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Re: Participation in good standing

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 00:48:33 +1100
Cc: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Message-Id: <89E21D23-2FCE-11D8-8966-000A958826AA@sidar.org>

Hey Joe,

I don't think so.

W3C is a consortium with a set of rules ("The Process Document") 
designed to ensure that the massive variety of stakeholders get some 
kind of accountability, whether or not they are actual members of the 
Consortium. (This could be contrasted to many similar organisations 
with similar impact that are not prepared to make themselves so open). 
You can check these - they are published at 

The participants in good standing stuff has been in the rules since WAI 
began, and in every charter. If you join the group you are required to 
state that you read the charter - it's about a page and a half. Some 
minimal attention to what you are involved in might have been helpful 
to ensure this didn't come as such a surprise. In other words, to join 
the group you did explicitly agree to this already.

WAI seems to be very aware of the difficulty of participation and 
remaining in good standing. The rules require attending teleconferences 
or sending regrets, and being up to date on the mailing list. When I 
have been in good standing it has generally been through following the 
mailing list, and sending timely regrets. It isn't that hard to 
participate, and even if you aren't a member of the group you can send 
comments, knowing that the working group is required by "the Process" 
to address them.

And whatever the rules, WAI seems often to work hard to ensure that 
people can contribute valuable information. They are certainly not 
perfect at it, but they strike me as being as good as the available 

I share your concern about the narrow range of people who are in a 
position to contribute regularly. Representing an organisation where 
the primary language is spanish (the other 4 are Portuguese, Gallego, 
Catalan and Euskera/Basque) and where many people are not in a position 
to follow the work because of a language barrier, I understand the 
problems that the world faces in giving its input to WAI. But I think 
in this case you're "going off half-cocked", and that a single positive 
suggestion based on the facts would be more useful to those of us 
trying to deal with WAI from the outside who don't have a sinecured 
North American position...

"Throw out the plan" isn't a suggestion. There isn't "a plan", the 
status quo that you seem so happy about makes certain requirements of 
participants, and the thing that got you so excited is a reminder of 
those. It seems to suggest ways to reduce the commitment to the bare 
minimum for effective participation. So if the system works now, you 
seem to be making much ado about nothing.



On Tuesday, Dec 16, 2003, at 09:35 Australia/Melbourne, Joe Clark wrote:

> The Web Accessibility Initiative remains unable to see that:
> 1. the PiGS designation (participant in good standing) is inherently
> elitist and filters out anyone who cannot afford the time or money for 
> up
> to 150 hours a year of long-distance telephone consultations and
> face-to-face meetings. It is a method of *reducing* public 
> participation.
> 2. an effort to impose PiGS requirements now is a convenient yet
> suspicious method to limit participation in WCAG WG or Techniques WG or
> any other working group.

> 3. you can't polish a turd.
> 4. WAI is acting as though there is something resembling agreement to
> impose this requirement.

> *Throw out the plan*. There is nothing broken with the current
> participation methods that needs fixing, and the cure is worse than the
> disease.
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Tuesday, 16 December 2003 08:49:35 UTC

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