author Ralph Swick <swick+git@w3.org>
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:35:44 -0400
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parent 101 ac2545a96f7c
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<h1>Editor's draft proposed new W3C Process Document</h1>
<h2>3 <a name="Policies" id="Policies">General Policies for W3C Groups</a></h2>
<div class="toc">
<ul class="toc">
<li class="tocline3"><a href="#ParticipationCriteria" class="tocxref">3.1
Individual Participation Criteria</a>
<ul class="toc">
<li class="tocline4"><a href="#coi" class="tocxref">3.1.1 Conflict of Interest
<li class="tocline4"><a href="#member-rep" class="tocxref">3.1.2 Individuals
Representing a Member Organization</a></li>
<li class="tocline3"><a href="#GeneralMeetings" class="tocxref">3.2
<li class="tocline3"><a href="#Consensus" class="tocxref">3.3 Consensus</a>
<ul class="toc">
<li class="tocline4"><a href="#managing-dissent" class="tocxref">3.3.1 Managing
<li class="tocline4"><a href="#WGArchiveMinorityViews" class="tocxref">3.3.2
Recording and Reporting Formal Objections</a></li>
<li class="tocline4"><a href="#formal-address" class="tocxref">3.3.3 Formally
Addressing an Issue</a></li>
<li class="tocline4"><a href="#WGChairReopen" class="tocxref">3.3.4 Reopening a
Decision When Presented With New Information</a></li>
<li class="tocline3"><a href="#Votes" class="tocxref">3.4 Votes</a></li>
<li class="tocline3"><a href="#WGAppeals" class="tocxref">3.5 Appeal of a
Chair's Decision</a></li>
<li class="tocline3"><a href="#resignation" class="tocxref">3.6 Resignation
from a Group</a></li>
<!-- this is for html2ps -->
<p>This section describes general policies for W3C groups regarding
participation, meeting requirements, and decision-making. These policies apply
to <a name="participant" id="participant">participants</a> in the following
groups: <a href="organization.html#AC">Advisory Committee</a>, <a href=
"organization.html#ABParticipation">Advisory Board</a>, <a href=
"organization.html#tag-participation">TAG</a>, <a href=
"groups.html#wgparticipant">Working Groups</a>, <a href=
"groups.html#igparticipant">Interest Groups</a>, and <a href=
"groups.html#cgparticipant">Coordination Groups</a>.</p>
<h3>3.1 <a name="ParticipationCriteria" id="ParticipationCriteria">Individual
Participation Criteria</a></h3>
<p>There are three qualities an individual is expected to demonstrate in order
to participate in W3C:</p>
<li>Technical competence in one's role</li>
<li>The ability to act fairly</li>
<li>Social competence in one's role</li>
<p>Advisory Committee representatives who nominate individuals from their
organization for participation in W3C Activities are responsible for assessing
and attesting to the qualities of those nominees.</p>
<p>See also the participation requirements described in <a href=
"http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy#sec-Disclosure">section 6</a> of
the <a href="http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy">W3C Patent Policy</a>
[<a href="refs.html#ref-patentpolicy">PUB33</a>].</p>
<h4>3.1.1 <a name="coi" id="coi">Conflict of Interest Policy</a></h4>
<p>Individuals participating materially in W3C work <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> disclose significant relationships when those
relationships might reasonably be perceived as creating a conflict of interest
with the individual's role at W3C. These disclosures <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> be kept up-to-date as the individual's affiliations
change and W3C membership evolves (since, for example, the individual might
have a relationship with an organization that joins or leaves W3C). Each
section in this document that describes a W3C group provides more detail about
the disclosure mechanisms for that group.</p>
<p>The ability of an individual to fulfill a role within a group without
risking a conflict of interest is clearly a function of the individual's
affiliations. When these affiliations change, the individual's assignment to
the role <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> be evaluated. The role <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> be reassigned according to the appropriate process. For
instance, the Director <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> appoint a new group
Chair when the current Chair changes affiliations (e.g., if there is a risk of
conflict of interest, or if there is risk that the Chair's new employer will be
over-represented within a W3C Activity).</p>
<p>The following are some scenarios where disclosure is appropriate:</p>
<li>Paid consulting for an organization whose activity is relevant to W3C, or
any consulting compensated with equity (shares of stock, stock options, or
other forms of corporate equity).</li>
<li>A decision-making role/responsibility (such as participating on the Board)
in other organizations relevant to W3C.</li>
<li>A position on a publicly visible advisory body, even if no decision making
authority is involved.</li>
<p>Individuals seeking assistance on these matters <span class=
