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Re: [text] minutes: Text Alternatives Subgroup 2011-04-18 [draft]

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 11:27:31 -0400
Message-ID: <4DADA9E3.2070006@intertwingly.net>
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
On 04/18/2011 08:42 PM, Laura Carlson wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> On 4/18/11, Gregory J. Rosmaita<oedipus@hicom.net>  wrote:
>
>>    JB: who has read all 3 of these in detail
>
> I have studied all three decisions, especially the longdesc decision.
>
> The number one strongest deficiency in the previous rejected change
> proposals for longdesc, summary, and posteralt was lack of
> communicating specific use cases. It seems that the HTML Chairs did
> not understand WHY these accessibility features are needed. We may
> have thought that we articulated the use cases but it seems from the
> decisions that we did not.

While I would have stated it differently, I agree with your general 
point.  The role of the chairs is not to be subject area experts in 
every possible subject area.  Instead we provide ample time for people 
to gather and distill evidence to support their claims, and then the 
chairs evaluate that evidence that actually was provided.

If in that ample time nobody thinks that a given use case is worth 
mentioning, then don't expect us to evaluate use cases that weren't 
actually provided.

I will go further and encourage you to not stop at simply listing use 
cases.  What's needed is specifics, specifics, specifics.

Take a look at other decisions.  Here's the one on <table 
role="presentation">:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Mar/0245.html

In particular, the following paragraph:

> This assertion does not mention a specific example.   By contrast the
> authors of the proposal to make <table role="presention"> conforming
> cite gmail, facebook, yahoo mail, numerous IBM applications, and
> toolkits such as DOJO and YUI.  As each of these are actively
> maintained, we find that there was insufficient evidence provided to
> back up this assertion.

And I will point out that this was a case where everyone agreed on the 
general principle that "tables should not be used for layout".  Even in 
the case where EVERYBODY agrees with a general principle, if evidence 
can be brought forward citing SPECIFIC impact and hardship on SPECIFIC 
sites, tools, and implementations it can be successfully argued that a 
suitably NARROW exception can be granted.

Asking for specifics is also consistent with what evidence we are also 
asking of others:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Apr/0369.html

> What is speculative at this point is what tools would be willing to do.
> Hard information on that point would be helpful at this point.  With
> that information in hand, we can evaluate proposals on what, if
> anything, should change in the spec.

The general thrust I gather from these minutes is "we need more time to 
properly deprecate longdesc".  If that indeed is the case, then back 
that claim up with specifics.  WHO needs more time?  How much time would 
they LIKE?  How much time could they LIVE WITH?  What would be the 
IMPACT in terms of negative effects if they were not provided that time?

I can tell you that the co-chairs have no problem reopening issues once, 
should new information be provided that meets the following bar:

   http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=11447#c4

The only caution I will state is that I used the word ONCE in the above 
paragraph.  The co-chairs will not be a party to serially reopening any 
given issue simply because people who care deeply about a given issue 
failed to provide adequate specifics when they were given multiple 
opportunities to do so.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 15:28:01 UTC

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