policies.html
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<!DOCTYPE html>
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<html lang="en">
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<head>
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<meta charset="utf-8">
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<link rel="stylesheet" href="style/default.css" type="text/css">
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<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=
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"http://www.w3.org/StyleSheets/TR/base.css">
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<title>3 General Policies for W3C Groups</title>
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<link rel="contents" href="cover.html#toc">
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<link rel="next" href="comm.html">
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<link rel="previous" href="organization.html">
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    <style type="text/css">
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      .rfc2119 {font-variant:small-caps}
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</style> <link href="https://www.w3.org/StyleSheets/TR/W3C-ED" rel="stylesheet">
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    <!--[if lt IE 9]><script src='undefined://www.w3.org/2008/site/js/html5shiv.js'></script><![endif]-->
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</head>
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<body>
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<div class="noprint">
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<div class="navbar"><map name="navbar-top" title="Navigation Bar" id=
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"navbar-top">
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<p>[<a accesskey="n" rel="Next" href="comm.html">next chapter</a>] &nbsp;
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[<a accesskey="p" rel="Prev" href="organization.html">previous chapter</a>]
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&nbsp; [<a accesskey="c" rel="Contents" href="cover.html#toc">contents</a>]</p>
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<hr></map></div>
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</div>
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<h1>Editor's draft proposed new W3C Process Document</h1>
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<h2>3 <a name="Policies" id="Policies">General Policies for W3C Groups</a></h2>
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<div class="toc">
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<ul class="toc">
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<li class="tocline3"><a href="#ParticipationCriteria" class="tocxref">3.1
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Individual Participation Criteria</a>
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<ul class="toc">
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<li class="tocline4"><a href="#coi" class="tocxref">3.1.1 Conflict of Interest
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Policy</a></li>
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<li class="tocline4"><a href="#member-rep" class="tocxref">3.1.2 Individuals
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Representing a Member Organization</a></li>
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</ul>
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</li>
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<li class="tocline3"><a href="#GeneralMeetings" class="tocxref">3.2
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Meetings</a></li>
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<li class="tocline3"><a href="#Consensus" class="tocxref">3.3 Consensus</a>
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<ul class="toc">
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<li class="tocline4"><a href="#managing-dissent" class="tocxref">3.3.1 Managing
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Dissent</a></li>
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<li class="tocline4"><a href="#WGArchiveMinorityViews" class="tocxref">3.3.2
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Recording and Reporting Formal Objections</a></li>
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<li class="tocline4"><a href="#formal-address" class="tocxref">3.3.3 Formally
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Addressing an Issue</a></li>
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<li class="tocline4"><a href="#WGChairReopen" class="tocxref">3.3.4 Reopening a
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Decision When Presented With New Information</a></li>
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</ul>
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</li>
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<li class="tocline3"><a href="#Votes" class="tocxref">3.4 Votes</a></li>
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<li class="tocline3"><a href="#WGAppeals" class="tocxref">3.5 Appeal of a
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Chair's Decision</a></li>
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<li class="tocline3"><a href="#resignation" class="tocxref">3.6 Resignation
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from a Group</a></li>
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</ul>
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</div>
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<!--NewPage-->
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<!-- this is for html2ps -->
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<p>This section describes general policies for W3C groups regarding
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participation, meeting requirements, and decision-making. These policies apply
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to <a name="participant" id="participant">participants</a> in the following
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groups: <a href="organization.html#AC">Advisory Committee</a>, <a href=
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"organization.html#ABParticipation">Advisory Board</a>, <a href=
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"organization.html#tag-participation">TAG</a>, <a href=
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"groups.html#wgparticipant">Working Groups</a>, <a href=
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"groups.html#igparticipant">Interest Groups</a>, and <a href=
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"groups.html#cgparticipant">Coordination Groups</a>.</p>
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<h3>3.1 <a name="ParticipationCriteria" id="ParticipationCriteria">Individual
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Participation Criteria</a></h3>
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<p>There are three qualities an individual is expected to demonstrate in order
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to participate in W3C:</p>
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<ol>
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<li>Technical competence in one's role</li>
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<li>The ability to act fairly</li>
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<li>Social competence in one's role</li>
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</ol>
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<p>Advisory Committee representatives who nominate individuals from their
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organization for participation in W3C Activities are responsible for assessing
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and attesting to the qualities of those nominees.</p>
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<p>See also the participation requirements described in <a href=
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"http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy#sec-Disclosure">section 6</a> of
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the <a href="http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy">W3C Patent Policy</a>
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[<a href="refs.html#ref-patentpolicy">PUB33</a>].</p>
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<h4>3.1.1 <a name="coi" id="coi">Conflict of Interest Policy</a></h4>
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<p>Individuals participating materially in W3C work <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> disclose significant relationships when those
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relationships might reasonably be perceived as creating a conflict of interest
