W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-qa-dev@w3.org > July 2006

Re: Leaving W3C QA Dev.

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 14:31:48 -0400
Message-Id: <85574201-91B6-402F-B2DB-321DF883EE07@w3.org>
Cc: public-qa-dev@w3.org
To: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>

Dear Björn,

I share many of your concerns. The W3C staff is aware of the
situations you describe and is seeking solutions both general and
specific. I expect others on the W3C staff will respond on
separate threads in the appropriate fora to other points you

You are correct when you say W3C "relies on volunteers."  Most of
the work of the Consortium is done by volunteers, be they
employees of a Member organization or independent contributors
like yourself. The full-time staff only does a small percentage
of the Consortium's work. For instance, the TAG was created so
that more volunteers could dedicate time to promoting
architectural consistency. The W3C Offices and volunteer
translators help W3C reach out to more regions of the planet.
And, of course, volunteers working with the staff on the
validators have succeeded in creating services of great value to
the community.

Yes, we rely on volunteers.

It is a serious problem, then, when a group or the staff fail to
be accountable to those who make contributions. A number of
forces can cause a group to be less responsive than we would
like, including the group's natural desire to move quickly, the
number of participants, the number of comments it receives,
divergent expectations with reviewers about what constitutes
adequate handling, and, in some cases, less staff coordination
than we would like due to resource constraints. We strive to find
a workable balance that will satisfy all parties, and when we
fall short, we evaluate what went wrong.

So what are we planning to do about the HTML Activity? The HTML
Working Group has endeavored to be accountable to commenters but,
as your email illustrates, it has not always succeeded. The
group, currently small, has received a large number of
comments. Responding to hundreds of comments requires time, but
timely responses are important. The lack of a response to a
substantive technical comment is unacceptable. The HTML Working
Group will need to review its processes for handling comments.

As you know, new charters for the HTML Activity are in a phase of
initial review by the Membership. Some of the anticipated changes
are designed to (1) change the HTML Activity so that browser
developers are better integrated; this is expected to increase
participation which, in turn, should help improve responsiveness;
(2) put more emphasis on input from content developers,
implementers and users; and (3) increase the priority of
connection with the validator community. I expect that the
charters will be publicly available in the September time frame.

What are we planning to do about the validators?  The staff cares
a lot about using and providing useful public tools such as the
validators. We are discussing the future of these tools
internally, with a commitment to more hardware and human
resources, and more involvement of Working Groups in the
development and maintenance of tools related to their
technologies. (My personal view is that the validators should
also connect to the TAG as part of providing assistance in "doing
the right thing" for the Web.) I agree with you that we need to
pay attention to the load on the servers as the usefulness of
these services increases.

The staff is devising additional changes to improve communication
with content developers, implementers, and users. I expect
proposals will be available following the W3C management meeting

Thank you again for your contributions to W3C, including airing
your concerns on this list, which also acted as a catalyst for
others to express their concerns. These blog entries and emails
are as valuable as many technical contributions as they enable us
to gauge how we are doing as an organization. I look forward to a
series of changes that will make your participation, and that of
others, as rewarding to you as it is important to W3C.

Tim Berners-Lee
Received on Friday, 28 July 2006 18:31:59 UTC

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