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Re: STILL Open--48-Hour Consensus Call: Request to reconsider Alt Techniques Location

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 13:05:42 -0500
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120223180542.GF5179@sonata.rednote.net>
Sam Ruby writes:
> On 02/22/2012 04:28 PM, Janina Sajka wrote:
> >Hi, Sam:
> >
> >Sam Ruby writes:
> >>On 02/21/2012 02:19 PM, Janina Sajka wrote:
> >>>Colleagues:
> >>>
> >>>Inasmuch as this 48 hour consensus was called on a Friday afternoon in
> >>>front of a 3-day U.S. holliday weekend, the call is still open. Please
> >>>feel free to respond until end of business Boston Time on Wednesday, 22
> >>>February.
> >>
> >The extension relates to whether Steve's CP gets TF consensus backing.
> >Is there some other issue here?
> 
> The original deadline for such requests was February 11th:

And an earlier version of this request was filed by that deadline. You
are aware of that, no?

> 
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2012Feb/0082.html
> 
> The last the chairs heard (on Thursday, February 16th) was that we
> were going to get the request on Monday February 20th:
> 
> http://www.w3.org/2012/02/16-html-wg-minutes.html#item10
> 
I agree the minutes are not clear. However, I was speaking of TF
consensus in support of the CP. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear to you at
the time.

> This extension, without consulting with the chairs, surprised us.
> 
> Be that as it may, the request has been reviewed by the chairs and
> is additionally starting to get substantive feedback on public-html.
> Independent of the good questions asked by all, the primary question
> the chairs are focused on at the moment is: is there new information
> being presented which, had it been available at the time of the
> original decision, would have materially affected the decision if
> unrebutted?
> 
That may be far too narrow a focus, I'm afraid. I understand this is the
process adopted here, and we've tried to work within it. But, it is
increasingly becoming clear that we cannot get a systemic solution out
of fragmenting the questions, and alternative text requires a wholistic
solution to work for users in the way that users need.


Let's take a brief review of where we are today--where the existing
approach has lead us:

*	We have no workable mechanism for longer text descriptions. We
*	haven't had one for almost a full year now. It doesn't appear
*	the WG is about to provide one anytime soon.

*	We have a recently reaffirmed exemption from alt on images for
*	most content on the net today.
	http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2012Feb/0237.html

*	We've seen some appropriate resolutions, but we've also seen
*	other items remain unresolved. Compare
*	http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Apr/0452.html
*	with bugs cited in
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Apr/0453.html

*	We have conflicting guidance in HTML documents on a critical
*	accessibility issue that's much bigger than just HTML.

So, my bottom line is that we've moved from a cohesive and comprehensive
solution in HTML 4 to an incoherent and unworkable situation in HTML 5.
Needless to say, that's unacceptable.

> >>Despite this extension, the chairs have decided to proceed with
> >>publishing their evaluation of the Change Proposal as it exists
> >>today:
> >>
> >>http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2012Feb/0293.html
> >>
> >1.) I don't see the very first item the CP mentions being considered. Was
> >it? namely, relevance to many technologies, not simply HTML? Did you
> >have a position on that?
> 
> Can you point out the new information here?
Can you point to where it was determined that HTML defines appropriate
conformance for SVG? ODF? Etc.? Is that the assertion? It is our
assertion that alternative text isn't just about HTML and is thus
inappropriately held hostage in this WG.

> 
> >2.)	The CP asserts a systemic problem for which the cited bugs are
> >illustrative. I see your response on the individual bugs, but not on the
> >global question. In fact the assertion, as I understand it, is that
> >escalating these individually is counter-productive and unlikely to
> >achieve the needed remedy, a systematic elimination of specific
> >illustrative guidance in the HTML specs. We assert the specs should
> >define lexical markup, not authoring guidance, as the evidence--since
> >calendar year 2007--suggests this guidance is often unsatisfactory, and
> >historical efforts to correct it have been frustrated. Were we then to
> >escalate each individual issue, it's highly likely we would achieve
> >reasonable results on some, but there's no basis for an expectation that
> >all would be properly addressed. Hence, no escalation on on individual
> >issues because of the historical pattern, and rather the request to
> >defer to the appropriate guidance document--which exists because of the
> >history, as the earlier CP pointed out.
> 
> Looking at the specific bugs cited, much of the information isn't
> new, nor did we find a pattern in the set of bugs where one or more
> were adopted, one or more never resulted in a tangible proposal, and
> others were not pursued.
See above. I cite your decision from April last.

> 
> Can you succinctly state what the pattern is here, what you believe
> to be the root cause is for that pattern, and show how this proposal
> addresses that root cause?
How many times will suffice?

> 
> >3.)	The April decision suggested a new WCAG might be grounds for
> >reconsideration. The CP points to how that was a misunderstanding of
> >WCAG, and how current work actually satisfies the suggestion the Chairs
> >reached last April, howbeit from incorrect reasoning. Is there a
> >response for this here somewhere that I'm missing.
> 
> This was not listed by the Change Proposal in "The grounds for
> re-opening" section.  Feel free to update the Change Proposal.
It's there, but I'll try to make it even clearer for you.

> 
> Here is the relevant portion of the decision that you cited:
> 
>   * Publication of a new version of WCAG that contains sufficient
>      concrete examples relevant to HTML5 which would serve as a suitable
>      reference.
> 
> If you do update the Change Proposal, I encourage you to identify
> the specific concrete examples relevant to HTML5 that you suggest as
> replacement for each of the sections that the Change Proposal
> identifies as one that should be removed from the HTML5
> specification.  In cases where the recommendations differ, please
> also identify the use cases, substantive arguments, and rationale
> that supports the version of the recommendation as it exists in the
> relevant WCAG documents.
> 
> >This is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis, but I think these are
> >three major misunderstandings between the CP and the analysis cited.
> >
> >Janina
> 
> - Sam Ruby

-- 

Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200
		sip:janina@asterisk.rednote.net

Chair, Open Accessibility	janina@a11y.org	
Linux Foundation		http://a11y.org

Chair, Protocols & Formats
Web Accessibility Initiative	http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Received on Thursday, 23 February 2012 18:06:11 GMT

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