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with the individual's role at W3C. These disclosures <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> be kept up-to-date as the individual's affiliations
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change and W3C membership evolves (since, for example, the individual might
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have a relationship with an organization that joins or leaves W3C). Each
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section in this document that describes a W3C group provides more detail about
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the disclosure mechanisms for that group.</p>
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<p>The ability of an individual to fulfill a role within a group without
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risking a conflict of interest is clearly a function of the individual's
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affiliations. When these affiliations change, the individual's assignment to
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the role <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> be evaluated. The role <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> be reassigned according to the appropriate process. For
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instance, the Director <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> appoint a new group
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Chair when the current Chair changes affiliations (e.g., if there is a risk of
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conflict of interest, or if there is risk that the Chair's new employer will be
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over-represented within a W3C Activity).</p>
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<p>The following are some scenarios where disclosure is appropriate:</p>
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<ul>
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<li>Paid consulting for an organization whose activity is relevant to W3C, or
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any consulting compensated with equity (shares of stock, stock options, or
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other forms of corporate equity).</li>
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<li>A decision-making role/responsibility (such as participating on the Board)
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in other organizations relevant to W3C.</li>
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<li>A position on a publicly visible advisory body, even if no decision making
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authority is involved.</li>
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</ul>
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<p>Individuals seeking assistance on these matters <span class=
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"rfc2119">SHOULD</span> contact the Team.</p>
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<p>Team members are subject to the <a href=
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"http://www.w3.org/2000/09/06-conflictpolicy">W3C Team conflict of interest
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policy</a> [<a href="refs.html#ref-coi">PUB23</a>].</p>
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<h4>3.1.2 <a name="member-rep" id="member-rep">Individuals Representing a
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Member Organization</a></h4>
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<p>Generally, individuals representing a Member in an official capacity within
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W3C are employees of the Member organization. However, an Advisory Committee
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representative <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> designate a non-employee to
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represent the Member. Non-employee Member representatives <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> disclose relevant affiliations to the Team and to any
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group in which the individual participates.</p>
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<p>In exceptional circumstances (e.g., situations that might jeopardize the
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progress of a group or create a <a href="#coi">conflict of interest</a>), the
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<a href="organization.html#def-Director">Director</a> <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> decline to allow an individual designated by an Advisory
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Committee representative to participate in a group.</p>
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<p>A group charter <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> limit the number of
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individuals representing a W3C Member (or group of <a href=
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"organization.html#MemberRelated">related Members</a>).</p>
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<h3>3.2 <a name="GeneralMeetings" id="GeneralMeetings">Meetings</a></h3>
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<p>W3C groups (including the <a href="organization.html#ACMeetings">Advisory
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Committee</a>, <a href="organization.html#AB">Advisory Board</a>, <a href=
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"organization.html#TAG">TAG</a>, and <a href="groups.html#GroupsWG">Working
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Groups</a>) <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> observe the meeting
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requirements in this section.</p>
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<p>W3C distinguishes two types of meetings:</p>
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<ol>
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<li>A <a name="ftf-meeting" id="ftf-meeting">face-to-face meeting</a> is one
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where most of the attendees are expected to participate in the same physical
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location.</li>
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<li>A <a name="distributed-meeting" id="distributed-meeting">distributed
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meeting</a> is one where most of the attendees are expected to participate from
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remote locations (e.g., by telephone, video conferencing, or <acronym title=
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"Internet Relay Chat">IRC</acronym>).</li>
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</ol>
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<p>A Chair <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> invite an individual with a
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particular expertise to attend a meeting on an exceptional basis. This person
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is a meeting guest, not a group <a href="#participant">participant</a>. Meeting
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guests do not have <a href="#Votes">voting rights</a>. It is the responsibility
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of the Chair to ensure that all meeting guests respect the chartered <a href=
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"comm.html#confidentiality-levels">level of confidentiality</a> and other group
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requirements.</p>
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<p>Meeting announcements <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> be sent to all
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appropriate group mailing lists, i.e., those most relevant to the anticipated
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meeting participants.</p>
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<p>The following table lists requirements for organizing a meeting:</p>
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<table summary=
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"Requirements for face-to-face meetings and distributed meetings" border="1"
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cellpadding="5">
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<tbody>
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<tr align="left">
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<th align="left"></th>
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<th align="left">Face-to-face meetings</th>
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<th align="left">Distributed meetings</th>
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</tr>
