W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2012

Re: Fast-track new people to areas www-style need the most help with

From: Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:24:08 +0000
Message-ID: <CAMCRKi+RHcD-RZ5gO5SY7acXw5d6zDkeH+96x9bOD57C3EraZQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Cc: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>, "www-style@w3.org Style" <www-style@w3.org>
Thanks again for a bunch of good points :)

Actually, why don't you tell us? How did you land here?

Good question. I tried joining the html-wg and www-style a few years ago (I
was an invited expert on the HTML-WG, but considering at the time you
simply applied for it I never really understood how it was Invited, or
screened for expertise). Anyway, there was virtually no guidance on how
anything worked, and despite being able to receive email from the list, I
could never seemingly send it successfully. In short, I never made a
contribution because I could never figure out the damned system and there
was no clear documentation to help, and no one to ask because I couldn't

So after a week of trying stuff and failing to set my client up right
(because I didn't understand the mechanics of the list), I left.
Very disillusioned that even despite getting as far as "joining" it was an
uphill struggle at all points, and never actually worked. I wrote the WG's
off as being terminally unhelpful, incapable of offering appropriate level
help to designers, and focused on engineers and people with Unix Beards who
"groked that stuff" as second nature.

Why did I eventually try again? Because I remain as passionate about
getting the web right as I ever was, and thanks to projects like
http://movethewebforward.org/ there was finally a little clearer idea of
what could be done, where, and how. So I tried again, and this time I
managed to send an email to the list. Although not without huge pains and
confusion, as you may remember from my confused mails, broken threads, and
direct replies to people instead of to the list two weeks ago.

My frankly disastrous experience at trying to get involved and contribute
is why I'm so focussed on getting the dire state of the list's
documentation and help sorted out. I wonder how many people full of
goodwill have been turned away over the years in this manner, without
members of the lists and WG even knowing about it.

Considering we're all about clear and detailed documentation of CSS, we
absolutely and totally neglect to take that approach to the WG and W3C
systems themselves. It's almost impossible to learn how any of that works
until and unless you're "stalking the members" on a list. And observation
is not exactly a helpful or clear way of learning things as detailed as
that anyway.

A public FAQ would be great but it also never hurts when joining a new
> community to not be in an urgent hurry to just do something and take the
> time to watch what's going on. You'll be much wiser and effective for doing
> so.

I hope that above makes it clear why I'm in an urgent hurry on the
organisational aspects.

> There are some good questions here and many are somewhat generic w3c
> questions; some are a bit puzzling: the spec's masthead lists its editors,
> for instance ?

That's great! I have never noticed, because when I'm looking at a spec I am
generally looking for information within it - I hardly ever look at the
masthead. Specs are written for implementors - not for designers. Designers
don't use them like implementors, in fact I strongly suspect they tend to
try and use them and then get confused - there is a very good reason why
the WHAT-WG have a version of the spec aimed at designers, which
is separate to the actual spec. I think designers would love to offer their
input on that type of spec, but asking designers to author an engineering
spec is a different thing entirely, and that skill-set crossover is
seemingly rare (I sure don't have it).

Much appreciated.

Likewise :)
Received on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 09:24:47 UTC

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