"rfc2119">SHOULD</span> contact the Team.</p>
<p>Team members are subject to the <a href=
"http://www.w3.org/2000/09/06-conflictpolicy">W3C Team conflict of interest
policy</a> [<a href="refs.html#ref-coi">PUB23</a>].</p>
<h4>3.1.2 <a name="member-rep" id="member-rep">Individuals Representing a
Member Organization</a></h4>
<p>Generally, individuals representing a Member in an official capacity within
W3C are employees of the Member organization. However, an Advisory Committee
representative <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> designate a non-employee to
represent the Member. Non-employee Member representatives <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> disclose relevant affiliations to the Team and to any
group in which the individual participates.</p>
<p>In exceptional circumstances (e.g., situations that might jeopardize the
progress of a group or create a <a href="#coi">conflict of interest</a>), the
<a href="organization.html#def-Director">Director</a> <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> decline to allow an individual designated by an Advisory
Committee representative to participate in a group.</p>
<p>A group charter <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> limit the number of
individuals representing a W3C Member (or group of <a href=
"organization.html#MemberRelated">related Members</a>).</p>
<h3>3.2 <a name="GeneralMeetings" id="GeneralMeetings">Meetings</a></h3>
<p>W3C groups (including the <a href="organization.html#ACMeetings">Advisory
Committee</a>, <a href="organization.html#AB">Advisory Board</a>, <a href=
"organization.html#TAG">TAG</a>, and <a href="groups.html#GroupsWG">Working
Groups</a>) <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> observe the meeting
requirements in this section.</p>
<p>W3C distinguishes two types of meetings:</p>
<li>A <a name="ftf-meeting" id="ftf-meeting">face-to-face meeting</a> is one
where most of the attendees are expected to participate in the same physical
<li>A <a name="distributed-meeting" id="distributed-meeting">distributed
meeting</a> is one where most of the attendees are expected to participate from
remote locations (e.g., by telephone, video conferencing, or <acronym title=
"Internet Relay Chat">IRC</acronym>).</li>
<p>A Chair <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> invite an individual with a
particular expertise to attend a meeting on an exceptional basis. This person
is a meeting guest, not a group <a href="#participant">participant</a>. Meeting
guests do not have <a href="#Votes">voting rights</a>. It is the responsibility
of the Chair to ensure that all meeting guests respect the chartered <a href=
"comm.html#confidentiality-levels">level of confidentiality</a> and other group
<p>Meeting announcements <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> be sent to all
appropriate group mailing lists, i.e., those most relevant to the anticipated
meeting participants.</p>
<p>The following table lists requirements for organizing a meeting:</p>
<table summary=
"Requirements for face-to-face meetings and distributed meetings" border="1"
<tr align="left">
<th align="left"></th>
<th align="left">Face-to-face meetings</th>
<th align="left">Distributed meetings</th>
<th align="left">Meeting announcement (before)</th>
<td><span class="time-interval">eight weeks<sup>*</sup></span></td>
<td><span class="time-interval">one week<sup>*</sup></span></td>
<th align="left">Agenda available (before)</th>
<td><span class="time-interval">two weeks</span></td>
<td><span class="time-interval">24 hours</span> (or longer if a meeting is
scheduled after a weekend or holiday)</td>
<th align="left">Participation confirmed (before)</th>
<td><span class="time-interval">three days</span></td>
<td><span class="time-interval">24 hours</span></td>
<th align="left">Action items available (after)</th>
<td><span class="time-interval">three days</span></td>
<td><span class="time-interval">24 hours</span></td>
<th align="left">Minutes available (after)</th>
<td><span class="time-interval">two weeks</span></td>
<td><span class="time-interval">48 hours</span></td>
<p><sup>*</sup> To allow proper planning (e.g., travel arrangements), the Chair
is responsible for giving sufficient advance notice about the date and location
of a meeting. Shorter notice for a meeting is allowed provided that there are
no objections from group participants.</p>
<h3>3.3 <a name="Consensus" id="Consensus">Consensus</a></h3>
<p>Consensus is a core value of W3C. To promote consensus, the W3C process
requires Chairs to ensure that groups consider all legitimate views and
objections, and endeavor to resolve them, whether these views and objections
are expressed by the active participants of the group or by others (e.g.,
another W3C group, a group in another organization, or the general public).
Decisions <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> be made during meetings (<a href=
"#ftf-meeting">face-to-face</a> or <a href=
"#distributed-meeting">distributed</a>) as well as through email.