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<tr>
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<th align="left">Meeting announcement (before)</th>
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<td><span class="time-interval">eight weeks<sup>*</sup></span></td>
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<td><span class="time-interval">one week<sup>*</sup></span></td>
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</tr>
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<tr>
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<th align="left">Agenda available (before)</th>
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<td><span class="time-interval">two weeks</span></td>
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<td><span class="time-interval">24 hours</span> (or longer if a meeting is
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scheduled after a weekend or holiday)</td>
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</tr>
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<tr>
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<th align="left">Participation confirmed (before)</th>
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<td><span class="time-interval">three days</span></td>
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<td><span class="time-interval">24 hours</span></td>
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</tr>
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<tr>
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<th align="left">Action items available (after)</th>
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<td><span class="time-interval">three days</span></td>
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<td><span class="time-interval">24 hours</span></td>
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</tr>
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<tr>
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<th align="left">Minutes available (after)</th>
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<td><span class="time-interval">two weeks</span></td>
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<td><span class="time-interval">48 hours</span></td>
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</tr>
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</tbody>
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</table>
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<p><sup>*</sup> To allow proper planning (e.g., travel arrangements), the Chair
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is responsible for giving sufficient advance notice about the date and location
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of a meeting. Shorter notice for a meeting is allowed provided that there are
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no objections from group participants.</p>
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<h3>3.3 <a name="Consensus" id="Consensus">Consensus</a></h3>
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<p>Consensus is a core value of W3C. To promote consensus, the W3C process
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requires Chairs to ensure that groups consider all legitimate views and
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objections, and endeavor to resolve them, whether these views and objections
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are expressed by the active participants of the group or by others (e.g.,
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another W3C group, a group in another organization, or the general public).
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Decisions <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> be made during meetings (<a href=
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"#ftf-meeting">face-to-face</a> or <a href=
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"#distributed-meeting">distributed</a>) as well as through email.
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<strong>Note:</strong> The Director, W3C Chair, and COO have the role of
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assessing consensus within the Advisory Committee.</p>
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<p>The following terms are used in this document to describe the level of
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support for a decision among a set of eligible individuals:</p>
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<ol>
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<li><a name="def-Consensus" id="def-Consensus">Consensus</a>: A substantial
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number of individuals in the set support the decision and nobody in the set
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registers a <a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>. Individuals in the
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set may abstain. Abstention is either an explicit expression of no opinion or
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silence by an individual in the set. <a name="def-Unanimity" id=
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"def-Unanimity">Unanimity</a> is the particular case of consensus where all
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individuals in the set support the decision (i.e., no individual in the set
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abstains).</li>
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<li><a name="def-Dissent" id="def-Dissent">Dissent</a>: At least one individual
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in the set registers a <a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>.</li>
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</ol>
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<p>By default, the set of individuals eligible to participate in a decision is
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the set of group participants in <a href="groups.html#good-standing">Good
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Standing</a>. The Process Document does not require a quorum for decisions
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(i.e., the minimal number of eligible participants required to be present
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before the Chair can call a question). A charter <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> include a quorum requirement for consensus decisions.</p>
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<p>Where unanimity is not possible, a group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span>
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strive to make consensus decisions where there is significant support and few
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abstentions. The Process Document does not require a particular percentage of
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eligible participants to agree to a motion in order for a decision to be made.
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To avoid decisions where there is widespread apathy, (i.e., little support and
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many abstentions), groups <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> set minimum
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thresholds of active support before a decision can be recorded. The appropriate
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percentage <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> vary depending on the size of the
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group and the nature of the decision. A charter <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> include threshold requirements for consensus decisions.
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For instance, a charter might require a supermajority of eligible participants
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(i.e., some established percentage above 50%) to support certain types of
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consensus decisions.</p>
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<h4>3.3.1 <a name="managing-dissent" id="managing-dissent">Managing
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Dissent</a></h4>
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<p>In some cases, even after careful consideration of all points of view, a
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group might find itself unable to reach consensus. The Chair <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> record a decision where there is dissent (i.e., there is
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at least one <a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>) so that the group
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may make progress (for example, to produce a deliverable in a timely manner).
