A lot of people find out that the W3C's governance is fucked up and overly dependent on corporate sponsorship (and it is) and then assume that the WHATWG must be a better institution (it isn't).

WHATWG is, for the most part, a "what-the-major-browser-vendors-say/do-rules" org. And keep in mind, that's now just two organizations (Google and Mozilla). That's good reason for pause.

@cwebber is there something we can do to improve W3c?

@maloki I don't know, though to better understand the problem I recommend reading

The problem with this kind of corporate sponsorship is it can allow for compromised positions that never would have been taken otherwise, like

@maloki I've long been interested in a hacker/community-oriented standards org. IETF is the closest we have, but isn't quite that. Though one thing the W3C does have is its patent non-aggression policy, and the reason that works is that it's able to bring a bunch of corporate participants to the table. I don't think a hacker standards org could do that. (There's also some government groups that will only accept work that come from "official" standards groups.)

Maybe it's still worth trying.

@cwebber Hmm... Yeah I'm not sure either or.

I just know I want to be part in building the Ethical Web.

@maloki Anyway, in order for such an org to work, it would have to have a plan for funding and governance from day 0 that informs the desired structure. I don't know what that would be. It wouldn't be easy to set up, I think.

@maloki Also a lot of the staff at standards orgs are paid to do what is, quite frankly, boring but necessary stuff. And we probably *would* have to pay people to do that.

Something with transparency built in at core level, e.g. similar to idea behind (or even using) Open Collective..


@cwebber @maloki

Who are the candidates in your minds for an organizational center for a new standards org?

You're thinking hacker community. I'm more thinking P2P economics, which overlaps but is not the same. I tried to get the P2P Foundation to set something up, but they don't think they have the spoons.

Could be a new organization, but that's a lot of work, and could lack credibility.

@bhaugen @maloki I actually have no candidates. And I'm not volunteering, either. :)

Which is why I'd like it to happen, but am not optimistic it shall.

@cwebber @maloki

I know citizen groups that have developed some of their own standards:

And also corporate groups:
* a few blockchain orgs

Not recommending any of those as "the new standards org we need", but it is doable.

P.S. I am not personally interested in the corporate groups, but they do get organized...

@cwebber @maloki

Might be an idea we're interested to promote in future. Just started a reorg at HTC around "Pyramids of Humane Technology". One pyramid is Technology Alignment - alignment to humans; tech serving us, not vice-versa. The approach is optimistic, solution-oriented, not the usual doom & gloom.

Some of my notes:

I see "Humane Design human-centered design, UX best-practices, 'designed for humans'".

Have y'all considered ?

@maloki @cwebber

@bhaugen thank you for sharing. It's interesting stuff on there.

@bhaugen @cwebber @maloki This is why I want to federate ActivityPub and ActivityStreams extensions. So each community can act as their own standards authority, and distribute power amongst the Fediverse while still requiring the "everyone needs to get along" part.

@cj @maloki @cwebber

> federate ActivityPub and ActivityStreams extensions.

I like the general idea. Might also be good for the problems with the standard itself that are being discussed, to agree on some solutions, extend the standard, make it more of a living thing, now that we got lots of people using it and even lots of implementations.
@cwebber @maloki

frankly, i don’t think the biggest problem with web is the governance structure. the “standard tech” is slow, heavy, and poorly designed from its roots. even after massive investments from multiple large organizations. now the complexity is so high that even microsoft has pulled out of the browser race. mozilla is still around for ideological reasons, but they will have a hell of a time keeping up.

we need intentionally simple protocols for building portable, modular, network applications. not ..whatever web has become.
@Xjs the early stages of my take on this can be found at

an rfc process is in the works, but i want to have a more complete draft before i start trying to formalize anything.


now I have to study this too... 😡

Do you have a streamlined doc I can read top to bottom?


