Communication and climate reset


It has been an interesting and challenging couple of weeks. Josh and I want to follow up with the group regarding some comments we have received and things we have observed in the group.

First off, we know that everyone on the group is very dedicated to our work. We also know that everyone is engaging in the work with the goal of bettering accessibility for people with disabilities through our efforts and the resulting documents we produce. It is natural that there are differences in opinion as to the best ways to proceed toward that goal, but we do need to make sure that we maintain a respectful and collegial atmosphere as we work through these differences, and as well once decisions are made.

We believe that it is very difficult for a group the size of WCAG to function without the occasional hiccup or even getting slightly off course. Some of the discussion in group meetings and some of the email discussion has caused some concern for members. Some group members feel that other members are being too forceful in advocating their views and may feel their inclination to engage stifled as a result.  Other group members feel inappropriately or indirectly targeted by sharp critiques.

To help the group reach its goals we feel that it is critical that everyone feel welcomed to raise ideas or comments. I know most people on the group well enough that I can comfortably ask what I may worry is an ignorant question or challenge a bold assertion, but that isn’t the case for everyone.  I hope that others on the list can chime in to share their support for hearing ideas and having regular engagement from all participants (I’m sure that many of us have stories about our first stressful interactions with the group of WCAG accessibility experts!)

Another part of the environment we are trying to have in WCAG relates to email communications and group discussions. We all have our passions and need to ensure that we keep ourselves in check in order to make sure that we are communicating in ways that respects others in the group and that respects the decisions of the group. We are all expected to not only be expert in our field but to demonstrate the social competencies needed to function as a part of a group. Josh and I will do our best to enforce this and be good models.

If anyone in the group has concerns about how the group is functioning, the group's work climate, or how the chairs are (or are not) doing their jobs, we would like to hear about it. Please don’t hesitate to let either of us aware of concerns or suggestions, or if you don’t feel comfortable talking to us please also feel free to speak to Michael.

We are happy to be working with such an amazing group of dedicated, passionate, and knowledgable people, and look forward to the difficult and exciting challenges ahead of us!


Andrew Kirkpatrick
Group Product Manager, Standards and Accessibility

Received on Saturday, 22 October 2016 01:43:06 UTC