W3C Change: Your Turn!

Published 11 years, 5 months ago

So recently, I shared a number of ideas for improving the W3C, the last of which (posted a week ago) was to transition from a member-funded organization to a fully independent foundation of sorts, one that was funded by the interest earned by an endowment fund.  Surprisingly, there seemed to be little objection to the idea.  That was the one thing that I figured would get some pushback, mainly due to the magnitude of the change involved.  I’m still interested in hearing any counter-arguments to that one, if somebody’s got ’em (thought they’d be best registered on that particular post, and not here).

The other thing I was expecting to see, but didn’t, was other people’s ideas for improvements to the W3C.  That was probably my fault, given the way I wrote the posts, which now that I look at them were set up more as soliloquies than the beginnings of a discussion.  While I think my ideas are good ones (of course!), I’m only one person, and I very much doubt I’ve thought of everything.

So what are your thoughts for improving the W3C’s effectiveness and standing in the field?

  1. I think the W3C could regain some lost relevance by helping to petition/encourage/hound given browser makers (Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, Opera) or other relevant parties (web server developers, for instance) to attempt an implementation of currently “paper-only” working drafts or at least specific parts of them. Ideally, this would be driven not by whatever member of the W3C thinks his/her pet project is most important and screams the loudest, but by a reasoned evaluation of what projects have the most potential for either fixing long-standing problems with the web-browsing/publishing experience or would help to move the web forward in a positive direction.

    This would give us some sort of testbed to work with the item and iron out the kinks. But more importantly, for features that prove genuinely useful, hopefully having one implementation would spur the other relevant companies to adopt the standard more quickly.

    I don’t want to give any concrete examples (for fear of my own “pet feature” prejudice), but

  2. Along similar lines to David Baron‘s thoughts, I believe the W3C needs to refocus its objectives. I think your first suggestion of improving the W3C’s connection to the web community is a very good idea; I believe it should extend to the larger software development, document management / workflow, and other communities that have been affected by the web. The W3C should not unnecessarily replicate work already being done by other reputable groups, and not seek to boil the ocean on its own. By choosing targetted areas to work on, particularly ones in which in has expertise or areas that no one is adequately covering, the W3C can be more productive, and thereby regain trust from the web community.

  3. While I’ve never been involved in the W3C, and my my knowledge is really mostly in the accessibility area, I think your proposals are a jolly good idea. It would be good to have individuals without a big corporate wedge behind them being able to contribute: it would also reduce the perception that standards are being “bought”.
    It’s a darn good idea, and I hope they are listening to you…

  4. I find it intriguing that this post especially hasn’t sparked off more talk.

    Is it because people don’t have any more ideas? Or is it because people have already begun to see the W3C as a lost cause?

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