RE: Questions about the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)

Hi Phil,


Thanks for jumping in.  I think our community needs to continue to have
these discussions.


I'd like to examine your comments a little closer:


            benefits include: 
                    Eligible to participate in committees and task forces


Q: Committees and task forces to do what? The IAAP's current mission
statement states:

"The mission of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals
(IAAP) is to define, promote and improve the accessibility profession
globally through networking, education and certification in order to enable
the creation of accessible products, content and services."


At the risk of sounding negative, I read three action items there:
networking, education, certification (where education and certification seem
to be intrinsically linked), so, outside of a committee working on
networking, and one on education and certification, what other committees
and task forces could you envision for this association? (It seems that
currently the scope of this organization is relatively small and focused -
certification and education.) 


Happily open to ideas however (as I am sure is the current Board of


            "Examples of when if ever all the individual IAAP members would
ever vote on anything"


Article 6 of the Bylaws and Policies


            "Directors shall be elected by the members at the annual meeting
of the members, or as soon thereafter as conveniently possible."


It occurs to me that any association of professionals that comes together
would have, at its core, a key goal of the association reflecting the values
and desires of its membership - its community. This is why I am also asking
about who constitutes a voting member: if the only members who get to vote
are large corporations who purchase one of the corporate memberships, what
does that mean to the rank-and-file members who may not have corporate
backing? Will they have a say in how *their* association is run, or will it
be dictated to them by corporate overseers?


The association is not "selling" anything (except maybe it's going to sell
education packages - or should those packages be developed by and for the
membership, and shared freely amongst the members?), so there is no Profit
and Loss deliberations to consider (although financial management of the
association *would* be a consideration - they are managing *our* money and
dues after all). 


The association is not creating standards or policy for any group outside of
its own members (is it? not according to the mission statement) - with
perhaps the exception of a "certification" process which hopefully would be
recognized 'internationally' as a certification worthy of its name. Given
the importance of *that* effort to this association, I would hope that both
consensus AND voting would come into play.  


So I would think that ensuring that the right people are at the helm, to
ensure that the association DOES reflect the desires and will of its
membership, would be something the general membership would want to vote on
- I know *I* would want to do that.


            "For example, consider a tiered approach, like at the W3C, where
working groups are operated by chairs that try to reach consensus rather
than voting all the time." 


Interestingly, the organizational structure of the W3C is actually one that
I am quite well acquainted with. While the *work* of the W3C Working Groups
operate under a consensus model, there *is* an annual membership meeting
(TPAC - held this year in Santa Clara:,
where members of the Advisory Committee meet behind closed doors to discuss
W3C business, and where consensus and voting does take place. Minutes of
those meetings ARE NOT public, and are only available to the (paid)
membership of the W3C.


One aspect of the AC worth noting is that every paid member to the W3C has
one AC Rep (ergo, 1 vote), no matter whether they are
Microsoft/Google/Apple/IBM or WilliesWebWonders, a small 2 person web
development shop who chose to be paid members of the W3C. There is a certain
egalitarianism to that model that *could* be adopted by the IAAP, but
currently we don't know who gets to vote, or how the votes are counted.  And
outside of any work coming from either the "networking committee" or the
"education and certification committee", we really don't know today what
else *might* be voted on (but it is my guess at this writing that many would
want to have a "voting" say on a certification program and an educational


Again, I applaud the efforts to date to stand up a Professional Association
for our industry. The time is right to be doing so, and the need is readily
apparent. But like everything, the devil is in the details, and as I
investigate whether the IAAP is right for me, I will continue to ask
questions to get those details, so that I can make an informed decision.







From: Phill Jenkins [] 
Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 1:58 PM
To: John Foliot
Subject: Re: Questions about the International Association of Accessibility
Professionals (IAAP)


A few things to consider in this thread: 
1. By-Laws vs Member benefits 
2. Examples from other associations and consortiums 
3. Examples of when if ever all the individual IAAP members would ever vote
on anything 

1. IAAP Member benefits include: 
        Eligible to participate in committees and task forces 

I recommend including some level of "voting benefits" to the list of
benefits, but scope it (limit the scope with example) as in vote on
committees and task forces.  And give some example of when if ever the
general membership of the IAAP would ever vote on anything.   

2. Use example from other associations, such as the W3C 

For example, consider a tiered approach, like at the W3C, where working
groups are operated by chairs that try to reach consensus rather than voting
all the time. 

and distinguish between if and when groups of members that get to vote and
groups of members that don't vote - meaning the same members can vote and at
other times the same members don't get to vote.  So, although all members
get to nominate and vote on who gets to be on the Advisory Committee, only
members on the Advisory Committee get to vote on things the Advisory votes
on [smile]. 

        See the section describes general policies for W3C groups regarding
participation, meeting requirements, and decision-making. These policies
apply to participants in the following groups: Advisory Committee
<> , Advisory
n> , TAG
ion> , Working Groups
<> ,
Interest Groups
<> , and
Coordination Groups
<> . 

3. Examples of when all the IAAP indivisual members would vote on something?

I can't think of any. I've never heard of a vote of all individual members
of the W3C (companies get to vote once in a while, but not individuals) , or
IEEE members, or even the ACM members that I can remember.  I do get to vote
at the annual IBM Stockholder's meeting, based on the number of shares I
have - but that is a business model, not a democracy government model of one
citizen one vote.  At the annual stockholders meeting the deck is stacked,
but so is the vested interest.  Even as a citizen I do not get to vote on
everything - for example I do not get to vote at the Senate Committee
meetings or the local Citiy Council meetings.  I wouldn't expect IAAP
members to get to vote on something like raising the membership fee - that's
the job of the board and/or CEO and staff. OK, maybe, just maybe I could see
IAAP having a popularity vote on a new logo competition or something like
that. . . 
if we're talking about a scenario where there is an IAAP committee or task
force that can't reach consensus, and the chair has to call for a vote of
the members participating, then should all the members participating get to
vote, even if those members come from the same company, government,
non-profit agency, country,  or group of independent consultants? Yes, in my
opinion  becasue IAAP is not a consortium, but an association.   In the
W3C's process, the group of invited experts only gets one vote for their
group. In IAAP every individual member pays a individual membership fee.
The payment may come from either themselves or their employer pays for them,
or via your tax dollars, or by scholarship - however it doesn't matter who
or how its paid - its about whether the individual is a member or the
organization is a member.  Because the individual is the member
(representing themselves, not the company, not the government agency, not
the country they live in, not the non-profit, and not the group of
independent consultants) each member gets a vote, if or when ever one is
called. Which is what I think the by-law is saying. 
See W3C's guidance on 3.3.1. Managing Dissent 

Phill Jenkins, 

Received on Friday, 9 May 2014 22:01:15 UTC