tantek.com

  1. Reforming the W3C Advisory Board

    on (ttk.me b/4Pt1)

    I am running for the W3C Advisory Board (AB) for one of four open seats on a reform and openness platform. If your company or organization is a member of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), please ask your AC Representative to vote (W3C member-only link) for myself, Chris Wilson, and Virginie Galindo in support of more openness and reform.

    In short, the W3C Advisory Board keeps track of W3C process issues (W3C member-only link) and ... manages the evolution of the [W3C] Process Document. It also advises the W3C Team on topics like licensing.

    I have participated in a couple of Advisory Board meetings by invitation in the past. I was asked to contribute experience and opinions related to more rapid and more open standards development practices. Though cautiously optimistic at the time, I have to admit that I have not seen as much progress as I'd hoped or expected. Community Groups with a more open license are nice but insufficient exception. The recently revised HTML Working Group Charter is another (more on that below).

    So with that experience, why am I running? Two big reasons.

    First, in the recent W3C TAG election, everyone who was elected was from the reform slate. The remaining unelected reformer was subsequently appointed. Politically, it seems the W3C membership and leadership are now more supportive of reform than in the past, top down, starting with the Technical Architecture Group.

    Second, there are additional reformers running for the AB who are dedicated to process simplification and more openness, in particular, more open licensing:

    If have you have W3C Member Access, you can read all nominees' statements. I'll update this list as I receive public confirmation from fellow reformers.

    From my experience interacting with the other existing/continuing AB members, I know that some of them do express a desire for simplification and are supportive of more openness, both in process and in the specifications we produce (e.g. with more open licensing).

    If we are able to elect a set of reformers to the AB, they plus the existing reform-friendly members have a good chance of effecting real change in the AB, and thus potentially the W3C as a whole.

    My official nomination statement is posted at W3C but as that link is member-only (no reason for it to be in my opinion), I'm republishing it here, openly since I wrote it. Pardon the third person perspective.

    Tantek Çelik is Mozilla's web standards lead and a 15 year participant in the W3C. Having contributed to working groups such as CSS and HTML, he has helped edit and produce several key Recommendations for the open web platform including: CSS 2.1, Selectors, and CSS3 Color.

    Tantek's contribution to open web standards began with leading the implementation of the Tasman rendering engine in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh, a watershed achievement of solid CSS1, HTML4, and PNG 1.0 support in the year 2000.

    In addition to W3C activities, Tantek participated in the development of vCard4 at IETF, contributes to the WHATWG, and co-founded the microformats.org standards community.

    As a longstanding champion of pushing for increasing openness in the methods and means of open standards development, he has both helped working groups (like CSS) do so, and has written extensively on the topic, e.g.: http://tantek.com/2011/168/b1/practices-good-open-web-standards-development

    Tantek hopes to bring his practical experience working with (and helping evolve) a variety of standards organization models and processes to the W3C Advisory Board, to improve and modernize W3C's processes accordingly.

    Tantek holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University and shares his thoughts on his personal website: http://tantek.com/

    There are two big changes in particular that I'd like to help make happen:

    • More open licensing. W3C Community Groups are allowed to publish with an open license (though a bespoke one W3C came up with). Official W3C Working Groups are not. My goal here is to have W3C adopt a standard open license (e.g. CC0 or CC-BY) for all specifications moving forward. Other modern standards organizations and communities like the WHATWG and microformats.org have already done so (with CC0) to great benefit (and no apparent downside). Just last week a new HTML Working Group charter was proposed that allows for the possibility of publishing HTML Extension Specifications with CC-BY. This is an excellent first step. W3C as a whole can benefit from more open licensing.
    • More open process. 15 years ago the CSS Working Group conducted the vast majority of its technical discussions behind closed doors, member-only mailing lists. Today the opposite is true, CSS is developed in the open, on open IRC channel, open wiki, and open email lists. I believe we can and should do the same for the process of running the W3C itself. Transparency in how we create standards is an end in its own right and the more we practice it, the more confidence, support, and trust we can build in a broader community of the work that we do.

    If you work for a member of the W3C, please consider asking your AC Representative (W3C member-only link) to vote for myself and Chris Wilson for the W3C Advisory Board (W3C member-only link). I'll update the list of reform candidates as I receive confirmation of their public positions, and link to their blog posts accordingly. Thanks for your consideration.