@Shamar @Xjs

i wish i did, but like i said, this is a very early draft. i'll let you know when i have something more substantial to look at 😅

@xj9 @Xjs Something I like in a standards process: OGC's concept of NOTUC (No Objection To Unanimous Consent).

To progress there standards must have enough affirmative votes and absolutely no negative votes. That's how they define consensus: it satisfies everyone.

@xj9 @cwebber @maloki I'd like a network application tool to act like a network application instead of sit in a webpage tab or require its own personal web browser installation.

webapps are more of a hack to get network applications going as far as I see it - not helped by routers and firewalls blocking almost everything but port 80/443 (we really destroyed the internet there).

@polychrome @maloki @cwebber

big agree. we need a deeply component oriented system, with standardized interfaces. i’m partial to using 9p at the component level. once you have a network os protocol (a la plan 9), it gets a lot easier for smaller groups of people to work on the individual parts that make up the “browser vm”. you can even replace specific components with implementations that meet your needs better.


one big ass browser vm and billions of dollars

@xj9 @cwebber @maloki @feonixrift can’t agree more with the last assessment.

I used to work a lot in the browser engine market and the amount of complexity induced for business reasons by “certain actors” has peaked to the point of being unmanageable.

We should create an alliance of some sort aimed at simplicity, clarity and accessibility of technology. Help support the freedom of the next generation of content creators.

@xj9 @feonixrift @maloki @cwebber I’d be happy to start by pushing the concept of accessibility of content consumption.

Things like a manifesto with the basic principles whatever technology will have to abide to in order to put humanity and ethics first, always. Basically whatever the web once was and that is now lost to money, greed and corrupted people and corporations.

We have the technology. Do have the people?

@xj9 @cwebber @maloki
Btw. isn't web just another example of Zawinski's law, a.k.a. scope creep, a.k.a. let's turn our program into a fully fledged operating system?

@Wolf480pl @maloki @cwebber

that's why we should build an OS protocol because that's where we are going to end up anyway.

@xj9 @cwebber @maloki I'm wanting to work on that.

Though it's taking me a bit to implement browser engine that's simple enough for me to try these ideas out in.

@xj9 I think we need both better technical solutions and better governance, and both cover completely different problems. What I currently see, very very often, is pretty much an inability of what seems an increasing amount of people to work in projects they don't *lead*, in projects where someone else makes the decisions. That's where even large FLOSS projects (see certain Linux desktops) get forked without people noticing that this kind of fragmentation ...

@cwebber @maloki

@xj9 ... is going to hurt all of us. FLOSS has just a limited amount of people ready and willing to spend their time, energy and creativity working on Libre code, and we should both try to find options that reduce complexity (spoiler: from a distributed systems thinking point of view, I am totally unsure a federated system with several servers and clients actually does that) and options that help developer communities focus on building great things together. We ...

@cwebber @maloki

@xj9 ...possibly should focus on some things, accept that in some cases less is more and make sure we do a few things and do them really really well.

@cwebber @maloki

@z428 @maloki @cwebber

this is where components come in imo. i don't think we need a lot of consensus other than standards for important interfaces. e.g what does an audio server look like, what does a display server look like (rio), &c. behind the standard interfaces, you can do whatever you want. hopefully this will allow us to embrace fragmentation and turn it into a strength.

@xj9 I'm unsure. From a design point of view I whole-heartedly agree. But I see in many situations the problem not being a lack of having a well-structured system but (a) having too many implementations of interfaces which all are half-baked at very best and (b) the system overally becoming way too complex to maintain because at some point people lose sight of how all these things play together. That's where fragmentation becomes an issue. 😉

@maloki @cwebber


> just two organizations (Google and Mozilla).

s/Mozilla/Google Geek-friendly PR/

@cwebber FYI I created some notes on our forum related to this thread (mentioned URL) and the broader crisis in #OSS.

We are reorganizing around a new Mission/Vision and very interested to be be part in one way or other in any alternatives to the corporate internet that is taking over.

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