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Dissenters cannot stop a group's work simply by saying that they cannot live
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with a decision. When the Chair believes that the Group has duly considered the
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legitimate concerns of dissenters as far as is possible and reasonable, the
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group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> move on.</p>
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<p>Groups <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> favor proposals that create the
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weakest objections. This is preferred over proposals that are supported by a
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large majority but that cause strong objections from a few people. As part of
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making a decision where there is dissent, the Chair is expected to be aware of
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which participants work for the same (or <a href=
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"organization.html#MemberRelated">related</a>) Member organizations and weigh
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their input accordingly.</p>
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<h4>3.3.2 <a name="WGArchiveMinorityViews" id=
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"WGArchiveMinorityViews">Recording and Reporting Formal Objections</a></h4>
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<p>In the W3C process, an individual may register a Formal Objection to a
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decision. A <a id="FormalObjection" name="FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>
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to a group decision is one that the reviewer requests that the Director
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consider as part of evaluating the related decision (e.g., in response to a
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<a href="tr.html#rec-advance">request to advance</a> a technical report).
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<strong>Note:</strong> In this document, the term "Formal Objection" is used to
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emphasize this process implication: Formal Objections receive Director
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consideration. The word "objection" used alone has ordinary English
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connotations.</p>
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<p>An individual who registers a Formal Objection <span class=
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"rfc2119">SHOULD</span> cite technical arguments and propose changes that would
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remove the Formal Objection; these proposals <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span>
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be vague or incomplete. Formal Objections that do not provide substantive
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arguments or rationale are unlikely to receive serious consideration by the
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Director.</p>
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<p>A record of each Formal Objection <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> be
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<a href="comm.html#confidentiality-change">publicly available</a>. A Call for
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Review (of a document) to the Advisory Committee <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> identify any Formal Objections.</p>
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<h4>3.3.3 <a name="formal-address" id="formal-address">Formally Addressing an
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Issue</a></h4>
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<p>In the context of this document, a group has formally addressed an issue
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when it has sent a public, substantive response to the reviewer who raised the
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issue. A substantive response is expected to include rationale for decisions
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(e.g., a technical explanation, a pointer to charter scope, or a pointer to a
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requirements document). The adequacy of a response is measured against what a
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W3C reviewer would generally consider to be technically sound. If a group
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believes that a reviewer's comments result from a misunderstanding, the group
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<span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> seek clarification before reaching a
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decision.</p>
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<p>As a courtesy, both Chairs and reviewers <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span>
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set expectations for the schedule of responses and acknowledgments. The group
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<span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> reply to a reviewer's initial comments in a
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timely manner. The group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> set a time limit
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for acknowledgment by a reviewer of the group's substantive response; a
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reviewer cannot block a group's progress. It is common for a reviewer to
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require a week or more to acknowledge and comment on a substantive response.
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The group's responsibility to respond to reviewers does not end once a
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reasonable amount of time has elapsed. However, reviewers <span class=
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"rfc2119">SHOULD</span> realize that their comments will carry less weight if
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not sent to the group in a timely manner.</p>
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<p>Substantive responses <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> be recorded. The
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group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> maintain an accurate summary of all
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substantive issues and responses to them (e.g., in the form of an issues list
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with links to mailing list archives).</p>
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<h4>3.3.4 <a name="WGChairReopen" id="WGChairReopen">Reopening a Decision When
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Presented With New Information</a></h4>
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<p>The Chair <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> reopen a decision when presented
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with new information, including:</p>
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<ul>
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<li>additional technical information,</li>
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<li>comments by email from participants who were unable to attend a scheduled
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meeting,</li>
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<li>comments by email from meeting attendees who chose not to speak out during
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a meeting (e.g., so they could confer later with colleagues or for cultural
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reasons).</li>
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</ul>
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<p>The Chair <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> record that a decision has
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been reopened, and <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> do so upon request from a
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group participant.</p>
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<h3>3.4 <a name="Votes" id="Votes">Votes</a></h3>
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<p>A group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> only conduct a vote to resolve a
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<em>substantive issue</em> after the Chair has determined that all available
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means of <a href="#Consensus">reaching consensus</a> through technical
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discussion and compromise have failed, and that a vote is necessary to break a
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deadlock. In this case the Chair <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> record
