[Unicode]  Consortium Home | Site Map | Search
 

Technical Committee Procedures for the Unicode Consortium

0. Scope

These procedures are to guide all activity of the Technical Committees of the Unicode Consortium and are established and amended by the Officers of the Unicode Consortium under the direction of the Board of Directors of the Unicode Consortium.

1. Definitions

1.0. Technical Committee

Technical Committees are decision making bodies formally established by the Full Members of the Consortium. The Technical Committees of the Unicode Consortium are:

  • Unicode Technical Committee (UTC)
  • Unicode Common Locale Data Repository Technical Committee (Unicode CLDR-TC)
  • Unicode Localization Interoperability Technical Committee (ULI-TC)

1.1. Voting member

Voting members at Technical Committee meetings are:

  • Full Members (full vote)
  • Institutional Members (full vote)
  • Supporting Members (half vote)

1.2. Non-voting member

Non-voting members at Technical Committee meetings are:

  • Associate Members
  • Liaison Members
  • Individual Members

1.3. Member in good standing

To be in good standing, a member is required to be current on fees and obligations imposed by the Unicode Consortium. A member not in good standing participates as an observer at Technical Committee meetings.

1.4. Member in regular attendance

To be in regular attendance, a member is required to be in good standing and to be represented at the current meeting or have been represented at least one of the two prior meetings.

1.5. Meeting Schedules

Technical committee meetings shall be planned and held at regular intervals.

1.6. Ad hoc meeting

A Technical Committee of the Consortium may establish an informal group to discuss specific issues or subjects. The meetings of such groups are considered ad hoc meetings. Activities of these groups may include the review of action items or bug reports and may result in recommendations to a Technical Committee. The recommendations of an ad hoc meeting are not binding on the Technical Committee.

1.7. Designation in writing

Designation in writing is written instruction made by letter, fax, or given in e-mail correspondence that is signed by a member representative. An e-mail sent from a member representative’s address is considered to be signed by the member representative.

A designation in writing is effective upon receipt by the Chair.

2. Program of work of a Technical Committee

The principal activities of a Technical Committee are the development and maintenance of its associated standards, technical reports, and data files in accordance with the purpose of the Unicode Consortium as stated in Article 1, Section 1 of its Bylaws. The content of the Unicode Standard and the Unicode Common Locale Data Repository and other associated data, technical standards, and technical reports are defined by the set of proposals approved by the respective Technical Committee, on the basis of these procedures.

3. Composition of a Technical Committee

A Technical Committee is comprised of representatives of voting and non-voting members of the Unicode Consortium in good standing. In the rest of these procedures, any use of the term "member" without qualification refers to these definitions. 

A member representative must be listed as a primary or alternate representative on the Membership Roster of Unicode Inc. to represent the member. Individual members are considered to represent themselves.

4. Member representatives

4.1. Primary representative

Each voting member of the Unicode Consortium is entitled to designate one person as its primary representative for a particular Technical Committee. This designation must be made in writing.

4.2. Alternate representatives

In addition, each voting member may designate one or more alternate representatives for a particular Technical Committee. This designation must be made in writing.

4.3. Representatives of non-voting members

Non-voting members may designate one or more representatives for a particular Technical Committee. Individual Members are considered to represent themselves.

4.4. Changes in assigned representatives

Members (other than Individual) may revoke or reassign their assigned representatives at any time. Notice of changes must be designated in writing.

5. Proxy representation

Voting members may designate a proxy for a Technical Committee for a given period or subject matter. This designation must be made in writing. The designation must be signed by the primary representative or by an alternate representative acting as the primary representative. Appointment of a proxy orally is not acceptable.

Proxies may be revoked at any time by the primary representative or by an alternate representative acting as the primary representative. The revocation must be in writing if the representative is not physically present at the meeting.

The proxy authorization or revocation is effective upon receipt by the Chair. A person may hold and exercise multiple proxies.

5.1. Who may be a proxy

The Unicode Consortium imposes few restrictions on who may be a proxy. It may be the representative of another member, a Technical Committee Officer, or an Officer of the Consortium or any other chosen person, except an employee of Unicode, Inc.

5.2. When is a proxy not required

A proxy is not required when a member is being represented by an alternate representative (instead of the principal representative). The alternate representative must be listed on the Membership Roster of Unicode, Inc.

6. Technical Committee Officers

The officers of each Technical Committee are a Chair, a Vice Chair and, optionally, a Recording Secretary, all appointed by the Unicode Officers. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall assume his/her duties. Other officers of a Technical Committee may be appointed by a vote of the committee at its discretion.

