W3C-SGML-ERB Technical Resolution 1996-01: SGML ERB and WG Organization

Approved 1996.08.07

1. Applicability

This W3C SGML Working Group and W3C SGML Editorial Review Board process document shall regulate the activities of the WG and ERB until such time as more specific process documents for regulating the activities of W3C committees are produced by the W3C process initiative. The provisions adopted below shall continue to apply unless superseded by regulations adopted by the W3C as the outcome of its process initiative. The nullification of any of these provisions by future regulations of the W3C shall not affect the remaining provisions, which shall continue in effect as before.

2. The W3C SGML Working Group

2.1 Membership

Members of the SGML Working Group (WG) are persons with SGML expertise who wish to promote the use of generic SGML on the Internet. SGML WG members need not be employees of W3C member organizations.

Membership in the WG is by invitation of the chair of the SGML Editorial Review Board (ERB), by appointment of W3C member organizations, or by past or current membership in the SGML ERB. Members of the SGML WG serve for the life of the WG unless they withdraw from participation, are withdrawn by the W3C member organization that appointed them, or are removed by an absolute two-thirds majority vote of the SGML ERB. Members of the SGML ERB are ex officio members of the SGML WG, and the chair of the SGML ERB is the ex officio chair of the SGML WG.

2.2 Purpose

The purpose of the SGML WG is to provide a forum for the thorough, expert discussion of all aspects of SGML Internet delivery, including the possible role to be played by SGML's sibling standards, DSSSL and HyTime. The WG also serves as a source for proposals to the SGML ERB and provides expert review of specifications produced by the ERB.

2.3 Meetings

To maximize participation by SGML experts regardless of their travel budgets, the primary forum for SGML WG activities is the WG mailing list. Participation in the mailing list is restricted to WG members, but the list is otherwise unmoderated. The mailing list is archived and available on a read-only basis to the general public.

The WG meets in plenary session two to four times a year at locations determined by the ERB. The meetings are scheduled in a way that maximizes joint participation in SGML-related events such as GCA SGML conferences, SGML Open technical track sessions, and meetings of ANSI X3V1 and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8.

WG plenary sessions are chaired by the chair of the SGML ERB or, in his or her absence, by a member of the ERB appointed to serve pro tem by an absolute majority vote of the ERB. Decisions arrived at during WG plenary sessions become effective only when formally approved by the ERB.

3. The W3C SGML Editorial Review Board

3.1 Membership

Membership in the SGML ERB is by approval of the W3C member organizations. The term of membership is one year, ending June 30. On or before that date each year, the current membership of the ERB shall be placed into nomination before the member organizations, with the addition of any other qualified persons (see below) that the member organizations may wish to nominate, and twelve members (including one representative of the W3C itself) shall be appointed from the current members and the new nominees according to the voting procedures established by the W3C for this purpose.

Any member of the ERB may be removed from the ERB during his or her term of office by the unanimous vote of all the other members of the ERB.

Vacancies that occur in the ERB membership during the annual term shall be filled through nominations made by remaining members of the ERB and ratification by an absolute majority vote of the remaining members of the ERB.

Membership in the SGML ERB is restricted to persons who have substantial SGML expertise and who are either (a) current or former members of an SGML-related national, international, or industry standards body such as ANSI X3V1, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8, SGML Open, the Davenport Group, the Pinnacles Group, X/Open Common Doc, etc.; (b) representatives of an SGML tools vendor, i.e., a vendor of tools capable of processing "minimal SGML documents" as defined in Clause 15.1.2 of ISO 8879:1986; or (c) full-time SGML consultants. Internet or WWW expertise is also expected, but is not an absolute requirement.

Members must commit to a significant level of participation in the work of the ERB, including regular participation in ERB teleconferences, attendance at SGML Working Group (WG) meetings, and review of all postings to the SGML WG mailing list. Members of the W3C SGML ERB are ex officio members of the W3C SGML WG.

3.2 Purpose

The purpose of the SGML ERB is to facilitate the rapid deployment of generalized markup on the Internet, including the World Wide Web. In particular, this means the ability of Internet tools to process SGML document instances, SGML DTDs, and DSSSL stylesheets at a level of compliance to be specified by the ERB. Three basic activities are considered to be necessary in advancing this goal:

  1. Monitoring the progress of component pieces of an overall Internet SGML solution in related bodies such as SGML Open and the IETF and conveying liaison statements to such bodies;
  2. Identifying necessary component specifications that are not being addressed successfully in other organizations and designing such specifications;
  3. Acting as a liaison between the W3C and national and international bodies responsible for the maintenance of document processing standards.

