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Re: CfC: to publish HTML 5.1 specification as a First Public Working Draft (FPWD)

From: Robin Berjon <robin@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 12:37:52 +0100
Message-ID: <50C9BE10.5070201@w3.org>
To: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
CC: public-html-admin@w3.org
On 07/12/2012 16:02 , David MacDonald wrote:
> I would say that the FPWD will get a lot of attention and whether we
> like it or not, people will take very seriously what we appear to
> recommend regarding ALT. Therefore, I would like to see this section
> have to same level of rigorousness as the rest of the document which it
> currently does not have. Therefore, I think itís better spun out to an
> extension spec.

Actually, one difference between FPWD and CR is that we don't have to 
stick to the same level of rigorousness ó and we should use that.

The advice that's in the CR is already out of kilter with WCAG. This is 
a problem, and thankfully it's a problem that we're committed to solving 
over the next few months (in relation to the AltTech work).

I think that the generator-unable-to-provide-required-alt idea is very 
interesting additional input to this discussion, and I would like to 
keep it there for now precisely because I think that it enriches the 
side-by-side comparison we can make between AltTech and current HTML in 
a way that I believe actually helps find a path to consensus.

> Is there anyone on the HTML5 working group who thinks this advice
> represents current best practices?

The advice currently in HTML5 would IMHO be potentially very good advice 
if the alt attribute were invented just two weeks ago and we were trying 
to figure out how it should actually be used.

In practice though, it fails the test for paving the cowpath. Real 
content does not use alt in the way that is recommended in the spec, 
which means that any tool processing alt will have to expose it in a way 
that is different from that recommended in the spec, which in turn makes 
the latter pretty much useless except as a thought exercise.

That, indeed, is a problem (and a bigger problem than disagreeing with 
WCAG or hurting W3C unity). But I don't think that procedurally 
splitting it off right now would help, especially considering that the 
bulk of the objectionable content is going to ship in CR anyway (that 
ship having sailed). In fact, doing so would use up time from the very 
people who are noodling over finding a good solution (namely, your 
friendly editors and the A11y TF).

So by all means let's keep figuring out how to solve this, but let's not 
get bogged down in logistics. FPWDs are allowed to be wrong. Let's use 
that right!

Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/ - @robinberjon
Received on Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:38:06 UTC

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