<strong>Note:</strong> The Director, W3C Chair, and COO have the role of
assessing consensus within the Advisory Committee.</p>
<p>The following terms are used in this document to describe the level of
support for a decision among a set of eligible individuals:</p>
<li><a name="def-Consensus" id="def-Consensus">Consensus</a>: A substantial
number of individuals in the set support the decision and nobody in the set
registers a <a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>. Individuals in the
set may abstain. Abstention is either an explicit expression of no opinion or
silence by an individual in the set. <a name="def-Unanimity" id=
"def-Unanimity">Unanimity</a> is the particular case of consensus where all
individuals in the set support the decision (i.e., no individual in the set
<li><a name="def-Dissent" id="def-Dissent">Dissent</a>: At least one individual
in the set registers a <a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>.</li>
<p>By default, the set of individuals eligible to participate in a decision is
the set of group participants in <a href="groups.html#good-standing">Good
Standing</a>. The Process Document does not require a quorum for decisions
(i.e., the minimal number of eligible participants required to be present
before the Chair can call a question). A charter <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> include a quorum requirement for consensus decisions.</p>
<p>Where unanimity is not possible, a group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span>
strive to make consensus decisions where there is significant support and few
abstentions. The Process Document does not require a particular percentage of
eligible participants to agree to a motion in order for a decision to be made.
To avoid decisions where there is widespread apathy, (i.e., little support and
many abstentions), groups <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> set minimum
thresholds of active support before a decision can be recorded. The appropriate
percentage <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> vary depending on the size of the
group and the nature of the decision. A charter <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> include threshold requirements for consensus decisions.
For instance, a charter might require a supermajority of eligible participants
(i.e., some established percentage above 50%) to support certain types of
consensus decisions.</p>
<h4>3.3.1 <a name="managing-dissent" id="managing-dissent">Managing
<p>In some cases, even after careful consideration of all points of view, a
group might find itself unable to reach consensus. The Chair <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> record a decision where there is dissent (i.e., there is
at least one <a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>) so that the group
may make progress (for example, to produce a deliverable in a timely manner).
Dissenters cannot stop a group's work simply by saying that they cannot live
with a decision. When the Chair believes that the Group has duly considered the
legitimate concerns of dissenters as far as is possible and reasonable, the
group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> move on.</p>
<p>Groups <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> favor proposals that create the
weakest objections. This is preferred over proposals that are supported by a
large majority but that cause strong objections from a few people. As part of
making a decision where there is dissent, the Chair is expected to be aware of
which participants work for the same (or <a href=
"organization.html#MemberRelated">related</a>) Member organizations and weigh
their input accordingly.</p>
<h4>3.3.2 <a name="WGArchiveMinorityViews" id=
"WGArchiveMinorityViews">Recording and Reporting Formal Objections</a></h4>
<p>In the W3C process, an individual may register a Formal Objection to a
decision. A <a id="FormalObjection" name="FormalObjection">Formal Objection</a>
to a group decision is one that the reviewer requests that the Director
consider as part of evaluating the related decision (e.g., in response to a
<a href="tr.html#rec-advance">request to advance</a> a technical report).
<strong>Note:</strong> In this document, the term "Formal Objection" is used to
emphasize this process implication: Formal Objections receive Director
consideration. The word "objection" used alone has ordinary English
<p>An individual who registers a Formal Objection <span class=
"rfc2119">SHOULD</span> cite technical arguments and propose changes that would
remove the Formal Objection; these proposals <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span>
be vague or incomplete. Formal Objections that do not provide substantive
arguments or rationale are unlikely to receive serious consideration by the
<p>A record of each Formal Objection <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> be
<a href="comm.html#confidentiality-change">publicly available</a>. A Call for
Review (of a document) to the Advisory Committee <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> identify any Formal Objections.</p>
<h4>3.3.3 <a name="formal-address" id="formal-address">Formally Addressing an
<p>In the context of this document, a group has formally addressed an issue
when it has sent a public, substantive response to the reviewer who raised the
issue. A substantive response is expected to include rationale for decisions
(e.g., a technical explanation, a pointer to charter scope, or a pointer to a
requirements document). The adequacy of a response is measured against what a
W3C reviewer would generally consider to be technically sound. If a group
believes that a reviewer's comments result from a misunderstanding, the group
<span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> seek clarification before reaching a
<p>As a courtesy, both Chairs and reviewers <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span>
set expectations for the schedule of responses and acknowledgments. The group
<span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> reply to a reviewer's initial comments in a
timely manner. The group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> set a time limit
for acknowledgment by a reviewer of the group's substantive response; a
reviewer cannot block a group's progress. It is common for a reviewer to
require a week or more to acknowledge and comment on a substantive response.
