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RE: img@relaxed CP [was: CfC: Close ISSUE-206: meta-generator by Amicable Resolution]

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2012 23:35:04 -0700
To: "'Henri Sivonen'" <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>, <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "'Edward O'Connor'" <eoconnor@apple.com>
Message-ID: <024501cd7142$1ff0afe0$5fd20fa0$@ca>
On August 01, 2012 Henri Sivonen wrote:
> 
> Do you really not understand this distinction? Do you really think
> this is about making things nicer to validator users? After all these
> permathreads? Even if you disagree about what markup generator
> developers would do or disagree that what they would do would be worse
> for accessibility, I think it's totally counterproductive to
> mischaracterize what this discussion is about.

But then, On Aug 2, 2012 Henri Sivonen wrote:
>
> I believe the key thing is whether the markup generator developer
> thinks that the validator output reflects badly on the quality of the
> generator in the eyes of ill-informed people who use validation as a
> quick smoketest of generator quality. I expect any suggestion that the
> output of the generator is "incomplete" to trigger the worry that the
> validator output reflects badly on the quality of the generator in the
> eyes of ill-informed people who use validation is a quick smoketest to
> such a degree that some markup generator developers want to make said
> validator output go away.

Let's see here... In 2 sentences I count 6 instances of "generator", 3 instances of "validator output", and 2 instances of "validation" (and zero mention of end user), so ya, I believe that you are primarily interested in what the validator outputs, to the point where the end user's needs are being trumped by your concern. 

You want the validator results to tell the generator tool and those "ill-informed people" using such tools and who, surprise surprise, want a validator to tell them if they are doing things right, that bravo, you're doing a good job (even if it/they aren't). How else can anyone interpret your statements?


On  August 02, 2012 Henri Sivonen wrote:
> 
> On Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 10:04 AM, Michael[tm] Smith <mike@w3.org> wrote:
> >   C. Make the default validator behavior be that if a document
> contains any
> >      instances of img elements that have the relaxed/incomplete
> attribute
> >      (or whatever the name ends up as), emit a single warning per
> document:
> >
> >        Warning: This document contains at least one "incomplete"
> attribute,
> >        which indicates it may have images that lack text
> alternatives. 

<snip>
> 
> But alerting users is what triggers the behavior in (some) markup
> generator developers that we're trying to avoid triggering! I expect
> that the kind of the markup generator developers who wanted to silence
> HTML4 validators with alt="" would want to make this warning go away,
> too, so I expect this proposal would not yield a worthwhile benefit
> compared to going back to the HTML4 situation but would add complexity
> on the way. That is to say, I think this compromise is worse than
> either Ted's proposal or making validators whine about the absence of
> the alt attribute as with HTML4.

Again Henri, where does THE END USER factor into your argument? You appear to be looking for a crutch to prop up crappy generator tools, plain and simple. I see you worrying more about idiots gaming their code so that they don't get an error message, so that they can proudly display their "My code Validates" button and be smugly proud that they have done a good job. 

Let's be clear - they haven't, and no manner of attempting to mask that fact (including not informing them of that inconvenient truth) will change that fact.

I can accept that lessening the impact of those error messages might have some value in certain instances, and I've even come to accept that injecting something other than alt="" *is* actually a better idea (and so yes, I've flipped again, and go back to what I originally stated earlier, and rescind my thoughts of earlier this week. Wait for it: I was wrong then.)

But let's be both honest and very clear: this is not solving the *real* problem, but rather masking it in an effort to get a better over-all output from tools such as your validator. If this helps validators in catching 90% of the problems (and seeing them corrected), then I must accept that 10% will still get through, even if one of those problems is as serious and important to accessibility as ensuring that important images always have alternative text.

And you should be honest enough to admit that validators, and more importantly junk generators that don't even offer the opportunity to do the proper *and truly conformant* thing, are gaining way more in this emergent compromise than non-sighted users.

JF
Received on Friday, 3 August 2012 06:35:43 GMT

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