A Touch of Class

fantasai
2019-04-30

Running for the W3C Advisory Board

I am honored to be nominated for the W3C Advisory Board by none other than the inimitable Daniel Glazman, former co-chair of the CSS Working Group and Advisory Committee representative of Disruptive Innovations. (In other words, my colleagues at W3C have finally succeeded in pressuring me into running.) The role of the AB is to provide “ongoing guidance to the Team on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution”. Here is a copy of my candidate statement:

Elika J Etemad (“fantasai”) is a W3C Invited Expert in the CSS Working Group and Internationalization Working Group, and has co-edited dozens of W3C specifications including CSS2, CSS Grid Layout, CSS Writing Modes, and CSS Paged Media as well as the EPUB 3.0 specification in the IDPF, where she was the IDPF-CSSWG liaison. She is intimately familiar with W3C's processes and culture, having been embedded in it daily for the last 15 years. Elika believes that W3C's collaborative, public, consensus-based, and royalty-free standardization process brings out the best in Web technology, and is dedicated to the success of W3C as a home and a framework for developing the World Wide Web Platform.

Elika is widely known as one of the most critical members of the CSSWG, both for her technical expertise and for getting things done, and she hopes to bring her skills and approach to the Advisory Board in this critical time for W3C. As your Advisory Board representative, she hopes to

  • Push for adjusting the Patent Policy to better match how work is done and not put W3C Working Groups at a disadvantage compared to Community Groups or the WHATWG in terms of patent protection.
  • Streamline the REC maintenance process, because standards aren't dead even when they're done.
  • Formalize the way non-technical feedback, such as AC charter reviews, are processed so that comments don't get lost or cursorily dismissed.
  • Help the AB be a more effective “working group” by improving documentation, recordkeeping, and processes.
  • Guide W3C's transition to a legal entity while preserving its membership involvement and spirit by providing detailed and principled feedback on its proposed structure, legal documents, and finances.
  • Improve relations with the WHATWG by supporting a non-antagonistic and mutually-beneficial partnership built on respect and collaboration.
  • Increase logistical support for the participation of Invited Experts in W3C activities.
  • Ensure that the AB meaningfully processes feedback from all of you!

Elika started her career in Web standards in 1999, doing spec conformance QA for the Mozilla open source project as a curious contributor. This experience indoctrinated a lifelong commitment to bug reporting and open collaboration. After being invited to participate in the CSSWG as an Invited Expert in 2004, she pushed the Working Group¹ to successfully transition from being a closed group (as all W3C Working Groups were in the past) to an open group that transparently conducts all of its technical business in public, pioneering a W3C Working Group model that is now deeply integrated into W3C processes and culture. Prompted by experience as Mozilla QA and as the owner of the CSS2.1 Test Suite, circa 2007-2009 she started to make the case² for a collaborative, open-source conformance test suite integrated with the browsers' own regression testing, an approach that is now implemented through the Web Platform Tests project. Elika is also the “keeper” of the CSSWG process³, helping to crystallize the CSSWG's modularization and levelling policies, documenting and explaining how the CSSWG implements the W3C Process, and guiding the CSSWG and its editors as they move specs along the W3C Rec Track. All of this is addition to heavy spec editing responsibilities, where she takes seriously the value of addressing all feedback and integrating it into a solid, precisely-specified, and coherent proposal.

Elika holds a BSE from Princeton University, and has spent most of her life in either the SF Bay or NYC Metro areas; she's also spent time living in Norway (to work for Opera), China (to study Chinese), and Japan (to work on CSS Writing Modes), and is also conversant in French and Farsi. Past and present corporate sponsors of her work include Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, Google, Bloomberg, Hewlett-Packard, Antenna House, and EAST Japan. She considers herself lucky to work with so many smart, hard-working, well-meaning, and kind people and hopes that everyone at W3C can have such great experiences.

Further Reading:

P.S. Elika is an independent W3C participant; however Bocoup and Brave will be covering expenses for her participation on the Advisory Board.

Voting is open to W3C Advisory Committee representatives until the end of May. This election is very important to the future of W3C. If your company is a W3C Member, please ensure they cast a vote! To help everyone understand the context of the election and its candidates a bit better, I've also written out my thoughts in the next entry.