7. Meetings

Technical Committee meetings are referenced either by number or date at the discretion of the Chair. Locations and dates for Technical Committee meetings shall be decided upon by the committee, and notification distributed to the committee membership at least 20 days in advance of the meeting.

A member is not obligated to send a representative to a Technical Committee meeting.

7.0. Notification

Notification for meetings in person is distributed on the e-mail lists. Announcement of these meeting plans are generally made a year in advance.  For telephone meetings, schedules may be announced a week before the meeting.

7.1. Meeting procedures

7.1.1. Presiding Chair

The Chair presides over a Technical Committee meeting. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair presides.

7.1.2. Appointment of a temporary Technical Committee Officer

During a Technical Committee meeting, any Technical Committee officer may appoint a member representative or Officer of the Unicode Consortium as a substitute Technical Committee officer for all or part of that meeting. This action must be recorded in the Minutes.

7.1.3. Rules

Meetings of a Technical Committee are conducted in the following way:

  • A quorum must be present to take decisions. See Section 8 Meeting quorum for information on determining a quorum.
  • The Presiding Chair controls the floor in order to manage the discussion of agenda topics.
  • Members have an equal right to be recognized by the Presiding Chair.
  • Consensus voting is used where possible; otherwise motions must be made and seconded before discussion, and a vote recorded.
  • Voting members and officers may raise points of order to check procedural matters and may call the question on agenda topics.
  • At the discretion of the Presiding Chair, discussion may be conducted informally, especially on technical matters, unless any member objects.

7.2. Who may participate in Technical Committee meetings

Those who may participate in Technical Committee meetings are:

  • Representatives of voting members
  • Representatives of non-voting members
  • Officers of the Unicode Consortium

Invited guests and others may attend at the discretion of the Chair; they are observers and may only participate with permission from the Chair.

7.3. Closed caucus

A proposal for a closed caucus can be raised at any time in a meeting. If the proposal for a closed caucus is approved (according to Section 9 Decisions), all except Officers of the Consortium and representatives of Full Members shall be excused.

7.4. Audio or video recording of meetings

Audio or video recording of meetings is normally not permitted. In exceptional circumstances, the Presiding Chair may waive this rule, provided that all voting members and Consortium Officers present at the meeting consent to the waiver.

If permission to record a meeting is not requested, the Presiding Chair may confiscate the recording, and ask the person responsible for the unauthorized recording to leave the meeting.

Closed caucus proceedings may not be recorded by tape or video.

8. Meeting quorum

The quorum for a Technical Committee meeting consists of fifty percent (50%) of the total number of members in regular attendance, where Full and Institutional Members are counted as one member present, and Supporting Members are counted as one half member present.

A member may be represented either by a designated representative or by a validated proxy.

9. Decisions

Decisions of a Technical Committee are made by consensus when possible, and otherwise by formal motions. Proposals may be made by any voting member representative (primary, alternate, or proxy) or by an Officer of the Consortium. If no voting representative objects to a consensus, the proposal is accepted by the Technical Committee. If there is an objection to consensus, then the proposal can be withdrawn or a formal motion can be made. Motions may be moved or seconded by a member representative (primary, alternate, or proxy) or by an Officer of the Consortium. A motion must be seconded before it can be voted upon. Acceptance of the motion is governed by Section 10 Voting.

Decisions of a Technical Committee may only be appealed to the members of the Consortium (Full Members).

10. Voting

10.1. Representation of voting members

Where one or more representatives of a voting member are present, the principal representative will vote for the member, unless he/she allows an alternate representative to vote instead.

In the absence of the principal representative, an alternate representative votes for the member. When two or more alternates are present, the alternates decide who shall represent the member in voting. In any case of conflict, the Presiding Chair shall decide who shall vote for the member.

In the absence of the principal representative and any alternate representatives, a validated proxy may vote.

Representatives of Full and Institutional Members who are eligible to vote may cast a full vote on any question. Representatives of Supporting Members who are eligible to vote may cast a half vote on any question.

10.2. Rights of proxies

A proxy holding a validated authorization has the same voting rights as the voting member that he/she is representing, except where the proxy authorization limits the scope of the proxy. In any case, where the description of the scope is unclear, the Presiding Chair shall decide whether limitations of the scope apply.

10.3. Absentee voting

A voting member representative may cast a ballot on any matter by letter, telegram, fax, or equivalent written mechanism, provided only that such a ballot is received in time to apply it. If any change other than correction of typographical errors is made to the wording or substance of a matter following receipt of a ballot, that ballot shall, at the discretion of the Chair, not be voted.

10.4. Voting process

A vote on a motion is always taken on whether or not to approve the proposal. A vote is never taken on whether or not to sustain an objection to the proposal. Votes may be cast in favor, against, or abstaining on any matter except on those matters for which abstentions are not permitted by Technical Committee procedures.