3.3 Chair

The chair of the SGML ERB shall be elected by an absolute majority vote of the ERB members and shall serve at the pleasure of the ERB. The chair may be removed at any time by an absolute two-thirds majority vote of the ERB. The position of chair is automatically open immediately following the annual appointment of ERB members.

3.4 Meetings

The ERB typically meets by teleconference once a week at a regular time determined by an absolute majority vote of the ERB members. Particular meetings may be omitted at the discretion of the chair if work is proceeding in a way that would not be facilitated by a teleconference or if a substantial portion of the ERB is unable to attend. Since all ERB members are expected to attend the meetings, minutes of ERB meetings may, at the discretion of the chair, consist only of the record of the ERB's formal decisions, if any.

3.5 Process

Decisions of the ERB shall be made whenever possible through a process of consensus. If in the judgement of the chair consensus on a particular issue appears impossible to achieve, then a decision will be arrived at through a determinate procedure as described below. In no case shall an issue of importance be allowed to remain unresolved simply due to a lack of consensus.

If the chair determines that an appropriate amount of time has been allowed for the complete discussion of an issue and consensus has not been achieved among the members of the ERB, then the chair may at its discretion take one of two courses of action: it may either bring the issue directly to a vote, or it may bring the issue to the SGML WG mailing list or to a plenary session of the SGML WG for further discussion among a wider group of experts. If the issue is brought before the WG, then after a span of time for discussion deemed reasonable by the chair, it shall be brought before the ERB members to be decided by vote. With the single exception of a motion to remove the chair, which can be brought by any ERB member, only the chair can bring a question before the ERB for a formal vote.

Voting on issues before the ERB is conducted in one of two ways.

3.5.1 Voting by mail

The chair may place an issue before the members of the ERB by electronic mail. In a mail vote, members have one week from the time of posting to cast a vote. If a member does not respond within 72 hours of a call for a vote, then it is the duty of the chair to attempt to establish contact with that member to ensure that the message was received. Any member not casting a vote during the week allotted for this purpose is counted as having cast a "no" vote on the issue in question.

3.5.2 Voting in person

The chair may place an issue before the members of the ERB in the course of a teleconference or a face-to-face meeting. In this case, the chair must first ask whether anyone objects to holding a vote then and there. If no member objects, then the issue shall be determined then and there, with abstentions being counted as "no" votes on the question. However, it shall be the prerogative of any member to require that the vote be conducted instead by electronic mail according to the method above, the issue being placed before the ERB by a message posted as soon as possible following the meeting in which the vote was proposed to the ERB by the chair. A request to hold the vote by electronic mail must be made before the vote is actually taken.

No issue may be voted on by the ERB during a plenary session of the entire SGML WG. All voting shall take place during meetings restricted to ERB members or by electronic mail through a mailing list available only to ERB members.

All decisions of the ERB shall be published in a timely manner to the SGML WG mailing list. In all decisions determined by vote, the record of those members voting for and against the question shall be published with the decision, regardless of whether the vote was carried out by electronic mail or in person. While all abstentions formally count as "no" votes, they may be publicly recorded as abstentions at the request of those so voting.

The processes set forth in this document can be modified only by a two-thirds absolute majority of the ERB membership. Unless otherwise specifically stated herein, all other decisions of the ERB not determined by consensus shall be determined by an absolute majority vote of the ERB membership.

3.6 Definitions

The following definitions shall govern the interpretation of terms relating to votes taken by the ERB membership. All references to floating-point operations assume infinite precision.

"Absolute majority" shall mean a number of votes V such that

V is greater than N/2.0

where 2.0 is a real quantity, N is a real quantity equal to the total number of ERB members then in existence, and / is a floating-point division. In any such vote, an abstention shall be counted as "no".

"Two-thirds absolute majority" shall mean a number of votes V such that

V is greater than or equal to ceil(2.0*N/3.0)

where 2.0 and 3.0 are real quantities, N is a real quantity equal to the total number of ERB members then in existence, / is a floating-point division, * is a floating-point multiplication, and ceil() is the ceiling function. In any such vote, an abstention shall be counted as "no".