To join the task force, subscribe to public-webizen@w3.org and add your name to the #Participants list.


  • Open and public: This task force is open to the public and will operate until @TBD. Come and build the Webizen program!
  • e-mail: We welcome feedback on the public-webizen@w3.org mailing list archive
  • teleconference: +1.617.761.6200, Code: 93249 (“WEBIZ").
  • IRC: irc.w3.org, port 6665, channel #webizen ([1] Pre-filled Web interface to IRC]).
  • Twitter: W3C_Webizen
  • Facebook: Webizen


At TPAC 2013, in response to a question from the floor (search for “individual membership“), the W3C Director requested exploration of individual participation in W3C. The current proposal, for a "Webizen" mode of participation, addresses this request. Note, the Webizen program is not a Membership program, although it should provide certain benefits and privileges. The idea of the program is to allow individuals to affiliate with the Web standards community by establishing a new designation of Webizen. This is not a Membership benefit and does not confer W3C Membership rights. Instead, we seek to make available a new means to congregate as a community.

To make it a meaningful gesture, a token fee of e.g. $100 US per annum (or equivalent in another currency) is suggested. To make this a fair request, a key design goal is to create a package of benefits which arguably are worth $100. We intend to establish a sliding-scale fee to enable greater global participation. At the same time, the program must not lose money, so we must design the benefits accordingly.


We can make a distinction between the goals of the W3C and those of the future Webizens.

for the W3C

  • Attract more stakeholders to the W3C community, including those who care greatly about the Web even if they may not be spec writers
  • Increase affiliation with W3C for this set of stakeholders
  • Get closer linkages between W3C spec writers, and the vast ecosystem that relies on W3C Recommendations
  • Increase general public review of web technology in general and W3C Reports
  • Provide a means for the general public to influence W3C agenda and priorities
  • Become a forum for discussing issues around W3C specifications, sharing solutions, providing feedback to W3C, and for W3C to share information out.
  • Enhance W3C's stewardship of the Web
  • Build appreciation for W3C among front-end developers

for the subscribers

  • Add a line on the CV that shows commitment to the advances of Web standards and W3C's recognition for the help individually provided
  • Get a discount for conferences
  • Influence the design of standards
  • [tbc] Meet (online and irl) the community of web standard makers


We need to have a longer discussion about mission. The focus to date has been around increased affiliation or inclusion in the W3C community. But other laudable mission statements have also been proposed. The working set of missions under discussion are:

  • Allow greater affiliation with W3C making W3C a more inclusive organization.
  • Increase the professionalism of the web community
  • Enhance education and training
  • Increase creativity of the web community

While the last three are truly worthwhile, the current set of proposed elements of the program do not address these candidate mission statements. So we need to decide: accept the broader mission and design a program to match, or start with the narrower mission.

Success criteria

It is important to verify that the values mentioned implied by "Goals" above (especially for W3C) are actually materialized. A worst-case scenario could be that the criteria mentioned below are achieved, but it also creates a lot of friction and problems for W3C's normal business (e.g., WGs).

  • Achieve aforementioned goals
  • Don't lose money
  • Attract a significant number of Webizens
    • Should be supremely confident about the first 100
    • Should have some idea where the next 900 will come from
  • Most Invited Experts should be persuaded to also become Webizens
  • [tbc] Don't affect the current membership


For Webizens to appreciate that the program gives them access to the work of W3C requires building some mechanisms that makes their input effective. By comparison there are two major methods in which Members have input into W3C, by assigning staff to Working Groups and in advising W3C on governance related issues through the Advisory Committee (AC). A significant part of the latter is AC Charter review for new work.

It has been an item of controversy to determine what mechanism we should use for Webizens. On the one hand, W3C already takes public input quite seriously. So even without a Webizen program there are already mechanisms for the general public to have input to W3C. Moreover, for actual participation in Working Groups, we already have a successful Invited Expert program (which has no cost for the IE). On the other hand, an earlier proposal - to essentially give a seat on the AC to some number of Webizens - received considerable pushback from the AC. Members point out that they receive AC review rights by investing a great deal in the consortium (through Membership dues, assigning staff to Working Groups, and IPR commitments) and so these rights should not be deprecated by giving similar rights to Webizens.

With no consensus on this key topic, we summarize in this wiki the closest we have come to consensus. The idea would be to get further feedback through the market survey below. Here is the proposal:

  • Webizens have no additional means to participate in Working Groups (i.e. the existing IE mechanism suffices).
  • Webizens do not participate in the W3C Advisory Committee.
  • Webizens are able to review W3C Charters. In truth, proposed Charters are public and can be reviewed today by the public. However, this rarely happens, and individual Members of the public might feel that their individual inputs might be ignored. However, Webizens will band together to form "Developer Groups" who provide aggregate input from classes of developers. Accordingly, the W3C Director would take this input very seriously; even if it is not a part of the formal W3C process. Sample developer groups could be of the form:
    • Front end developers
    • Developers who worry about accessibility
    • Developers who worry about privacy
    • App developers
    • FOSS developers

Target market and marketing study

The task force decided to reach out to W3C community with a questionnaire to be our marketing study, promoting it via Twitter and other means.

Julian will also reach out to additional resources to determine if we can professionalize the study.

The study will ask people if they would be willing to become Webizens. It will offer several candidate benefits and see which ones are of interest; which ones would make it worthwhile to become Webizens.

We will send the same poll to the AC to get their input as well.

Workspace for Survey

The plan is to tweet to W3C's followers that we are having this survey and provide the link to the survey. As encouragement responders could get some validator coupons. We ended up not leveraging coupons.



Administrative section

Task Force led by: Jeff Jaffe <jeff@w3.org>


  • Jeff Jaffe
  • Coralie Mercier
  • Veronica Thom
  • Alexandre Bertails
  • Amy van der Hiel
  • Ann Bassetti
  • Andrei Sambra
  • Aditya Punjani
  • chaals
  • JC Verdie
  • Robin Berjon
  • Virginie Galindo
  • Sébastien Desbenoit
  • Mark Sadecki
  • Daniel Glazman
  • Georg Rehm
  • Mark Crawford
  • Vagner Diniz
  • Julian Harriott
  • Yosuke Funahashi
  • Léonie Watson
  • Armin Haller
  • Olle Olsson
  • David Ezell
  • Christophe Guéret
  • Michiel Leenaars
  • Timothy Holborn
  • Daniel Davis


Meeting records and actions

  • 2014-10-03
  • 2014-09-05
    • ACTION: Coralie to get survey, once final, translated in W3C Offices languages
    • ... Subsequently cancelled
  • 2014-08-20
    • ACTION: Jeff to, based on this call, propose further questions to the survey.
  • 2014-08-01
    • ACTION: Julian will determine whether colleagues from market research firms could help with the market research study.