Re: critique: Outsider's Guide to the W3C
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". > >http://simonstl.com/articles/civilw3c.htm On the whole, I really like this document, Simon. It is informative and helpful. I do have a few comments. >Notes: 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. Members: >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 >W3C discussions. 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 >money 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 >recommendation. 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! Jonathan
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