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Re: Fast-track new people to areas www-style need the most help with

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 11:31:36 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDCrDaxbxpTCfVEpjpjQvLNfBOSQQuJ8EZ1GYXRpRqAd+Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com>
Cc: "www-style@w3.org Style" <www-style@w3.org>
On Sun, Jan 15, 2012 at 9:31 AM, Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I wrote a post about my first week's experience on the list [1], and Tab
> Atkins Jr replied, clarifying what I think is a fairly obvious problem we
> have: A lack of sufficiently skilled people capable of editing the actual
> specs.

Note that, as Bjoern and Sylvain have pointed out, even with more
people writing more specs, we might not necessarily get more CSS in
browsers faster.  Writing a spec is only the first step - I pointed
out in the comments to your blog post that the review stage is often
slow, and then implementation itself has to happen.

That said, more editors is more better, to a degree.  I'd appreciate a
few more interested people skilling themselves up and helping out with
editting duties.  The process isn't linear - if there are more specs
ready for experimental implementations, an implementor may be
interested in one and work on it instead of working on something else.
 We've also got several specs that need attention in the form of
spec-bug-fixing (luckily, we recently gained Anton who's working on
some of the major bug-fix targets).


> So, how can we start to address that? For my part I'm new here and don't
> even know how I'd go about approaching this. I barely know anything about
> how www-style actually functions as a group/organisation/system because
> there's nothing explaining that.
>
> Let's assume I want to be able to help out at that level - how do I find
> out:
>
> * What do I need to know?
> * What skills must I have?
> * How do I learn the things I must in order to edit a spec and work with the
> group well?

Obviously, you need to know about CSS, both the language *and* the
practical implementation of it.  This is easier to achieve if you work
for a browser, but I learned it just by hanging out on the list and
asking questions.  My own programming background definitely helped.

If you actually want to write specs, rather than just contribute to
the group, you also need decent skills at technical writing.  I seem
to have acquired these skills organically, so I don't know how to
build them up if you don't already possess them.


> * Who do I talk to about this?

You don't - if you've proven yourself good and useful, one of the
group members may nominate you to join, and then we vote on it.  You
only need to be a WG member if you're an editor, though - contributing
to the group and offering review/criticism/ideas/etc can be done by
the public.


> * What is the process the group go through, from start to finish?

An editor comes up with an idea, presents it to the group in some form
(this varies from sketches to actual proposed spec text), the group
accepts or rejects it as a work item, and then it's an Editor's Draft.

>From there it's standard W3C process - regularly publish Working
Drafts until we can't get any more out of group discussion, publish a
Last Call Working Draft to flush out final review issues, get to CR,
build a test suite, and solicit implementations, deal with feedback
from this (possibly returning to LC if large changes are required),
then when it's "done" go to Proposed Rec to flush out remaining
issues, and finally stop at Rec.


> * Where are edits made (seriously, where do you edit a spec? How?).

We have instructions for that up on the wiki, but it's irrelevant for
the public, since only editors actually make edits to the specs.  (We
host specs on the W3C's CVS server, though we're planning to move to
either the W3C's Hg server or maybe a git server.)


> Much like I believe the public facing archive need a serious make-over (were
> I capable, I would help out), I think general information dissemination
> about how the www-style operates, and roles within it, could really do with
> making clear. I would gladly write this up in a web-page that could get
> hosted somewhere useful on the W3C - but I don't know that answers to do
> that (and nor do I know how to go about it, who to contact, what the set-up
> is, etc. That kind of illustrates my point all on its own).

Fantasai's blog post was pointed out in an earlier email as a good
description of how the WG works and its general process.  If you'd
like to feature it more prominently, just suggest how to do so!  We
recently completely redid the homepage <http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/>
and are still tweaking it.

~TJ
Received on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 19:32:33 GMT

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