All public W3C documents have one of five possible statuses:
Note: A Note is a dated exposition of an idea, comment, or document. It does not represent commitment by W3C to pursue work related to the Note.
Working Draft: A Working Draft represents work in progress and a commitment by W3C to pursue work in this area. It does not imply consensus by a group or W3C.
Candidate Recommendation: A Candidate Recommendation is work that has received significant review from its immediate technical community within the W3C. It is an explicit call to those outside of the related Working Groups or the W3C itself for implementation and technical feedback.
Proposed Recommendation: A Proposed Recommendation is work that
Represents consensus within the group that produced it, and
Has been proposed by the director to the advisory committee for review.
Recommendation: A Recommendation is work that represents consensus within the W3C and has the director's approval. The W3C considers that the ideas or technology specified by a Recommendation are appropriate for widespread deployment and promote the W3C's objectives.
W3C documents contain their status prominently on the first page, so any change in status requires issuance of a new version.
Although the W3C uses the term "Recommendation," its Recommendations are just as much standards as IETF standards, and IETF standards are just as much recommendations as W3C Recommendations. (See Appendix C.)