Re: Re-visiting how to charter WGs

Hi Harry

I think we could improve the process, but I am not sure I agree with all the problems you cite.

> On Aug 19, 2015, at 14:33 , Harry Halpin <> wrote:
> Currently, charters for new WGs are semi-shrouded in mystery. While the
> AC is notified when chartering begins, there is no way for the community
> itself to ask for a WG to be chartered without going through the W3C Staff.

Sure, one can present the idea and a draft charter to the community. What stops you?

> While sometimes this may be a good thing as the W3C staff successfully
> charters WG in the best interest of the Web, but in some domains the W3C
> staff is unqualified in terms of the modern Web (such as is often the
> case in security, such as the demand for the Credentials CG to be a WG
> [1])

I actually don’t think it’s a good thing at all to assume we need staff expertise in every area the W3C is working on. In fact, most similar bodies explicitly don’t have technical staff.

> or may have some other motivational structure for starting a new
> WG:  For example, the current process allows W3C staff to run
> 'skunkworks' research projects as Working Groups and for WGs that
> industry and users are not interested in (or even against) to be
> chartered, but a small persistent group of hobbyists (that may include
> W3C staff) are pushing for.

That’s what AC review is supposed to be for.  I agree, there is a small issue that we tend not to object (“I’ll let your group go ahead, and you’ll let mine”).

> Currently we have set a higher-bar at AC voting - but would a new
> transparent process help?

Sure.  I think that PLH set a good example recently of community drafting (good). We could also make sure that the charters have less boilerplate and bumf and are shorter and more to the point.

> I'm not sure of the details, but it seems with the amount of activity in
> CGs would provide empirical data, and there should be some objective
> threshold involving commitment in terms of implementation and real users.

I am increasingly moving towards “we don’t charter a WG until we have enough of a draft to indicate a spec. is at least possible, and likely to emerge alive”.

> I would like to see this issue taken up by the CG and AB.
> This ask by the Credentials CG to be a WG in this blog post [1] and
> their analysis [2] is a pretty good test-case. Without the W3C hat on, I
> see a good case for standardizing vocabularies around health care or
> education. I don't see much of a case here [3] for replicating the work
> of OAuth, JOSE, FIDO, and then layering a somewhat incorrect mental
> model of GPG with multi-origin key material (obviously a security and
> privacy concern) on the top of the Web just because it uses RDF.
>          yours,
>                harry
> [1] 
> [2] 
> [3] 

David Singer
Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.

Received on Friday, 21 August 2015 00:07:11 UTC