Steering Group Policy

Purpose of this Policy

This document sets forth the policies that govern the WHATWG Steering Group, and may be modified by the Steering Group from time to time. If the terms of this document conflict with the Steering Group Agreement, the Steering Group Agreement controls.

Work mode


A. The Steering Group must maintain a repository and issue tracker at a well-known location. The current location of the Steering Group repository is https://github.com/whatwg/sg.

B. Anyone may make requests and queries to the Steering Group by filing issues against the Steering Group repository. This is the recommended method for contacting the Steering Group.

C. For private inquiries, the Steering Group may be reached by email at sg@whatwg.org. Unlike the repository, there is no tracking function for private inquiries.


A. Discussion among Steering Group Representatives may take place in issues, by email, or through any other method they agree to.

B. By consensus, the Steering Group may choose to hold phone, in-person, or online meetings. Adequate notice of the time and place should be given. If the Steering Group holds meetings, announcements and minutes should be recorded in the issue tracker of the Steering Group repository.

C. Steering Group Representatives may consult with legal representatives from their respective Steering Group Member as needed.


A. All Steering Group decisions with a visible public effect must be recorded via GitHub issues in the Steering Group's repository.

B. Steering Group decisions must be made by consensus, as defined in the Steering Group Agreement. Where the Steering Group Agreement requires unanimous consent, that standard will be used instead.

C. Consensus or unanimous consent for a decision must be recorded in an issue, either existing or new. It's recommended that each Steering Group Member explicitly indicate that they agree, disagree, or abstain.

D. Consensus may be assessed outside of the issue tracker, in which case the positions of each Steering Group Representative must be recorded in the appropriate issue after the fact.

E. It's recommended for Steering Group Representatives to record the rationale for their position in the relevant issue, but not required.

F. This process applies to all matters that call for a Steering Group decision.

G. As an exception, Steering Group decisions on confidential matters which have strong reason to remain private can be made and recorded privately. The Steering Group should use this option sparingly.


A. The Steering Group may define policies and agreements that govern the operation of the WHATWG. Policies must not conflict with the Steering Group Agreement. If they do, the Steering Group Agreement takes precedence.

B. Other than the Steering Group Agreement and the WHATWG Principles, the Steering Group may adopt, amend, or revoke policies or agreements by consensus. The same applies to this Steering Group Policy.

C. The canonical copies of all WHATWG policies and agreements must be kept in the Steering Group's repository. Policies may also be published elsewhere, such as on https://whatwg.org/.

D. Changes to policies and agreements should be made by pull request associated with an issue that has a title prefix of "Policy Change: ". Changes must be reviewed by a Steering Group Representative and may only be merged when:

  1. There is consensus or unanimous consent of the Steering Group, as set forth in the Steering Group Agreement.
  2. 45 days have passed since review. At the discretion of the Steering Group this step may be bypassed in case of an emergency.

E. Anyone may propose policy changes via issues and pull requests. The Steering Group is not obliged to respond to such proposals.

Powers and responsibilities


A. When this or any other WHATWG policy or agreement says the Steering Group may or must decide something or take an action, the decision must be made following the process defined in this Steering Group Policy.

B. The Steering Group has no obligation to respond to requests in any particular time frame, except where this or any other policy requires it.

C. Other WHATWG policies may state additional requirements for Steering Group decisions on particular matters. The Steering Group must follow any such requirements.

D. In addition to the actions and decisions explicitly listed in this policy, the Steering Group may take any other action regarding the WHATWG that is consistent with the Steering Group Agreement.


A. All contributions to Living Standards proceed in Workstreams.

B. The Steering Group may create, modify, split, or terminate Workstreams.

C. The Steering Group must maintain db.json which lists active Workstreams in the Steering Group's repository. (A human-readable list of Workstreams is generated from that resource.)

D. For each Workstream, the list must include the Workstream's name, scope, editor, and Living Standards, and for each Living Standard the name, URL and repository URL. The Steering Group must update this information when changed by the Steering Group or an editor.


A. Each Workstreams is led by an editor appointed by the Steering Group.

B. The Steering Group must appoint an editor when creating a new Workstream.

C. The Steering Group should appoint a new editor in a reasonable time period in case of vacancy.

D. The Steering Group may remove editors.

E. The Steering Group may overrule any decision made by an editor.

Workstream participants

A. Workstream participants participate in Workstreams.

B. How Workstream participants join or leave Workstreams will be defined by other WHATWG policies.

C. The Steering Group may remove participants from Workstreams.


A. Workstream participants may appeal decisions by an editor. They must do so in accordance with other applicable policies.

B. The Steering Group must decide on all such appeals, if not withdrawn. The Steering Group may request additional information, or attempt to resolve disagreement amicably.

IPR issues

A. The Steering Group must oversee the disposition of Patent Exclusion Notices.

External communication

A. Only the Steering Group or its designated representatives may speak for the WHATWG on matters of policy.

B. The Steering Group will organize and encourage communication with other standards development organizations and other external groups.

C. On technical matters, editors and participants are welcome and encouraged to communicate about the WHATWG's work, and to work directly with other standards groups, implementers, and other external parties.