Mike MacGirvin's said: "There’s nothing magic about a protocol. It’s basically just a gentleman’s agreement about how to implement something."
Strictly that statement is about protocols, not standards committees (W3C).
A "gentlemen's agreement" here means one which is loose and/or bound only by fidelity, not literally gentlemen or exclusivity thereof.
Seems uncontroversial to me: standards should not be too loose. But they do need implementation fidelity to be useful.