The group's responsibility to respond to reviewers does not end once a
reasonable amount of time has elapsed. However, reviewers <span class=
"rfc2119">SHOULD</span> realize that their comments will carry less weight if
not sent to the group in a timely manner.</p>
<p>Substantive responses <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> be recorded. The
group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> maintain an accurate summary of all
substantive issues and responses to them (e.g., in the form of an issues list
with links to mailing list archives).</p>
<h4>3.3.4 <a name="WGChairReopen" id="WGChairReopen">Reopening a Decision When
Presented With New Information</a></h4>
<p>The Chair <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> reopen a decision when presented
with new information, including:</p>
<li>additional technical information,</li>
<li>comments by email from participants who were unable to attend a scheduled
<li>comments by email from meeting attendees who chose not to speak out during
a meeting (e.g., so they could confer later with colleagues or for cultural
<p>The Chair <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> record that a decision has
been reopened, and <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> do so upon request from a
group participant.</p>
<h3>3.4 <a name="Votes" id="Votes">Votes</a></h3>
<p>A group <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> only conduct a vote to resolve a
<em>substantive issue</em> after the Chair has determined that all available
means of <a href="#Consensus">reaching consensus</a> through technical
discussion and compromise have failed, and that a vote is necessary to break a
deadlock. In this case the Chair <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> record
(e.g., in the minutes of the meeting or in an archived email message):</p>
<li>an explanation of the issue being voted on;</li>
<li>the decision to conduct a vote (e.g., a simple majority vote) to resolve
the issue;</li>
<li>the outcome of the vote;</li>
<li>any Formal Objections.</li>
<p>In order to vote to resolve a substantive issue, an individual <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> be a group <a href="#participant">participant</a> in
<a href="groups.html#good-standing">Good Standing</a>. Each organization
represented in the group <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> have at most one
vote, even when the organization is represented by several participants in the
group (including Invited Experts). For the purposes of voting:</p>
<li>A Member or group of <a href="organization.html#MemberRelated">related
Members</a> is considered a single organization.</li>
<li>The <a href="organization.html#Team">Team</a> is considered an
<p>Unless the charter states otherwise, <a href=
"groups.html#invited-expert-wg">Invited Experts</a> <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> vote.</p>
<p>If a participant is unable to attend a vote, that individual <span class=
"rfc2119">MAY</span> authorize anyone at the meeting to act as a <a name=
"proxy" id="proxy">proxy</a>. The absent participant <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> inform the Chair in writing who is acting as proxy, with
written instructions on the use of the proxy. For a Working Group or Interest
Group, see the related requirements regarding an individual who attends a
meeting as a <a href="groups.html#mtg-substitute">substitute</a> for a
<p>A group <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> vote for other purposes than to
resolve a substantive issue. For instance, the Chair often conducts a "straw
poll" vote as a means of determining whether there is consensus about a
potential decision.</p>
<p>A group <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> also vote to make a process
decision. For example, it is appropriate to decide by simple majority whether
to hold a meeting in San Francisco or San Jose (there's not much difference
geographically). When simple majority votes are used to decide minor issues,
the minority are <span class="rfc2119">NOT REQUIRED</span> to state the reasons
for their dissent, and the group is <span class="rfc2119">NOT REQUIRED</span>
to record individual votes.</p>
<p>A group charter <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> include formal voting
procedures (e.g., quorum or threshold requirements) for making decisions about
substantive issues.</p>
<p>Procedures for <a href="acreview.html#ACVotes">Advisory Committee votes</a>
are described separately.</p>
<h3>3.5 <a name="WGAppeals" id="WGAppeals">Appeal of a Chair's
<p>Groups resolve issues through dialog. Individuals who disagree strongly with
a decision <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> register with the Chair any
<a href="#FormalObjection">Formal Objections</a> (e.g., to a decision made as
the result of a <a href="#Votes">vote</a>).</p>
<p>When group participants believe that their concerns are not being duly
considered by the group, they <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> ask the <a href=
"organization.html#def-Director">Director</a> (for representatives of a Member
organization, via their Advisory Committee representative) to confirm or deny
the decision. The participants <span class="rfc2119">SHOULD</span> also make
their requests known to the <a href="groups.html#TeamContact">Team Contact</a>.
The Team Contact <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> inform the Director when a
group participant has raised concerns about due process.</p>
<p>Any requests to the Director to confirm a decision <span class=
"rfc2119">MUST</span> include a summary of the issue (whether technical or
procedural), decision, and rationale for the objection. All counter-arguments,
rationales, and decisions <span class="rfc2119">MUST</span> be recorded.</p>
<p>Procedures for <a href="acreview.html#ACAppeal">Advisory Committee
appeals</a> are described separately.</p>
<h3>3.6 <a name="resignation" id="resignation">Resignation from a
<p>A W3C Member or Invited Expert <span class="rfc2119">MAY</span> resign from
a group. The Team will establish administrative procedures for resignation. See
section 4.2. of the <a href="http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy">W3C
Patent Policy</a> [<a href="refs.html#ref-patentpolicy">PUB33</a>] for
information about obligations remaining after resignation from certain
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