W3C’s Advisory Board is having an election this month. Here are the candidates and their statements. The role of the AB is to provide “ongoing guidance to the Team on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution”.
In this election there are 7 candidates for 5 positions. (Michael Champion of Microsoft, Hongru Zhu of Alibaba, Charles McCathie Nevile of Yandex, and Natasha Rooney of GSMA retain their seats until next year.)
I have no vote in this election, but I've got some opinions, so here's my queue of candidates—if you gave me progressively more slots to fill, this is how I'd fill them:
- David Singer & Florian Rivoal
- Tantek Çelik
- Tzviya Siegman & Chris Wilson
- Léonie Watson & Jay (Junichi) Kishigami
And here's why:
- My top choices are Florian Rivoal and David Singer:
Florian—who is a former employee of Opera Software, was nominated by Daniel Glazman, and is backed by Kodansha and the Japanese publishing industry in this election—comes in with significant and meaningful connections to both browser vendors and the publishing industry; to both Western and East Asian culture and industry; and to both corporate and individual W3C participation. At W3C he has been an effective spec editor as well as an effective AC representative, giving him both a deep appreciation for the practical on-the ground effects of the W3C Process in daily technical work as well as a higher-level view of W3C’s activities overall. There is literally no one else among the candidates who has the same breadth of recent, active experience within W3C, nevermind the cross-cultural and cross-industry connections, that Florian has.
(And as a minor point, having spent a few years studying and working the business side of things might also be useful on the AB.)
Lastly, as a W3C Invited Expert himself, Florian is clearly the most qualified to provide guidance on the funding problem that many want W3C to help solve. (As an Invited Expert myself, I would rather this was worked on by someone who intrinsically understands the problem and its solutions rather than just by people who see but have not really experienced the position.)
David Singer, whose experience with standards organizations runs long and deep, seems to care a lot about W3C being a functional place to do standards for the Web. An incumbent on the AB, he has been doing the very necessary work of calmly and steadily shepherding the AB forward in its work to improve W3C, particularly in updating the W3C Process. I think it's important for the continuity of the AB’s work that he stays in that role.
I also think it's important that the AB have significant representation from the browser industry, and as Apple’s representative, David Singer provides some of this perspective.
- Tantek has been a critical member of the AB over the last
He's been the radical voice of transparency and progress
in what was a staid and closed organization.
Without him, I don't think the AB would be as functional as it is today,
and W3C as a whole would be less engaged and transparent.
Florian and Tantek are both strong reformers with similar goals. Tantek has more experience with W3C and organizational wrangling to leverage, which is an advantage over Florian. That said, I expect Tantek to still have some influence on the AB even if he's not elected: I am sure Florian and several other longstanding members of the AB will be taking his advice, and as he's quite opinionated I don't expect him to stay silent with his thoughts. :) Between Tantek’s greater ability to operate ex-officio, and the additional representation Florian can bring to the table, I place Tantek after dsinger and Florian even though I strongly support his efforts overall.
(Also, to be clear, if this was five years ago, Tantek would be hands down at the top of my list. It's because of, in many respects, Tantek’s efforts, that less intense but equally dedicated personalities can help W3C evolve as an organization.)
I place Chris Wilson behind Tantek and David Singer because Google is already a heavyweight player in the W3C. As an organization, it doesn't particularly need more influence through AB representation. (Though it might benefit from a more involved Advisory Committee (AC) representative.)
However, a W3C group is only as functional as the people in it willing to do the actual work, and Chris Wilson has been a necessary partner in Tantek’s efforts to improve W3C’s structures and to hold fast against nonsense that threatens its integrity.
Tzviya comes to W3C through the IDPF merger, where she has been a core leader in the EPUB standardization efforts. I'm not very familiar with Tzviya’s abilities other than she has been vouched for as being exteremely competent at everything she does. She seems to have powerful organizational and leadership abilities, and brings deep connections to the ebook publishing industry to W3C. For the AB specifically, however, I rank her below Florian/dsinger/Tantek because I think they have more clarity on what needs to be done and how to make it happen.
It's hard to know much about Junichi or Léonie's activities on the AB, other than they are less active than the other incumbents: there is less in the public record to go by. To the extent that they provide comments from additional perspectives, it would be useful to have their participation; but the AB this next cycle is going to be dealing with a lot of heavy topics, and that requires members who can do some heavy lifting. So I would place the other candidates above these two.
I am not sure of the best way to translate this set of preferences to an actual ballot. My ordering between the paired candidates in the list above varies as I talk to people and think about it more. (See also bkardell’s concerns about W3C’s use of Meek’s method and how it strongly devalues or ignores anything other than the voter’s first choice.) As of today, though, I'd probably vote Florian, dsinger, Tantek, cwilso, Tzviya, Léonie, and Junichi, in that order, and hope that my first five candidates all receive enough support from others to be placed. The one thing I can say for sure, however, is that the more companies cast an informed vote, the better the results will be. Please encourage your AC representative to learn about the candidates and vote!