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Etiquette and use of the wai-gl listserv

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 14:22:39 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Cc: Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov, j.chetwynd@btinternet.com
Hello all,

The chairs and I created a proposal for etiquette on the list a while back 
but never submitted it to the group due to my error.  Recent discussions 
have prompted me to finally submit our proposal.  The issues that concerned us:
1. Personal insults.
2. Vague complaints without a clear statement of the problem or a proposed 
3. A lot of traffic that many people find overwhelming.

In an attempt to help remedy these issues, the chairs and I would like to 
submit a proposal for discussion.  Please note that we are not setting a 
policy with this proposal but asking for feedback.

The goals of the proposal are
1.  to help us more easily and clearly identify new issues,
2. to help us more efficiently resolve new issues,
3. to encourage people to think about a possible solution when raising an 
4. to decrease the number of personal attacks and other unwarranted behavior,
5. to cut down on some of the traffic,
6. to facilitate the discussion by techniques subgroups on this list rather 
than creating a separate list or lists to support these discussions.

In no way do we want to hinder discussion or prevent people from raising 
issues.  We are trying to move forward in a more organized manner so that 
we may work together more efficiently.

This proposal is divided into four parts:
A. Miscellaneous etiquette reminders
B. Raising a new issue for the entire working group to consider.
C. Carrying on a technology-specific discussion on the group's primary 
mailing list.
D. Summary

A. Miscellaneous etiquette reminders

1. Refrain from personal attacks and name calling.  Never forget that you 
are communicating with human beings, not computers. Do not attack people if 
you cannot persuade them with your presentation of the facts (cite 
appropriate references to back your argument). Remember that there are 
other people reading your messages. We reserve the right to unsubscribe 
anyone who posts abusive material.

2. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. E-mail is easily misinterpreted; a 
remark that was meant to be funny can come across as rude. Often, it helps 
show you are joking by adding some sort of annotation like <grin/> or 
<smile/> or <chuckle/> or HHOK (Ha, ha - only kidding) or  LOL (laughing 
out loud) or be creative and make up your own expressions.

3. This list has its own character, just like any "real" grouping of people 
(such as a party, or a meeting). The list functions best when people 
respect the character of the list. It's also good to respect the 
differences among list members and have a certain tolerance for our 
individual eccentricities.

4. This list is not meant to clarify 508.  Questions about 508 should be 
sent to the access board  http://www.access-board.gov/  This is not to ban 
discussions about 508 from this list, but to prevent members of this list 
from providing clarification on work that is not ours.  Where 508 has made 
progress or created a solution that we can benefit from we should discuss 
and learn from their experience and incorporate into our work as necessary.

B. Raising a new issue for the entire working group to consider.

In order for an issue to be added to the issues list, to appear on 
meeting  agendas, and to require specific resolution by the working group, 
it must be raised as described below.

Naturally, before it is clearly identified and articulated, the issue may 
be discussed informally--this policy is not intended to limit the freedom 
of the working group to discuss ideas, to raise questions and to express 
concerns. Rather, it sets a "threshhold requirement" which must be 
satisfied before an issue will be documented as part of the working group 
process and formally resolved by consensus, through discussion and, if 
necessary, a vote.

1. To raise an issue via the mailing list which is separate from any of the 
issues currently under discussion, start a new thread by sending a message 
with a unique, descriptive subject line, which is not in reply to any 
earlier message.

2. To raise an issue during a meeting, make it clear that you are intending 
to introduce a new issue so this fact can be documented in the minutes, and 
either (a) offer to send details to the list; or (b) explain your concern 
briefly so as not to interrupt the flow of the meeting. It is entirely 
reasonable to ask the minute-taker to flag a certain point as being of 
concern, so that you will be reminded of it upon reading the minutes, and 
will hence remember to document it on the mailing list.

3. The following details regarding your issue should be provided, most of 
which can be omitted when discussing the issue informally or mentioning it 
during a meeting, but all of which should be included in any message sent 
to the mailing list (though not necessarily in this order):
a. A brief explanation of the problem or concern which you think needs to 
be addressed. Try to keep it short and succinct, so that it can easily be 
added to the issues list and, if necessary, to a meeting agenda.
b. An indication of which guidelines, checkpoints and/or techniques are 
affected by this issue. You should also identify any other issues currently 
under discussion, on which your issue depends or with which it is closely 
c. A proposed change to the relevant document or documents, that would 
address your concern, or an explanation of what you think a good proposal 
would need to achieve (if you can't think of a suitable proposal, it is 
entirely reasonable to invite other members of the group to contribute ideas).
d. Any further explanation, elaboration or argumentation connected with the 
issue, or supporting your proposal, that you consider relevant. You may 
also wish to discuss possible alternative proposals and their merits.

Two or more issues may be raised in a single mailing list message, provided 
they are closely interrelated and the subject line is written appropriately.

C. Carrying on a technology-specific discussion on the group's primary 
mailing list.

It is expected that each techniques document will have a subgroup of people 
contributing to the discussions, proposing techniques, etc.  At this point 
we do not want to create a new list for these discussions, however people 
should be able to easily sift through these discussions to find the topics 
that interest them. Therefore, using the above guidelines, when creating a 
unique subject specify the language this refers to first.  For example:
[XHTML] Browser support information for the Q element
[CSS] Using relative units

D. Summary

1. New topics need new subject lines
2. If you raise a new issue, propose a possible solution
3. Respect each other. We are all on the same side.

Thank you.
wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
madison, wi usa
tel: +1 608 663 6346
Received on Tuesday, 24 April 2001 14:21:01 UTC

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