Subscribing to (3rd April 2008)

A query I e-mailed to Al Gilman and Michael Cooper about my subscription attempt not working, reformatted in HTML:

Hello, I have tried subscribing to but it seems not to have worked.

The list is listed in the Public Mailing Lists list (for lack of a better phrase).

So I followed the Mailing List Administrivia to subscribe.

I received a confirmation e-mail with subject line CONFIRM s246908088, to which I replied as it instructed.

I have sent 1 message to the list since then, here.

More detail about the steps I followed is here.

On the #whatwg IRC channel today at 21:00CET, Anne van Kesteren thinks I can only subscribe if I have “permission”.

How do I go about getting this? Also, how come I need “permission” to subscribe to a W3C Public Mailing List in the first place? :-)

Has PFWG considered making its process and proceedings even more open than they are now? Such as the HTML Working Group’s use of a public mailing list.

Please let me know if it’s OK to make your reply public when you send it. I don’t want to get in trouble!

Ben ‘Cerbera’ Millard
Collections of Interesting Data Tables

Within half an hour I got this reply:

The PF public comments list is intended as an input-only channel for the PFWG. As such, the distribution of this mailing list is restricted to chairs and editors of the PFWG. It is not intended as a discussion forum.

There are other fora that the PFWG uses for discussion of issues, including issues initially raised through the public commments list. These include the main PFWG mailing list ( and the WAI-XTech list ( The latter list in particular is a public list and has a reasonably open invitation for people to join and participate in discussion of issues related to the mission of the PFWG.

If you simply wanted to see the comments submitted to the PFWG through the comments list, you can check the publicly visible archives at any time at If you would like to join the WAI-Xtech list, let me know and I’ll add you.

Regarding the openness of the PFWG, the PFWG is chartered in Member space. This is a standard aspect of W3C Process, that some groups are Member-restricted while some are Public. The expectations of such groups are different than they are for Public groups like the HTML WG. Questions about this should go to the owner of the Process Document.

I don’t mind if you make the substance of this reply public, though I would prefer if you not do it via a direct email forward.


A detailed and helpful response given promptly, courteously and openly.

However, I’m not sure how tracking comments with the web interface is fine if doing the same thing within my e-mail client is disallowed. Either both ways of doing the same thing are fine or they are both disallowed? The WAI-Xtech list mailing list looks like a way I could contribute occassionally.

The W3C Process Document describes different types of Group. But the Protocols and Formats Working Group (PFWG) Charter sets the openness of PFWG specifically. I was wondering why PFWG isn’t a Public group.

A related message is Re: PF Public Comments list from Ian Hickson.