Working Group Practices
Most material is taken from Process Summary and Guidelines, Attachment A.
The Web3D Consortium encourages participation in the working groups from organizations, professionals, students, and the 3D community members. Please see the Membership page for all of the details on the various membership opportunities.
A Working Group of the Web3D Consortium is a technical committee that researches and proposes solutions to specific technical problems relating to X3D. Working groups are lead by working group chairs and are essentially self-directed with some direction from the Web3D board of directors. They are not product-specific but instead focus is on issues and technologies in the attempt to develop and propagate an open standard for the industry (see Standards Adoption Process). Working Groups play an important role in creating successful Web3D standards.
WEB3D CONSORTIUM WORKING GROUP
WORKING GROUP PRACTICES
These guidelines outline discussion, outreach, consensus-building and decision-making practices to be used in Web3D working groups. These mechanisms are intended to encourage active participation and accountability. Working groups normally build consensus naturally under the guidance of the Chair. When consensus does not arrive naturally, the working group can use the processes in this document to avoid deadlock. The success of a working group is strongly influenced by the leadership of the Chair(s). It is also advised that each working group review their goals and charter annually.
- CONFIDENTIALITY AND OUTREACH
All Contributions to a working group are non-confidential within Web3D, so that all Participants may freely discuss any Contributions with any other working group member. All working documents and draft specifications produced by the working group are confidential within Web3D to prevent public release before ratification - leading to possible marketing and IP issues. Working groups will normally create marketing materials to communicate its high-level roadmap, main technical direction and participation opportunities to non-members. These materials must not include excerpts from draft specifications, must not represent that any aspect of the specification is finalized before ratification. Working group chairs are encouraged to seek explicit working group approval for any external materials to be used in a significant outreach activity. The working group can prevent the external use of any outreach material that may be inappropriate or controversial. An optional publicly available email list or electronic forum may be provided for discussion of ratified, publicly available versions of working group specifications. Draft specifications can be made available to non-members only if they have signed a Web3D Reviewers Agreement that contains, at a minimum, an NDA and reciprocal IP license agreement that is substantially similar to the one contained in the Web3D members agreements.
- MEETINGS AND MINUTES
The working group may use any combination of face-to-face meetings and teleconference meetings at its discretion. Telephone dial-in will always be provided for face to face meetings. Each working group will define its meeting schedule well in advance, preferably covering the next 3-6 months. In no event will a working group meeting be held with less than one week's notice. The working group will also ensure minutes are taken, posted in due time and approved at each subsequent meeting.
- PARTICIPATION AND VOTING RIGHTS
Any Web3D Contributor or Promoter may attend any working group meeting. To encourage active participation, rights to take part in a working group vote is limited to working group Participants in good standing, which is defined as
- Participants that have attended two of the last three working group meetings in person or by phone, counting the current meeting.
- New members may vote on their second meeting – if they are in good standing.
- Each Participating company in good standing may cast one vote, whether a Contributor or Promoter.
- A working group vote is passed when a super majority of votes of at least 2/3 of the nonabstaining votes cast are in favor of an issue with a quorum requirement of at least 50% of working group Participants in good standing voting for, against or abstaining.
The vote to pass the Final Draft Specification to the Board must be passed with a super majority of votes greater of at least ¾ of the non-abstaining votes cast with the same quorum requirement. A working group may hold votes at working group Meetings or on the working group mailing list with a clearly defined deadline that is at least one week from the call to vote. The voting constituency for an email vote is the same as the working group members in good standing at the working group meeting preceding the email vote.
- CONSENSUS AND VOTING POLICY
The notion of consensus is integral to the Web3D process. While unanimity is preferred, it is not practical to require that working groups reach unanimity on all issues. The process for introducing and resolving issues is as follows:
- Issue Formulation and Documentation - any participant may call for a vote by fully documenting/articulating a specific issue and framing a proposal for voting;
- Straw Poll – if appropriate, the Chair can hold straw polls to gauge whether there is any significant opposition to the proposal and pass it if not. At the discretion of the Chair members not in good standing may vote in a straw poll to gather the broadest range of opinions on a particular topic;
- Debate - if there is not consensus, arguments can be presented in a limited time defined in advance and enforced by the Chair;
- Formal vote – each member’s vote being recorded by the Chair in the minutes;
- Passage - if the vote passes, record any dissent and consider the issue resolved;
- Failure - if the vote does not pass, return to the debate stage. If the issue is not resolved in the second vote, the Chair must work with the various sides to reformulate the problem so the working group can achieve consensus in a reasonable time.
Any participant may open a resolved issue by obtaining consensus support, or if necessary calling for a vote, to open the resolved issue. The Chair should encourage the working group to consider whether there is new information relevant to the issue that would significantly change the opinions of participants before the working group decides to open a resolved issue. Once re-opened, the issue should be resolved using the standard resolution process above.
- WORKING GROUP ONLINE RESOURCES
Each working group will have an associated members-only email list for group discussion. The method for subscribing and unsubscribing to this list will be published on the Web3D member web-site. The working group Chair will maintain password-protected web pages containing meeting minutes, attendance records, written contributions, proposal revisions, and other documents. The working group may also use online resources such as CVS repositories and wiki-sites at its discretion. Any online resources that are subject to working-group confidentiality rules must be password protected to enable access by Web3D members only, and be reachable from the Web3D member web-site page.
- RESPONSIBILITIES OF WORKING GROUP CHAIR(S)
A Chair pro-tem for the working group is designated by the Board when the working group is created. After a reasonable period the working group should vote to select a Chair (or cochairs) from any working group members that wish to stand for consideration. If the Chair wishes to step down the working group will select a new Chair from its own members. The Chair may be changed at any time by consensus vote of the working group Participants. The primary role of any working group Chair is to facilitate consensus-building among Group members. Other responsibilities of the Chair include:
- The participation and good standing issues to be observed by working chairs;
- Requirements pertain to open-participation (non-members) to be observed by working chairs;
- Keep Group's activities compliant with Web3D Process documents and IP policy;
- Record and post the list of meeting attendees on the working group web-site;
- Create and post a meeting/call schedule with appropriate advance notice;
- Define meeting agendas;
- Ensure minutes are taken, posted in due time and approved at each subsequent meeting;
- Ensure that actions are followed up in good time;
- Solicit contributions, encourages participation;
- Clearly define the constituency of members in good standing before any votes are taken so the quorum and super-majority requirements are clearly established before voting;
- Oversee voting within Group;
- Clearly records results of all votes;
- Generally stays neutral in discussion but can participate in technical discussions if announces in advance that will remove his or her chair "hat" at that time;
- Maintains home page of Group with the support of the Web3D webmaster;
- Revise, Charter, Goals, Milestones and deliverables timeline as needed;
- Provide regular working group updates to the Board;
- Request the Board initiate an IP Committee for any IP sensitive discussions.
A working group may create and elect additional positions, such as specification editors, vice-chairs etc. at any time at its discretion.
- SUMMARY OF CHANGES
Working Groups are responsible for tracking changes.