HTML Writers Guild Guild Operations W3C Info

W3C Information Page

  1. What is the W3C?
  2. Why did the Guild Join the W3C?
  3. So that means all HWG members are W3C members?
  4. So How Does It Work, Then?
  5. The HWG-Plus-W3C Mailing List
  6. Current HWG Participation
  7. Other Information

On January 13, 1998, the HTML Writers Guild joined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The Guild is the first organization of web designers to join the consortium and thus gain a voice in the web standards that our members work with on a daily basis.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for web designers to have a voice in developing the standards that fuel the World Wide Web. As an association of web designers on the 'front lines' of the World Wide Web revolution we have a unique perspective we can share with the industry leaders in the W3C - we are the ones who actually use the new technologies and standards they create." [Press Release, 23 February 1998]

What is the W3C?

From the W3C site:

The W3C was founded in October 1994 to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. We are an international industry consortium, jointly hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] in the United States; the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique [INRIA] in Europe; and the Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. Initially, the W3C was established in collaboration with CERN, where the Web originated, with support from DARPA and the European Commission. For details on the joint initiative and the contributions of CERN, INRIA, and MIT, please see the statement on the joint World Wide Web Initiative.

Why did the Guild Join the W3C?

The Guild's primary objectives and purposes is the reason for W3C participation:

  • (a) assist members in developing and enhancing their capabilities;
  • (b) compile and publicize information regarding standards, practices, techniques, competency, and ethics as applied to WWW design and development;
  • (c) contribute to the development of the Web and Web technical standards and guidelines

The final item above is emphasized, because that is the basis for the Guild's participation in the World Wide Web Consortium -- our charter requires us to contribute to the development of technical standards and guidelines. Participation in the W3C is one of the primary ways we can do this.

Additionally, many of the other members of the Consortium are large corporations or research organizations; until now, there has been no voice for the lone web designer in the W3C. The Guild now provides a way for HWG members to contribute directly to shaping the future of the web.

So that means all HWG members are W3C members?

No, not exactly. The rules of the W3C state the following:

Membership is open to other "membership organizations", but in this case the benefits of W3C membership only extend to the staff and officers of those organizations, and do not flow through to their own members.

Thus, simply being a member of the Guild does not entitle you to full W3C membership benefits -- all 50,000+ HWG members don't get complete access to the Consortium.

So How Does It Work, Then?

Each member of the Consortium designates one individual to function as that member's Advisory Committee Representative. The Guild has adopted a policy by which the AC Rep is appointed by the President of the HWG, and serves a one year term.

The Guild's AC Rep is currently

The AC Rep is the interface between the Guild and the W3C. Official and unofficial communication to the Consortium must go through the AC Rep.

As a member of the Consortium, we can send representatives to various working groups and other committees in the W3C. These positions are only open to "plus" (paid) members within the Guild; the reason for this is that the dues for W3C membership cost actual money ($5000 per year), and thus only HWG members who have paid their dues may participate.

Guild representatives to W3C groups must possess the appropriate technical skills and knowledge to be able to make a meaningful contribution; these groups are hard work and a major commitment, not just a nice perk or feather for your cap. To be sent as a Guild representative, you must demonstrate your skill to, and be approved by, the AC Rep and the President of the Guild. In short: We will only send our best to W3C.

Now, that's not meaning to intimidate anyone, but rather to make it clear that there are actual requirements to participate beyond merely a desire to do so. You will be representing the Guild, and possibly be shaping the nature of the web for years to come -- it's important that we are certain you know what you are doing.

Okay, so the average person isn't going to be enough of a geek to be able to write XML standards -- how can the typical Guild member get involved?

The HWG-Plus-W3C Mailing List

The Guild has established a mailing list for all "plus" level members of the Guild who wish to discuss the issues raised by the W3C, and make their opinions known to the AC Rep and other Guild representatives who are working on the W3C's standards. This list is named hwg-plus-w3c.

The charter of the list is:

This list is designed to provide two-way communication between the Guild membership and the HWG's representative to the World Wide Web Consortium's Advisory Committee. Topics of discussion include the Guild's participation in W3C activities, news and announcements from the W3C, and other issues related to the Guild's membership in the W3C. This list is only open to Guild members at the "Full" membership level.

To join the list, please follow the instructions posted on the hwg-plus-w3c page at

Current HWG Participation

The Guild is currently involved in the following working groups, interest groups, and workshops:

Previous involvement by the HWG includes:

Other Information

Announcements of major W3C developments will be posted on the Guild's homepage. Information about the W3C can be found at their homepage,

The official Governing Board motion detailing the Guild's policy regarding the W3C can be found at

[Valid HTML 4.0!]
This page is maintained by Last updated on 18 January 2001.
Copyright © 2002 by the International Webmasters Association/HTML Writers Guild.