Anne van Kesteren

We need you!

In one of the seemingly endless permathreads on www-style Boris Zbarsky points out the roadblocks with deploying a new feature on the interwebs. The big gating factors on speed of specification development:

  1. Lack of editor time to create the original text.
  2. Lack of implementor time to implement all the things that people care to think up all at once.
  3. Lack of people writing testcases for the test suite (CSS2.1 test suite coverage is … rather poor in many areas, even with the large numbers of tests that implementors and a few others have contributed).

In other words, an ongoing struggle for resources. The WHATWG has a companion specifications wiki page that lists specifications that need editing. Easiest place to start with any of the above, if you are interested in helping out, is the WHATWG IRC channel. This was a public service announcement, thanks for your time.


  1. So if I volunteer for one of these tasks then I become eligible to participate in endless permathreads?

    I think a few short but genuine success stories of volunteering might be better motivation.

    Are there any positive stories?

    Posted by Sean Hogan at

  2. What would you define as a success story? Most of the people now working on standards (Anne, Lachlan, Simon, Henri, Tab, myself, etc) started off as volunteers.

    Posted by Ian Hickson at

  3. @Ian,

    What does that imply? That if you are determined to work in standards you can find a way? That doing the job effectively requires you to go full-time?

    When you were a volunteer:

    Posted by Sean Hogan at

  4. which spec did you contribute to?
    Pretty much every spec that was talked about in the last two years.
    what tasks?
    Review, discussion, suggestion
    what impact did they have on the spec?
    changes and improvements to the spec
    how long before your work effected real-world implementations?
    depends entirely on the spec in question
    how many hours did you put in?
    at first, an hour or two a week. As time went on and I became more involved, this grew to 5-8 hours a week
    what was your job at the time?
    tech support, then webmaster
    how sympathetic was your company?
    I did this on my own time; my company had no involvement with my standards work

    Your hostility indicates that you're not actually interested in hearing answers, though.

    Posted by Tab Atkins at

  5. Hi Tab Atkins,

    I'm not being hostile. I am interested - that is why I am asking specific questions. It is surprising that the specification guys find that threatening.

    Posted by Sean Hogan at