W3C policies [was: Re: Microsoft's responce ... ]

David Brownell david-b at pacbell.net
Mon Jan 17 09:36:42 GMT 2000

David Megginson wrote:
> Lee Anne Phillips <leeanne at leeanne.com> writes:
> > With all respect, I think the lack of resources are the fault of the
> > W3C membership policies, which seem designed to strongly discourage
> > individuals and small organizations and businesses from
> > participating in the process.  US$5000 for an Affiliate Membership
> > is beyond the reach of most of us and of many small businesses since
> > that's in addition to the value of the time spent on the process
> > itself.
> That said, I think the biggest problem for small companies isn't the
> $5K/year membership fee (though that's bad enough) but the
> $50K-$100K++/year of lost work time and travel costs even just to
> allow one competent engineer to participate.

Curious that this discussion got started by an issue of delayed
publication of errata, something that could easily be done part
time by someone that doesn't travel and only has access to email
archives.  (Other instances of this discussion have gotten started
by issues which likewise don't need much in the way of resources.)

The IETF and IEEE provide other examples of organizations which
make it practical to make small, focussed contributions to key
standards ... by individuals and small companies, rather than
only those who want to participate via large fees and travel bills.

So long as W3C defines participation as paying lots of bucks and
traveling a lot, that's what it'll take.  Circularity.  And yes,
small companies and individuals can't afford that.  Maybe that's
not intentional.  But it certainly overstates the value of travel,
and understates both the value of expert assistance, and the value
of getting problems resolved before they're widely distributed.

- Dave

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