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RE: CFC re ISSUE-31 Missing Alt

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 22:15:47 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Laura Carlson'" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, "'Sean Hayes'" <Sean.Hayes@microsoft.com>
Cc: "'Janina Sajka'" <janina@rednote.net>, "'Matt Morgan-May'" <mattmay@adobe.com>, "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "'Gregory J. Rosmaita'" <oedipus@hicom.net>
Message-ID: <01da01cae75b$0628fc70$127af550$@edu>
Laura Carlson wrote:
>
> I tweaked this a bit more [1]. It now reads:
>
> <draft text>
>
> Outcomes of Creating a Missing Attribute
>
> A missing attribute provides a practical method of detection,
> handling, and repair of missing text alternatives, after a conscious
> decision has been made by the author to deliberately publish images
> without text alternatives. It would:
>
> * Allow an image without alt text be honestly labeled for it is:
> missing, incomplete, lacking substance.
> * Affirm that the author did not (and does not intend to) provide a
> text alternative.
> * Provide a machine checkable mechanism to locate missing alt
> text/enable tools to quickly discern where "missing" has been used.
> * Afford a practical means to mitigate damages after all else has
> failed, allowing for crowdsourcing or metadata repair. AT would be at
> liberty apply a crowdsourced definition, to scour image metadata or or
> both, since the AT knows that the author didn't apply a text
> alternative, it can inform the user as to the potential deficiency in
> the located text(s).
> * Support ethical accountability by developing and promoting
> responsible tools and by advocating an effective enabling environment.
>
> </draft text>
>
> Can anyone not live with that? Ideas for improvement? All input
> appreciated.

Hi Laura,

I'm having a very hard time with this myself. How, fundamentally, is 
crowd-sourcing and mining of obtuse metadata going to accurately supply 
appropriate text alternatives to an image. What differentiates 
crowd-sourcing from OCR guessing - they are guesses that have an equal 
chance of being wrong as even partially right.

I am not opposed to @missing (or @alt-not-asserted, or something of that 
nature) as this is accurate and precise - having others supply a guess as to 
what the image is (via crowd-sourcing, extrapolating from metadata, etc.) 
misses (for me) the whole point - the image was inserted by the author for a 
reason, and *only* the author can convey that reason. Crowd-sourcing 
neglects the fact that the "image" has a contextual component to it.

For example, my daughter recently posted a picture of herself from Paris, 
where she was visiting as an exchange student. The photo is of her, with the 
Eiffel tower in the background - the tower being contextual to family and 
friends of her location, but the *point* of the photo is/was that she (my 
daughter, Victoria) was in Paris.

In a crowd-sourcing scenario, the number of people who would recognize and 
know my daughter's name would be extremely small, yet the Eiffel tower is 
iconic - thus the crowd-sourced ALT text would be "Eiffel Tower" or "girl in 
front of the Eiffel Tower". Does that add any value at all? Does it perhaps 
instead detract from the value, or at the very least miss the entire point 
of the photo?

In a private conversation earlier today, I was reminded of this story - one 
I've heard myself before:
	"...anthropologists showed a group of remote Papua-New Guineans 15 minutes 
of film shot on a busy Melbourne street -- after the film played, the 
anthropologists asked the sample group what images they recognized in the 
film, and after some hushed conversation, an answer emerged: "the chicken"; 
this greatly confused the anthropologists because they weren't aware that in 
one brief span a person is seen holding a freshly killed rooster by its 
bound legs; it wasn't until the anthropologists sat down with the film 
frame-by-frame that they caught the fleeting image of the chicken, which to 
the Papua-New Guineans was the only recognizable component of the 15 minute 
film..."

As it stands now, I can support the current change proposal at: 
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126to

Further, I can support the addition of: "A missing attribute [that]...

 * Allow[s] an image without alt text be honestly labeled for it is: 
missing, incomplete, lacking substance.
 * Affirm[s] that the author did not (and does not intend to) provide a text 
alternative.
 * Provide[s] a machine checkable mechanism to locate missing alt 
text/enable tools to quickly discern where "missing" has been used."

I *Strongly Oppose* however references to crowd-sourcing, metadata mining or 
OCR processing, as all are guessing strategies that I find unacceptable.

JF
Received on Thursday, 29 April 2010 05:16:20 GMT

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