[whatwg] Name for WHATWG "Members"

L. David Baron dbaron at dbaron.org
Sat Jan 17 09:17:22 PST 2009

On Saturday 2009-01-17 14:46 +0100, James Graham wrote:
> There seems to be some confusion about whether "members" of WHATWG are  
> just people on the mailing list or are people on the oversight  
> committee. Since it is almost never necessary to discuss the oversight  
> committee I suggest it is worth using the common term "members" to mean  
> people on the mailing list and the longer term "oversight committee  
> members" to mean people in the oversight committee. This would eliminate  
> the confusion and draw attention to the fact that it is the people on  
> the mailing list who are responsible for the technical content of the  
> spec (like W3C Working group members) and that the oversight committee  
> who are responsible only for things like the charter (like W3C staff).

I agree that the current use of "members" is confusing.

However, I don't like changing a term immediately from one thing to
another.  Then any use of that term needs to be qualified with a

I also think that the term "contributors" makes it clearer that
there aren't any membership requirements in order to participate.

So I'd prefer to avoid the term "members" entirely by changing the
references to "members" to be "steering committee", "oversight
committee", or similar.

This might lead to the section of the charter currently entitled
"Membership" saying something like:

  # Participation and Oversight
  # Anyone can contribute by subscribing to the mailing list. The list
  # of subscribers to the mailing list are termed the contributors.
  # Membership in the oversight committee is by invitation only, and
  # consists of a number of representatives from various browser
  # manufacturers. This group will provide overall guidance as
  # described in the charter above. The members of the oversight
  # committee are currently:
  #   [...]


L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/

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