W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-archive@w3.org > December 2008

validator campaign and W3C accountability

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 09:48:17 -0600
To: www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, olivier Thereaux <ot@w3.org>, Ted Guild <ted@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1229701697.19205.85.camel@pav.lan>

copy of a comment I sent...

encyclo, this donation drive is an effort to fund the validator and
staff it adequately.

I started the validator as a developer tool for people working on HTML
specifications, but people increasingly rely on it in developing web
content; they expect it to "just work" and they expect friendly tech
support and so on, not just "here's the source; patches welcome!" This
is a somewhat different service than what our members pay their fees to
get, so we're looking for funding directly from the community that
relies on it (though there is some overlap).

I'd like to know more about the "deficiencies in terms of
accountability" that you see. I think money has a lot less influence
than you might think. It's much more a case of "he who does the work
makes the rules." W3C welcomes both volunteers and people who do this
stuff as their day job.

Consider the W3C patent policy. When W3C started a patent policy working
group, naturally big companies with billions of dollars in annual patent
license revenue joined the working group. But so did the FSF. Early
drafts of the patent policy weren't as strongly  Royalty-Free as many of
us liked, but like all other W3C working groups, that group was obliged
to publish early and often and to take into account public feedback. We
got over 2000 comments
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-patentpolicy-comment/2001Oct/thread.html ) and we read every single one. And today the W3C patent
policy is more supportive of independent open source developers than any
other standards development organization's policy.

How do you think W3C could improve in accountability? Who do you think
does it better? I'm confident ISO is no friend of independent web
developers. W3C, OASIS, and IETF are similar enough that each is better
and worse than the others in some ways; we tend to borrow the best from
each other; there's more variation between groups in each of those
organizations than there is between the organizations themselves. I like
to watch the wikipedia governance discussions; that's a fascinating

I'm not sure donations are the best way to fund the validator, but
there's no better way to find out than to try it, right?

I'm particularly interested to connect validator development back to the
specification development process. For too long, there has been a
chicken-and-egg situation: "we can't use new attributes because the
validator doesn't support them" vs "we can't add new attributes to the
validator because the validator team only has bandwidth to deal with
finished Recommendations, and those new attributes aren't standard yet."

I think the whole thing works best when there's an appropriate amount of
feedback between the community using the validator and the Working Group
developing the specifications.

If people don't trust W3C to be responsive, of course they'll take their
time, money, and effort elsewhere. I'd like to think that whatever W3C
did to lose your trust has mostly been fixed or is in the process of
being fixed. If you don't think so, I'd like to hear more.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
gpg D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
Received on Friday, 19 December 2008 15:50:12 UTC

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