At a Technical Committee meeting, voting is public, by count of those voting (including absentee votes). However, an absentee vote does not affect quorum and does not affect the determination of regular attendance.

10.6. Voting results

10.6.1. New decisions

A special majority is required to pass a motion that establishes or overturns a precedent, or modifies an existing normative feature of a current standard in the program of work in a non-backwards compatible way.

Otherwise passage of a motion is decided by a simple majority vote. For the UTC, a matter will be deemed to have passed only if the sum of the favorable votes cast is over half of the sum of all of the votes cast. Thus, abstentions have the same affect on determining a majority vote as negative votes.

For the Unicode CLDR-TC and ULI-TC, a matter is deemed to have passed if the sum of favorable votes exceeds the sum of unfavorable votes. For these two ommittees, abstentions are ignored for determining a majority vote.

Note: Unless an explicit precedent has been set, retracting a character that has not yet appeared in a published version of the Unicode Standard takes a simple majority vote, as does adding a character that has previously been rejected.

10.6.2. Precedents

A precedent is either of the following:

  • An existing Unicode Policy, or
  • An explicit precedent.

An explicit precedent is established by a separate motion, which must pass by a special majority. This separate motion states that a previous Technical Committee decision is considered an explicit precedent.

10.6.3. Special majority

For the UTC, a special majority is a 2/3 majority, whereby a matter will be deemed to have passed only if the sum of the favorable votes cast is 2/3 or more of the sum of the eligible votes at the meeting, or, in case of a mail ballot, by 2/3 or more of the sum of votes of all eligible members.

For the Unicode CLDR-TC and the ULI-TC, a special majority is at least twice as many positive votes as negative votes.

Abstentions are counted in the same way for a special majority: for the UTC, abstentions have the same affect as negative votes, and for CLDR-TC and ULI-TC, abstentions are ignored for determining a special majority.

10.7. Recording of decisions

The outcome of a decision is recorded in the Minutes of a Technical Committee meeting. Votes are recorded with a count of the number of voting members who voted in favor, against, and abstained. Decisions shall be recorded in the following matters:

  • Ballots on motions related to a proposed standard, including all votes on proposals, objections, etc.
  • Ballots on motions related to committee procedures.
  • Ballots on matters related to the scopes and programs of work of Technical Committees and their subcommittees.

Decisions on any other matters may be voice votes or informal unrecorded counts at the discretion of the Chair.

11. Letter ballots

A letter ballot may be called by a vote of the Technical Committee or by at least two Officers of the Unicode Consortium. When a letter ballot is taken, the Chair shall designate a Teller to conduct the ballot in the following manner:

  • Ballots will be mailed, emailed, or distributed by hand to all members and alternates and must be returned to the Teller within 20 days of the date of distribution.
  • Only one voting member representative may vote. Should disagreeing ballots be received from more than one representative of a member, only the ballot of the principal representative is counted, and the ballot(s) of the alternate(s) shall be marked invalid. If there is no ballot from the principal representative, the others are disregarded.
  • As soon as enough votes have been collected to decide the issue definitively one way or another, the Teller shall close the ballot and announce the results via e-mail to all principal and alternate representatives and to all Consortium Officers.
  • Results of the letter ballot shall also be announced at the first Technical Committee meeting following the close of the 20-day return period, and also recorded in the Minutes of the meeting.

12. Public Review Issues

From time to time the Unicode Consortium seeks formal public review and feedback on specific proposals by posting Public Review Issues on its website. Public Review Issues are created by Officers of the Consortium, typically upon request of a Technical Committee. Each issue has a number, title, summary, and deadline for receipt of public review comments. For UTC and ULIT-C consideration, feedback must be submitted via the contact form, indicating the number and title of the issue. For Unicode CLDR-TC consideration, feedback must be submitted via the CLDR bug reporting form. Resolution of a Public Review Issue is normally made after consideration of the feedback at the following Technical Committee meeting. The Technical Committee decisions are not bound in any way by the existence or the wording of a Public Review Issue.

13. Subcommittees

Subcommittees may be established by a Technical Committee to address specific issues. All proposals, recommendations, or decisions made by a Subcommittee are subject to approval or further action by the Technical Committee, unless specific authority for a decision has been delegated by a Technical Committee to the Subcommittee.

The conduct of a Subcommittee meeting may, at the discretion of the Chair of that Subcommittee, be less formal than the Technical Committee rules require. There is no specific requirement for the advance notice of a Subcommittee meeting. Subcommittee meetings may also be held in closed caucus.

