HTML Accessibility Task Force Consensus Procedures

Status: This is a draft proposal to replace the current document, written by chaals for the HTML Accessibility Task Force facilitators and Team.

Revision information: $Id: $

This document explains the decision process of the HTML Accessibility Task Force.

There are often divergent opinions on issues before us. It is important that all views are expressed and considered but it is critical to our functioning that we can come to conclusions.

The Working Groups use their own procedures for how to handle the advice. Formal decisions of the task force are advisory and do not bind the sponsoring Working Groups to a particular course of action.

  1. Discussion on a topic proceeds until the facilitators believe that all expressed points of view have been heard and considered. In order to keep the task force moving on its topics, the facilitators normally hope to carry out discussion for two weeks, but may allow longer discussion time if necessary.
  2. When the facilitators believe that the group is ready to come to a decision they announce a call for consensus either by email to the html-public-a11y or as a Web-based survey. There must be a minimum deadline of three working days, and there should be at least seven natural days to respond.
    1. If no objections are received by the deadline, the draft decision becomes a formal decision of the task force.
    2. If objections are received but the facilitators believe the objections have already been considered and addressed and there is an overall consensus, the draft decision becomes a formal decision with objections of the task force. Objections are recorded as an appendix to the formal decision.
    3. If objections are received that the facilitators believe present substantive new information, or if the facilitators believe there is not a clear consensus in the Task Force they should reopen the discussion.
  3. Formal decisions, once finalized, are referred to the sponsoring Working Groups as advice of the HTML Accessibility Task Force.

Flowchart of the consensus procedure

During discussion on a topic, participants should raise objections liberally to make sure all angles are considered. However, when the facilitators issue a call for objections, objections should only be raised if the individual strongly believes the decision is the wrong one in spite of discussion, and the individual cannot "live with" the decision. Compromise on points that the individual considers suboptimal but can "live with" is an essential part of group decisions that must meet various requirements.

If a participant believes the facilitators have not exercised sound judgment in following this policy, they should express their concern first to a chair of one of the sponsoring Working Groups, escalating if needed to a staff contact of a sponsoring Working Group, and escalating if needed to the W3C Interaction or Accessibility Domain Lead.