Re: Seeking feedback from AB nominees on a few items

On Wed, 22 May 2013 01:02:41 +0400, Arthur Barstow <>  

> Hello AB Nominees,
> I am interested in your comments on two items ...
> 1. One of the things that is somewhat unique about AB members is they  
> are expected to "use their best judgment to find the best solutions for  
> the Web, not just for any particular network, technology, vendor, or  
> user" [1]. Since this implies AB members represent "everyone" including  
> non W3C Members, it seems somewhere between ignorant/remiss to at least  
> a tad bit hubristic, for the AB to continue to conduct its process  
> related discussions in a non-Public forum. To address this issue, I  
> propose:
> * All AB discussions related to W3C processes (e.g. the W3C Process  
> Document) are to be conducted in a Public forum (e.g. public-w3process  
> list).

I think that's a great idea. I created this group in the first place to  
enable discussion of the process in the clear sunlight, with the  
participation not only of those who get to decide, but of those who have a  
vested interest and may have a valuable contribution to make.

I note that in a few edge cases, discussion will not be free and frank in  
public. For those instances I prefer that the discussion is held in member  
space if that is good enough, or as a very alst resort archived in team  
space. If people resort to unarchived private threads for important  
discussions we missed the point of openness and transparency. But if  
people just default to something other than public, we are losing too.

(Having gone through the exercise a few times of trying to get permission  
to make a thread public after the fact, I usually prefer to err on the  
side of being public as a default - it saves a lot of effort...)

> 2. A few years ago [2] and again this week [3], some members of the  
> Advisory Committee discussed a proposal to change the AB to be  
> "self-selecting" i.e. to eliminate the voting. Unfortunately, those  
> threads are Member-confidential so if you can't read them, I can at  
> least highlight my comments on those threads (if you'd like me to do so).

I think many aspects of what the AB does don't need to be confidential. I  
seriously want to see the AB push more of its discussion wider, whether  
member or public, much sooner. I think in most cases it isn't a win to  
have the AB try to reach consensus without actually asking the membership  
- and in many cases (such as a lot of process considerations) public input  
would be helpful *before* the AB tried to decide.

But there is some level at which it seems W3C believes the votes of  
members matter, and pay attention to the people who were voted into the  
AB. If the AB becomes a hunting ground for "trolls" I expect the W3C  
management will simply stop trusting it as a forum for discussing things  
that are both important and somewhat sensitive, and will instead talk to a  
small handful of trusted confidants. Whether that is "each other", 3 or 4  
companies from a particular industry segment, a few people who are handy  
in terms of geography language and time zone, or some similar grouping, we  
(the members and the global stakeholders beyond those members) will have  
lost an important voice for telling management what they might need to  

If the membership think there is no point in electing an AB I would  
encourage them to take up your proposal until it gets a consensus. I am  
confident that an AC meeting that forcefully makes such a point will get  
their message across to W3C and the change can be made.

Equally, if the W3C Team doesn't pay much attention to what the AB says, I  
would encourage the AC to consider either reminding them that the AB are  
representatives of the AC or reminding the AB that they need to do an  
obviously better job - or both. I note that AB minutes are made available  
to the entire membership, in part to help them understand questions like  
this better. (And that in large part due to the efforts of one Arthur  

I personally think there is a role for an AB, although more transparency  
is one of the ingredients that would help it perform that role much better  
- in part by allowing it to focus better.



> I would appreciate if the AB nominees would please share their thoughts  
> on these two items.
> -Thanks, ArtB
> [1] <>
> [2]  
> <>
> [3]  
> <>

Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex         Find more at

Received on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 22:01:46 UTC