Re: Director-less W3C

Hello David, all

On Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 7:27 PM David Singer <> wrote:

> Hi Daniel
> you clearly feel we went too far in assigning roles to the team/CEO/et-al.
> that seem to be normally done by them. I’d really like to know details of
> where you feel that.

I think they are several Director's duties that are not technical in
nature, e.g. all the mentions of Director calling for reviews, asking
input, or inform the AC, which should be replaced by the Team (not even the
CEO). Then they are a bunch of Director's duties that clearly in CEO's
realm: take disciplinary actions,  judging membership parameters, signing
MoU, inviting experts, etc. and then finally they are the Director's
technical architecture duties, which I think should be set apart from the
two others: deciding if some work is inline with W3C's mission, if a spec
is worth moving forward, if a team submission is worth publishing,
assessing a technical formal objection, etc.

Since we already have the TAG , maybe a Technical Director function could
be implemented as a subset of the TAG to take those technical decisions

> You mention two new committees, but really there is only one, and it’s
> built by combining two existing ones — can you clarify (in the GH issue
> ideally)?

In the version I read

There is the new super-committee / Council (TAG+AB) to control the now
all-empowered staff, and there is a new TAG Appointment Committee.
With a Technical Director function and the existing AC appeal, I don't
think we need the Council protection.
And whether or not we implement a Technical Director function, the new TAG
sub-committee seems way too heavy a procedure to put in place vs. its job:
selecting 3 participants from the "outside". The staff/CEO/Director selects
those today, and unless there is an issue with this system, it seems more
reasonable to transfer this task to the CEO, since it's more political than

> > On Jan 5, 2020, at 5:19 , Daniel Dardailler <>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Hello Jeff
> >
> > I've added an issue, couldn't find how to label it with the
> "director-free" tag though so I put it in the title.
> >
> > Wrt to the single person accountability, I understand the aim, but I
> think there is not enough distance between persons in our community to
> justify such a constraint, vs. the qualitative gain of having a few
> specialized accountable persons.
> >
> > It would be interesting, as a thought exercise, to re-run - with the
> various replacement models in mind, the few cases in W3C history where Tim
> had to "really" act as Web architectural arbiter, having heard all concerns
> and advises, and deciding publicly as a person, engaging his name, like for
> EME, Patent Policy.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sun, Jan 5, 2020 at 1:40 PM Jeff Jaffe <> wrote:
> > Thanks, Daniel.  Interesting points-of-view.  We've had some of these
> discussions and I similarly share some of the concerns about concentration
> of authority with the CEO.  Most reviewers have taken the point of view
> that it is good to have a single accountable person (who would delegate as
> you suggest), but your alternative is also credible and should be discussed
> as well.
> >
> > I'm a bit concern that your concerns raised in an email could get lost.
> It might be more effective to raise an issue in the process-CG GH
> repository [1] with the label "director-free".  That will ensure that this
> gets looked at through the process revision exercise.
> >
> > Jeff
> >
> > [1]
> >
> > On 1/5/2020 7:23 AM, Daniel Dardailler wrote:
> >> Hello all,
> >>
> >> the fate of W3C without Tim has been on my mind long before leaving
> W3C, so I'll give my 2 cents on the recent proposal.
> >>
> >> I'm looking at
> >>
> >>
> >> I'm concerned by two things:
> >>  - the added complexity with two new "committees"
> >>  - the power now residing in the CEO hands.
> >>
> >> On the second point, there are now hundreds of references to the CEO
> and Team as decision-makers and with the Team under full control of the
> CEO, this effectively puts all the process decisions into one person's
> hands, which could become an issue in the future if this person is not able
> to handle all this power correctly.
> >>
> >> I think we should try to categorize the current Director's functions
> along their level of Web technicality, draw a line, and give the most
> technical pieces to someone else than the CEO. Not sure to whom, maybe not
> a single person. You could argue that the CEO could delegate these (or
> whatever) pieces and create such a Technical Director function but I'd
> rather see this implemented transparently based on due process.
> >>
> >> On the first point, new committees, if there is such a TD function,
> then no need for a new W3C Council providing a higher authority for some of
> the ex-Director/new CEO decisions. Given the AC appeal mechanism already in
> place, and if the main technical items are separated, this should not be
> necessary.
> >>
> >> Same idea for the new TAG committee created to select the "Director"
> TAG seats: it should not be necessary with a appealable Technical Director
> function selecting them. And it would be better than a pure TAG co-optation
> procedure..
> >>
> >> So IMO having ome sort of  Technical Director function, or a Web
> Architectural Board, would effectively solve both the CEO power
> concentration and the added committees issue. Maybe this function could be
> implemented by a trio: one staff, one TAG, one AB, selected by each
> constituency for a given period, or maybe just one person, e.g. the chair
> of the TAG (since it's for Technical stuff). Or maybe by one TAG and a W3C
> CTO (from staff).
> >>
> >>
> >> Anyway, I also think someone should be assigned to do a quick external
> study on how other relevant SDOs implement their own Technical Director
> function/Arbitrage, and also how organizations (non-profit or commercial)
> deal with their structural issues when the Creator (of the technology and
> the organization) leaves.
> >>
> >> Take care.
> >>
> David Singer

Received on Monday, 17 February 2020 14:13:06 UTC