I was just at a W3C meeting last night and realized that a Stack Exchange community might just be the type of community that this standards body needs.
How do the other community sites (English Language and Usage, Drupal, Wordpress) get started?
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As BoltClock said, if you have a special scenario, send an email with all of the details to [email protected] (there's a "contact us" link in the footer of every page on the network). We do consider exceptions to our usual processes from time to time, but - being exceptions and all - they're judged on a case by case basis. In this case, if the W3C as an organization is endorsing and committed to the idea of a W3C Stack Exchange site, definitely shoot us an email to start a conversation.
I'm not sure whether Stack Exchange's Area 51 can really work for smaller expert communities. The process (very rightly) is more geared at the participation of a large number of people, including a number of high-rep users from the existing network. A W3C proposal (as in, a site where the actual W3 consortium asks questions, exchanges information, and to a lesser extent discusses problems while working on new standards) is unlikely to gain the necessary size.
Also, you have very little control over how the site's features work and develop - this may turn out to be a problem e.g. if the site is used for specific voting procedures.
You may be better off using one of the SO clones.
Of course, that way, you're responsible for installing, polishing, customizing, and maintaining the platform, which can be quite a bit of work.
Another option might be talking to SE, Inc. about a stand-alone copy of the SO engine. They are said to be offering this to companies for in-house use for very large sums of money. Maybe the W3C can get a discount, or a fully sponsored solution, or some other form of co-operation.
What good would such a site be? If it's about the use of W3C standards (HTML, XML, CSS, XSLT, etc), then that's pretty much covered by Stack Overflow and/or Programmers.SE. We get questions on these topics all the time.
So if it's not about the use of W3C standards, then what would it be about? If it's for the W3C members themselves... they don't need it. Stack Exchange is designed for Q&A: real questions, which produce real answers. W3C members don't need a Q&A site; they need a place to discuss things. And the SE kinda sucks at discussing anything (which is the point: it inhibits discussion by sucking at it).
And anyway, W3C members already have discussions. Via e-mail and private/public mailing lists. Why do they need an SE site on top of that?
You can go to Area51 and propose a new site.
But first make sure a that it has not been proposed already!