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SocialWeb charter take 3

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2009 23:50:58 +0100
Message-ID: <49ADB452.6020507@danbri.org>
To: public-social-web-talk@w3.org

Hello everyone,

I've been following these discussions from a distance, and it is great 
to see the enthusiasm here for getting a W3C effort moving. However I am 
a little concerned that some expectations are out of sync with the 
normal activities of a W3C Incubator.

With this in mind, and rather late in the day, I have drafted a new 
proposal for an Incubator XG on Social Web themes. It is in the Wiki and 
copied below. It is 100% new wording. As I was not in Barcelona, it is 
not as tied in to the outcomes of that meeting as it could be.

  http://esw.w3.org/topic/SocialWebCharterTakeThree

The basic idea is simple. Our charter should describe in high level 
terms what we expect to do, without promising things we can't be sure of 
delivering. Our main duty and central focus is a final report proposing 
a way forward based on a year's collaborative and investigative work. 
What we expect to do is have telecons for a year and send emails and 
collaborate to create documents (and perhaps code, prototypes, run 
experiments); however we can't realistically predict in detail which 
areas will get a lot of attention and work.

Unlike the current longer charter proposal, I try hard to avoid listing 
final deliverables in fine-grained detail. This is based on the 
experience of watching many ambitious efforts fizzle out due to 
unexpected workload, changes in employer priority, or fading attention.

I would rather we exceed initial expectations than fail to meet those we 
sign up to. It is better that we promise something that we can be 
confident of delivering - namely a final report at Month 12 - but do so 
in a document that outlines the basic tone of our activity. And I think 
that tone is important: we need to be lightweight, inclusive, and 
flexible. There are many many groups working on relevant technologies. I 
suggest that we simply try to connect to as many of those as possible, 
have them show up in the XG and talk about their work, goals, 
difficulties and successes in front of an audience of their peers. I 
believe that if we do this for a year, it will along the way give rise 
to many ad-hoc collaborations that we can't formally anticipate in the 
charter.

I do expect that many of the areas outlined in 
http://esw.w3.org/topic/UnifiedSocialXG will be reflected in the work of 
the group, and that this longer charter could form the basis of an 
overview / background document. But as a charter, I find it 
inappropriately ambitious for an Incubator group. We'd be lucky to get 
such a workplan finished in 3 years of a full Working Group. There is a 
lot we can do in a year, but I think it is mostly around providing a 
space where existing collaborations can be presented, reviewed, and 
connected up with related work from nearby groups.

I've copied my draft below. Comments welcome here or in the wiki, and 
preferably in public. I offer this charter draft for discussion; if 
enough people like it, and few enough dislike it, then I hope it can 
have some influence on the kind of forum we create here.

cheers,

Dan



  -----------------------------------

 From http://esw.w3.org/topic/SocialWebCharterTakeThree

Initial draft for discussion by DanBri, 2009-03-03. Feedback to 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-social-web-talk/ please...

See also prior work:

     *

       http://esw.w3.org/topic/UnifiedSocialXG
     *

       http://esw.w3.org/topic/SocialWebXGCharter
*

Social Web - a Community Crossroads

This is a proposal for a cheap and cheerful W3C Incubator group that 
will foster and track collaborations around standards for the Social 
Web. See http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/ for background on W3C incubators.

this is the draft charter proposal for discussion:

We are an Incubator group within the W3C community devoted to Social Web 
topics. These include describing and identifying people, groups and 
organizations in extensible and privacy respecting ways. They also touch 
on issues such as widget platforms (such as OpenSocial, Facebook and W3C 
Widgets), as well as new user-facing technology such as OpenID and 
OAuth. The group is concerned also with the extensibility of Social Web 
descriptive schemas, so that the ability of Web users to describe 
themselves and their interests are not limited by the imagination of 
software engineers or Web site creators. Some of these technologies are 
independent projects, some are at the IETF, W3C or elsewhere. Users of 
the Web shouldn't have to care. The purpose of this group is to provide 
a lightweight environment designed to foster and report on 
collaborations, rather than to attempt to anticipate detailed deliverables.

