Meetings and Teleconferences
The C++ committee holds two or three full week-long face-to-face meetings a year. One meeting a year is traditionally held outside the continental United States -- often in Europe, but periodically in Canada or Hawaii, or occasionally in the Caribbean, Japan, or Australia.
Typical attendance ranges from 90 to 120 people. These are five- or six-day meetings (Mon-Fri or Mon-Sat), and begin and end with everyone in the same room for a plenary session: On Monday morning, we meet together to organize work for the week, and at the end of the week we meet to consider change recommendations ready to be brought before the whole committee for approval polls. The rest of the time is spent in smaller subgroups where most of the technical discussions occur.
Having the ISO WG meeting co-located with one of its member body's (U.S.'s) committee meetings means a couple of administrative twists to accommodate having two committees in the same room, which also operate at different levels and follow different internal procedural rules:
- Agenda and chair: Our tradition has been that the WG21 convener has the U.S. committee chair publish the combined agenda and administratively chair the face-to-face meeting. (The convener does not have to be the meeting chair.)
- Consensus on changes: For every proposed change brought forward to full committee toward the end of the week, it is the responsibility of the WG21 convener to determine whether there is consensus to adopt the change. First, to determine whether there is general agreement, the convener normally takes a poll of the individual national body-appointed experts in the room, not including observers who are not experts officially representing a national body; unanimity is not required. Then he also checks whether any national bodies have strong objections that need further attention before the change is adopted; again unanimity is not required, but we try to avoid proceeding with a change if there are sustained objections from several nations.
WG21 also holds administrative teleconferences to organize work before each face-to-face meeting, usually on the Friday two weeks before the start of the face-to-face meeting.
In between full face-to-face meetings, we also hold smaller Study Group meetings as desired to focus on particular technical areas.
How to Participate at Face-to-Face Meetings
Meetings are open to the public, and we welcome people to attend for a meeting or two as an observer; this lets you participate and argue and do most everything, except only you can't actually participate in change approval polls. As a courtesy to the host, though, it’s nice to have notice of who’s coming so that we can be sure there are enough seats and refreshments, so if you plan to attend as an observer please contact the respective meeting's host (listed in the meeting's announcement paper) to let them know.
To have a say in approval polls, or for longer-term participation, normally you would join your national body (NB); please consult your nation's body for specific information, as each NB has its own rules and requirements. A second option is that it is also possible for anyone to join the United States national body, which permits non-U.S. members and accepts just about anyone who wants to pay US$1,950 a year to be a member; a number of our international participants use this option when it's significantly cheaper than what their own national body charges.
Note that in general there is no provision for remote participation at face-to-face meetings, especially not plenary sessions, as that would slow down the high-bandwidth face-to-face session. Committee members who want to actively participate are expected to attend in person. However, committee members who are not present can still follow meeting progress via the committee email lists, the meeting wiki, IRC conversations, personal ad-hoc conferencing with a friend who is present, and other means. On occasion, a subgroup chair may choose to use some form of remote participation for a topic in their subgroup.
Email Lists (a.k.a. "Reflectors")
Committee members conduct discussion on internal email lists (aka "reflectors"). The current policy on access to these lists is they are open to:
- Any member of a national body that participates in WG21, including any employee of a company that is already a member of a national body.
- Any person who has already attended a face-to-face meeting in the past. This requirement helps preserve the signal-to-noise ratio by limiting access to people who have demonstrated they're serious about participating.
- (new) For a Study Group email list, the SG chair may also at their own discretion add any new expert who wants to participate. In particular, SGs are especially designed to be open and inclusive to experts in their field.
How to Participate Via Email
If you are an expert in one of the Study Group topic areas (listed on the Committee overview page and Standing Document SD-3) and want to participate specifically in that SG's email list discussion, please contact that SG's chair directly.
The committee is making many of the topic-focused Study Group email lists publicly readable and searchable for the benefit of those who are interested in following the committee's discussion and work, since the Study Groups will normally be the point of first entry where new experts begin participating in our program of work.