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Re: critique: Outsider's Guide to the W3C


outsider s critique
On 10 Jan 2003 at 12:28, Jonathan Robie wrote:

> At 11:52 AM 1/10/2003 -0500, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> >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.

WGs often publish a Note when they've been working on something that 
for some reason they don't want to, or can't, continue with. This way 
what they did do is archived, should someone want to work with it.

> 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.

I agree. The other thing that isn't mentioned here is the networking 
effect of knowing who at other companies is interested in the work 
your company is interested in, and getting to know those people 
through working with them on a joint project (which is what WGs do).

> >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.

Whether email correspondence is archived as member-only or public 
depends on the WG, and thus those who take part in it.

Also, becoming an invited expert for those who really do know what 
they're talking about is usually not that hard, although this will 
depend on how big the WG is already. Someone who is willing to do 
some work for a 15-person WG is more likely to become an invited 
expert than someone who just wants to listen to the discussions in a 
70-person WG.

AFAIK, the TAG has a "recommend" role, where it will recommend a 
position on a technical issue. W3C WGs may disregard that position, 
but to get a document (such as a Candidate Recommendation) to be 
approved by the Director that takes a position the TAG does not agree 
with, the WG will have to show that they considered the TAG's 
position and have reasonable reasons for disagreeing with it. The TAG 
is also meant to be documenting the Web Architecture.

cheers,

Lauren

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