As a W3C Incubator group, our primary responsibility is to produce a 
final report summarising our discussions, and proposing a way forward. 
However we also expect that the members of our group will produce many 
other artifacts (proposals, code, mappings, research). Many of these 
will be developed in a W3C-hosted wiki. Others may be created elsewhere, 
with snapshots archived at w3.org for reference. At the discretion of 
the chairs, collaboratively produced work from members of the group may 
be proposed for publication on w3.org.

Our goal is to provide a forum through which collaborations relating to 
social web standards can be formed, and through which the results of 
practical standards-oriented collaborations can be reported and 
discussed. This is not a Working Group, although the members of the 
group are free to undertake work together and to report it and discuss 
it within the group.

Every 2 weeks, we will meet, either in irc or, sometimes, on the 
telephone (w3c's zakim bridge). An agenda will be circulated in advance 
by the chairs, and a scribe / reporter nominated. During the meeting, we 
will split our time between chasing up the actions that group members 
have previously committed to, hearing short reports-from-the-field from 
members who are actively creating, testing or integrating 
standards-based social web systems, and debating the priorites we, 
current w3c groups, and future W3C (and other) groups should have.

We actively seek collaboration and participation from the wider Web 
community. The chairs will strive to make sure that W3C membership is 
not a problem for independent, student and low-wage members, while 
noting that employees of larger companies are typically expected by W3C 
to encourage their employer to join W3C.

We will not be starting from scratch. We hope to hear from members of 
w3c groups such as the widgets, HTML5, Semantic Web, eGov, privacy, 
security and accessibility efforts. We hope to hear a lot from members 
of the OpenID, OAuth, PortableContacts and OpenSocial communities, as 
well as from those with experience evaluating the accessibility, privacy 
and usability aspects of these technologies.

Participation from the mobile web industry is critically important too. 
we expect widget platforms and their apis (eg. addressbook, geo/loc) to 
be key point of intersection between desktop and web widget platforms, 
and we may devote significant time to discussion of this work.

Other technology groups we hope to engage include microblogging (eg. 
twitter, laconi.ca), microformats, XMPP/Jabber. it would be nice if 
Facebook and similar sites could spare the time to talk here about the 
complex interplay between data portability and user privacy concerns. We 
expect active involvement from dataportability.org. It is important to 
note that each of these groups has a distinctive style and approach to 
collaborative work; for example, the Microformats effort is wiki-based, 
with minimalistic use of email lists and no telephone conferences. Since 
this incubator is designed to foster collaboration between groups, we 
may need to vary our communication tools depending on the current topic 
of discussion.

Our sole formal deliverable is a report, due at month 12, to w3c and to 
the web community. this report will cover:

     * summary of the entire technology landscape relating to social 
web, including protocols under development
     * summary of state of schema interop and extensibility between 
platforms and environments
     * summary of key user-facing problems with the current situation
     * proposals for actions (standards-making, code-making, workshops, 
discussion) to improve the situation

In addition to the final report, SocialWeb XG members are encouraged to 
form ad-hoc collaborations. If such efforts are to be considered the 
activities of the group, then the following criteria should be met:

     * XG discussions and collaborations are conducted in public
     * significant ad-hoc telephone / skype / IM discussions should be 
minuted, with public summary by archived email within 5 working days

A W3C-hosted wiki area will be identified to help support such activities.

In addition, members of the XG may be collaborating in other fora. These 
could be private, closed, etc. Nevertheless, the public results of such 
collaborations are of interest to the group, but will be treated as 
efforts external to the XG.

During 13 months of operation, the group is likely to meet 20-25 times 
at most. This schedule leaves room for most of the standards-related 
initiatives mentioned here to present to the XG. We hope to see a mix of 
in-depth presentations, technical reviews, and debates. The intent is 
for these to foster collaborative efforts (indicative examples: OAuth 
for W3C Widgets; Accessibility of OpenSocial; combination of RDFa and 
hCard/XFN; mobile addressbook APIs; internationalisation and 
inclusiveness of addressbook schemas) which can then report back to the 
wider group through the remainder of the year.
Received on Tuesday, 3 March 2009 22:51:42 GMT

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