13.1. Who may participate in Subcommittee meetings

All those who can participate in Technical Committee meetings may participate in Subcommittee meetings:

  • Representatives of voting members
  • Representatives of non-voting members
  • Officers of the Unicode Consortium

Invited guests and others may attend at the discretion of the Subcommittee Chair; they are observers and may only participate with permission from the Subcommittee Chair.

13.2. Subcommittee Chair

The Chair of a Subcommittee must be an Officer of the Consortium or a representative (principal or alternate) of a Full, Institutional, or Supporting Member. Subcommittee Chairs are appointed by the Technical Committee Chair. The status of Subcommittee organizations will be reviewed annually.

13.3. Reporting requirements

The Chair of a Subcommittee must report to the Technical Committee on meetings of that Subcommittee.

14. Documentation

14.1. Mailing lists

The Chair or Subcommittee Chair shall designate a person to maintain a mailing list for participants in Technical Committee or Subcommittee meetings. See Section 7.2 Who may participate in Technical Committee meetings and Section 13.1 Who may participate in Subcommittee meetings for those who may participate. Participation in mailing list discussions is considered an extension of Technical Committee or Subcommittee meetings, and, as such, participation is at the discretion of the Technical Committee or Subcommittee Chair.

14.2. Calendar of meetings

The calendar of Technical Committee meetings shall be available on the public side of the Unicode Consortium Web site.  The calendar will also show other events or meetings of interest.

14.3. Agenda of meeting

The initial agenda of a UTC meeting shall be compiled by the Chair of the UTC, and made available to members no later than one week before the meeting. Additional agenda items may be added after the initial agenda is distributed, up to and during the meeting itself. All members may submit items to the Chair for inclusion in the agenda. The inclusion of submitted items is at the discretion of the Chair, or during the meeting at the discretion of the Presiding Chair.

For the Unicode CLDR-TC and ULI-TC, all members of email lists may submit items to the Chair for inclusion in the agenda. Additional agenda items may be added after the initial agenda is distributed, up to and during the meeting itself. The inclusion of submitted items is at the discretion of the Chair and Vice Chair.

14.4. Meeting documents

14.4.1. Identification

The Chair shall designate a person or procedure to assign document numbers.

14.4.2. Distribution

Documents to be considered at meetings of a Technical Committee shall be distributed not later than one week before the meeting. Documents received less than one week before a Technical Committee meeting may, at the discretion of the Chair, be processed, particularly if there is a need for action to meet a schedule for standardization or for coordination with another group.

When a proposal is introduced for the first time in a Technical Committee meeting, any voting member can ask for the decision to be delayed to the next meeting, to allow time for study. The Chair will normally honor the request, except under exceptional circumstances.

Meeting documents will be announced on the committee e-mail lists and placed in the document register.

14.5. Meeting Minutes

The Minutes of a Technical Committee meeting shall be made available within seven business days of the meeting.

14.6. Action Item list

A list of action items shall be kept and reviewed at each meeting of the Technical Committee.

14.7. Member web site

The Unicode Office will maintain a password-protected Members only section of the Unicode Web site.

15. The Unicode Consortium as a member of other organizations

Relationships with other organizations are at the level of the Unicode Consortium, not at the Technical Committee level. For more information, see Unicode as a Member of Other Organizations.

16. Enforcement of these procedures

During a meeting, the Presiding Chair shall decide any question concerning interpretation or application of these rules. Outside a meeting, the Chair of the Technical Committee shall decide any question concerning interpretation or application of these rules.

17. Handling of company private data

For information on handling of company private data, see Confidential Data Policy.

Appendix A: Technical Committee Procedures -- Revision History

  • January 1991, Draft, written by Mark Davis
  • December 1997, Reformatted, by Julia Oesterle
  • July 1998, Draft revision, by Joan Aliprand
  • December 1998, Distributed with incorporated revisions
  • October 1999, Revisions re proxies and recording of meetings, by Lisa Moore
  • February 2001, Revisions regarding quorum determination, precedents, acceptance voting, letter ballots, and other clarifications, by Lisa Moore
  • November 2001, Revisions regarding proxy designations via e-mail, by Lisa Moore
  • April 2004, Revisions regarding decisions, public review issues, and miscellaneous updates by Lisa Moore
  • May 2005, Revisions to include new and changed member categories by Lisa Moore
  • August 2005, merged UTC and Unicode CLDR-TC procedures and removed approval voting, by Lisa Moore
  • June 2007, clarified role of Subcommittee Chair in 13.1 and participation in mailing list discussions in 14.1
  • April 2011, Updated with the formation of a third technical committee, Unicode Localization Interoperability TC
  • December 2011, Clarified appointment of Subcommittee chairs in 13.2
  • July 2014, removed references to joint L2 and Unicode meetings.

Access to Copyright and terms of use