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Re: fixing real problems that people encounter?

From: catherine <ecrire@catherine-roy.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 19:24:42 -0500
Message-ID: <3e1508e7a50880b742167be8e501a446.squirrel@webmail.catherine-roy.net>
To: "Chris Beer" <chris@e-beer.net.au>
Cc: "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, "Ian Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>, "Danny Ayers" <danny.ayers@gmail.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "site-comments@w3.org" <site-comments@w3.org>, "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>
I think Jonathan makes an important point, though I can imagine an
uncomfortable one for organisations such as W3C.

Many community orgs are in a very unequal position when it comes to
participation in endeavors such as these. Big enterprise or even smaller
companies allocating human resources (not to mention other expenses) in
some of these projects, committees, etc., can practically write it off as
a charitable contribution or, at the very least, fit it in development,
communications or networking strategies, etc. Academia may have felt a
definite pinch in recent times but are still able to contribute to
projects such as those promoted at W3C and apply it directly to their own
work. Even open source development alluded to, while based mostly on a
voluntary participation model, is usually not based on an selfless model.
Most players I know in this field are investing in individual or corporate
goals (and to be clear, I am, not saying there is something wrong with

A majority of community orgs however are at a particular disadvantage
because their resources are so much more limited and their model is an
altruistic one. They do not have the infrastructure of most others
participating in these processes (processes that are far from easy or time
saving), the microsofts and Googles and government agencies, and
universities, etc. Even when community orgs manage to scramble together
the scarce resources necessary to commit part-time to these issues, they
are not equal partners in these processes.

This is not a new problem. And WAI is not immune. It is much more
complicated than just believing "if you build it, they will come".

Catherine Roy

On Thu, February 10, 2011 3:00 pm, Chris Beer wrote:
> Hi all
> On 11/02/2011, at 2:52, Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
> wrote:
>> Ian,
>> having taken the time to read your blog,
>> I agree that this does appear to be a belated start in the direction I
>> proposed to you and Tim, some years ago,
>> hpwever,
>> it may not be sufficient to suggest "there are no fees to participate"
>> given the status of members, and W3C staff, whom are presumably paid in
>> the main by someone  to participate;
>> it seems to me at least, fanciful to imagine that representative members
>> of the general public, might volunteer through "Community Groups",
>> and if they were nonetheless to participate, hardly on even terms.
> I think it is more than realistic to believe that many people will
> volunteer their time - both at the group level and personal. I only need
> to point to the open source development model for evidence in this regard.
> People like to give, and people like to connect.
>> One may note that WAI IG has been seriously distorted over the  years by
>> similar issues,
>> and a recent SVG IG  failed due to lack of participation.
> Is it perhaps then not an issue of whether people are will to volunteer,
> but rather an issue of people and groups not being aware that they are all
> free to participate?
> I must strongly disagree with the WAI example however - based purely in my
> own experience, the terms of involvement are very much equal - quite
> simply
>> Most damning in my opinion, is the W3C obsession with the document
>> model,
>> and the related failure to recognise the popularity of games,
>> and their vital rĂ´le in helping us model the complex data and threats
>> we face in the modern world.
>> regards
>> Jonathan Chetwynd
>> http://www.peepo.com
>> On 1 Feb 2011, at 15:25, Ian Jacobs wrote:
>>> I most recently blogged about this in September:
>>> http://www.w3.org/QA/2010/09/one_web_day_and_w3c_community.html
Received on Saturday, 12 February 2011 00:25:11 UTC

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