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(e.g., in the minutes of the meeting or in an archived email message):</p>
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<ul>
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<li>an explanation of the issue being voted on;</li>
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<li>the decision to conduct a vote (e.g., a simple majority vote) to resolve
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the issue;</li>
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<li>the outcome of the vote;</li>
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<li>any Formal Objections.</li>
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</ul>
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<p>In order to vote to resolve a substantive issue, an individual <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> be a group <a href="#participant">participant</a> in
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<a href="groups.html#good-standing">Good Standing</a>. Each organization
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represented in the group <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> have at most one
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vote, even when the organization is represented by several participants in the
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group (including Invited Experts). For the purposes of voting:</p>
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<ul>
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<li>A Member or group of <a href="organization.html#MemberRelated">related
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Members</a> is considered a single organization.</li>
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<li>The <a href="organization.html#Team">Team</a> is considered an
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organization.</li>
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</ul>
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<p>Unless the charter states otherwise, <a href=
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"groups.html#invited-expert-wg">Invited Experts</a> <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> vote.</p>
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<p>If a participant is unable to attend a vote, that individual <span class=
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"rfc2119">MAY</span> authorize anyone at the meeting to act as a <a name=
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"proxy" id="proxy">proxy</a>. The absent participant <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> inform the Chair in writing who is acting as proxy, with
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written instructions on the use of the proxy. For a Working Group or Interest
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Group, see the related requirements regarding an individual who attends a
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meeting as a <a href="groups.html#mtg-substitute">substitute</a> for a
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participant.</p>
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<p>A group <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> vote for other purposes than to
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resolve a substantive issue. For instance, the Chair often conducts a "straw
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poll" vote as a means of determining whether there is consensus about a
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potential decision.</p>
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<p>A group <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> also vote to make a process
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decision. For example, it is appropriate to decide by simple majority whether
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to hold a meeting in San Francisco or San Jose (there's not much difference
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geographically). When simple majority votes are used to decide minor issues,
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the minority are <span class="rfc2119">NOT REQUIRED</span> to state the reasons
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for their dissent, and the group is <span class="rfc2119">NOT REQUIRED</span>
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to record individual votes.</p>
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<p>A group charter <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> include formal voting
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procedures (e.g., quorum or threshold requirements) for making decisions about
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substantive issues.</p>
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<p>Procedures for <a href="acreview.html#ACVotes">Advisory Committee votes</a>
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are described separately.</p>
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<h3>3.5 <a name="WGAppeals" id="WGAppeals">Appeal of a Chair's
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Decision</a></h3>
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<p>Groups resolve issues through dialog. Individuals who disagree strongly with
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a decision <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> register with the Chair any
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<a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objections</a> (e.g., to a decision made as
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the result of a <a href="#Votes">vote</a>).</p>
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<p>When group participants believe that their concerns are not being duly
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considered by the group, they <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> ask the <a href=
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"organization.html#def-Director">Director</a> (for representatives of a Member
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organization, via their Advisory Committee representative) to confirm or deny
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the decision. The participants <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> also make
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their requests known to the <a href="groups.html#TeamContact">Team Contact</a>.
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The Team Contact <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> inform the Director when a
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group participant has raised concerns about due process.</p>
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<p>Any requests to the Director to confirm a decision <span class=
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"rfc2119">MUST</span> include a summary of the issue (whether technical or
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procedural), decision, and rationale for the objection. All counter-arguments,
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rationales, and decisions <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> be recorded.</p>
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<p>Procedures for <a href="acreview.html#ACAppeal">Advisory Committee
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appeals</a> are described separately.</p>
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<h3>3.6 <a name="resignation" id="resignation">Resignation from a
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Group</a></h3>
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<p>A W3C Member or Invited Expert <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> resign from
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a group. The Team will establish administrative procedures for resignation. See
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section 4.2. of the <a href="http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy">W3C
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Patent Policy</a> [<a href="refs.html#ref-patentpolicy">PUB33</a>] for
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information about obligations remaining after resignation from certain
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groups.</p>
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<div class="noprint">
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<div class="navbar"><map name="navbar-bottom" title="Navigation Bar" id=
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"navbar-bottom">
97
18cca5e3bf7a Mechanical conversions to HTML5 (i.e. without adding real HTML5 semantics)
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<hr>
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<p>[<a accesskey="n" rel="Next" href="comm.html">next chapter</a>] &nbsp;
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[<a accesskey="p" rel="Prev" href="organization.html">previous chapter</a>]
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&nbsp; [<a accesskey="c" rel="Contents" href="cover.html#toc">contents</a>]</p>
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</map></div>
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</div>
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</body>
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