Little tiny things that would make my W3C life better…
Those who contribute to W3C know that it is a real experience, mixing technical, human and procedural aspects. Trying to think about a better W3C, there a few things I’d like to share, hoping the next W3C Advisory Board will fix it –with or without me. As this requires several posts, here is the episode 1 season 1 on little tiny things that would make our W3C life better. And it is named ‘Ordering an orange juice at W3C bar’
Bars. We all know what it is to enter the first time in a bar, lets say in a new town, or even an unknown country. If this place is really really new, you don’t know what are the customs. You may wonder how to get your orange juice (or beer, or wine, or sake, or tomato juice, whatever you drink in bars). Can you get a table on your own, or will someone allocate you one ? Do you get served by a kind waiter, do you need to order at the bar, or do you place order from the electronic table itself ? Do you need to pay directly, or later. It may not be the most natural thing to shout ‘call me the director of this bar, I need to understand how things are ruling here’. In that case you may look at the others, try to read announcement, observing the ambiance. And that is part of the discovery adventure.
W3C. If you want to contribute in W3C, you may enjoy the same experience. When rambling from one working group to another, you discover different spirits (more or less rock and roll) but also different tools. Example. You wanna track bugs on a spec ? Several options. Use W3C tracker, suitable for issue, action. Use W3C bugzilla for bugs. Use github for everything. WABTC ! What a barrier to contributors. If you combine this with the fact that survival kit is not always provided, contributor may spend a lots of time understanding the working rules of a specific working group. They may call the director to get explanation about how things are ruling. But W3C should also help them to enter smoothly in the working group.
What to do to make W3C a place you naturally order your orange juice? I would not wish to have all W3C working group adopting the same tools. People want freedom there. But what would help would be.
– When creating a new working group, train the team (chair and editors) to the entire set of tools, with a rationale for their specific advantage. This should include the github platform, which is widely used in W3C, popular to some developers, but not the usual framework for all of them (and I don’t even talk about non-developers, like me who are also reasonable part of the working force and contributors in W3C). But it could also include platforms such as Discourse that some poeple like Robin Berjon is experiencing.
– Document accurately working group customs and working methods, including some of the process to follow up on the specifications. How to open a bug (who, when, where), how to contribute to a bug (who, when, where), how to close a bug (who, when, where). This should be made in an easy place to find, with cool design… And if all answers to those questions is ‘it depends’, then the working group team should revise its working method.
Lets make W3C a cool place to contribute, lets make contributors life easier !
Note : picture by Mista Boos in Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/mistaboos/