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Notice of impending Formal Objection to Issue 30 Decision (@longdesc)

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 14:58:17 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Michael\(tm\) Smith'" <mike@w3.org>, "'Sam Ruby'" <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "'Paul Cotton'" <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, <janina@rednote.net>, "Michael Cooper" <cooper@w3.org>
Cc: "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <012901cb39a0$4e02fb80$ea08f280$@edu>
Please be advised that I intend to work with a group of others to create a
Formal Objection to this decision. In particular, I am appalled by the
comments:

"External references (standards, laws, etc) was also found to be a weak
argument for inclusion." [1]

...and

"The strongest argument against inclusion was the lack of use cases that
clearly and directly support this specific feature of the language." [2]

[1] Failing to continue to support @longdesc directly contravenes WCAG 2
and the Techniques for Success Criteria - existing published Standards for
the creation of accessible web content. Large entities and governments
link to and/or directly reference this W3C Standard for authoring
guidance, and removing a currently supported attribute for nothing more
than political expediency in HTML5 is a bad decision: the net effect is
those entities that *MUST* abide by WCAG 2 will be shut out from
officially using "HTML 5 - the Markup Language". Ignoring regional laws
and requirements is not something that the W3C should be trifling with.

[2] The use case has been clearly explained and previously documented, and
in at least one instance demonstrated in the wild.

A) Great fanfare has gone into stating how "backwards compatible" HTML5
will be, yet here, when it comes to accessibility support it seems to be
less of a desired goal. This is an unacceptable double standard.

B) @longdesc will continue to be part of HTML 4, and user-agents that
purport to support HTML 4 will continue to need to support @longdesc. The
net cost to continued support at the engineering (user-agent) level is
$0.00 - the removal of this important attribute is nothing more than
political gerrymandering.

The most damning comment in the Chairs response however is reserved for
this line: "... if longdesc is conforming, user agents will be required to
support it;" - does this then suggest that once HTML 5 becomes an Official
Standard minus @longdesc that user agents will no longer be required to
support @longdesc? Who, outside of the browser manufacturers benefits from
this exactly?

(signed an extremely frustrated and angry)

JF
Received on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 21:58:52 GMT

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