Lists Home |
Date Index |
At 11:52 AM 1/10/2003 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>It's (long past) time to revise the "Outsider's Guide to the W3C".
On the whole, I really like this document, Simon. It is informative and
helpful. I do have a few comments.
A Working Group can also publish a NOTE. In fact, the process document
says, "Authorship of a NOTE may vary greatly". It's also worth noting that
publishing a NOTE is at the director's discretion.
>Last Call Working Draft:
It might be worth mentioning that the reason for labeling a WD as Last Call
is that we really want people to look it over for any show-stopping
problems. Also, it is worth noting that the last call review period is
generally three weeks, so people should be aware that there is not a lot of
time to review these documents.
>The <http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List>members are a fairly diverse
>group of companies and organizations. The usual suspects (Microsoft, AOL,
>Sun Microsystems, and IBM) participate, as do large customers (like
>Boeing, Electricité de France, and the United States Defense Information
>Systems Agency), educational institutions and organizations (University of
>Edinburgh HCRC Language Technology Group, GMD National Research Center for
>Information Technology, OCLC, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and
>the HTML Writers' Guild. Membership allows organizations and their
>employees to participate on W3C projects and gives them access to internal
The above list does not even mention the largest single group:
small-to-medium software companies with 5 - 300 employees. These companies
make up the bulk of most Working Groups, and I think that's important for
understanding how the W3C actually works in practice. Customers are often
members of the W3C, but rarely very active on Working Groups, which is a
bit of a shame. Academic institutions sometimes *are* active to a
surprising extent. Also, industry consortia such as HL7 can be members,
which is interesting and useful.
Also, I think it is really important to understand that each member
organization on a Working Group gets only one vote, and that our consensus
process encourages us to come to agreement rather than decide on the basis
of votes if possible.
>Should I (or my company) join the W3C?
>W3C membership <http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Prospectus/Joining.html>costs
More importantly, really participating in a Working Group, while exerting
influence on one or two aspects that are important to you, probably takes
25% of your time. If you want to strongly influence a Working Group, count
on 50% of your time. That's generally a lot more expensive than the fees.
>Working groups conduct most of their discussions by email, though there
>are face-to-face meetings and telephone calls as well. All internal
>correspondence is archived in member-only areas, giving W3C members a
>glimpse of what went into a specification as well as the drafts and
Many Working Groups have one teleconference once a week, and meet
face-to-face about every two months. This has been true for all the Working
Groups I participate on, but some Working Groups have a different pattern.
Thanks for this useful resource!