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RE: Moving Forward with @summary

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 23:38:26 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Murray Maloney'" <murray@muzmo.com>
Cc: "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <063c01ca1729$a3c0f3f0$eb42dbd0$@edu>
Murray Maloney wrote:
> OK. I agree with you so far, and I am ready to leave it at that. How
> about you?


> Let's get on with creating the next draft. I would like to participate
> in a constructive
> discussion on specific wording that we would like to see in HTML 5.
> John, you got the ball rolling. I see no reason that you can't continue
> to make
> changes to a parallel draft that focuses on wording. I am more than
> happy
> to contribute my experience and technical writing and editing skills to
> the task.
> I cannot offer to lead the effort, but I will do my part if we can form
> a team
> of interested contributors, perhaps we can turn this ship around by
> presenting
> the working group with a technically accurate and politically
> acceptable
> set of diffs.

Manu Sporny has set up a system whereby you can manage and contribute to
an alternative draft:

I urge you to contact Manu if you are interested in contributing.

At this time I am less inclined to manage a parallel effort, however I
will likely be involved with Manu's effort in some fashion; I do not rule
out offering input to Ian's draft as well, and in fact am hoping to turn
my efforts and time towards the accessibility of <video>, and in
particular captioning - areas where we pretty much can all agree needs
work, and that currently hold my personal and professional interest today.

> I am not intending to suggest that Ian or anyone should be excluded
> from
> the discussion,
> but I am hoping that we can turn our heads toward a specific set of
> diffs that we can
> present, after reasoned discussion among the proponents of @summary, to
> the skeptics among us.

I think that this is a reasonable and good idea.  At some point however we
will collectively need to reach some form of compromised or consensus
position, but having fully fleshed out thoughts and proposals will make
this decision process easier for all.

> Sceptics, don't get me wrong. I do understand your position. I have
> reviewed the facts.
> I did not reach the same conclusion as you, but I do expect to reach
> the same conclusion
> in due course. I expect that @summary will eventually give way to
> better techniques.
> But I know that AT companies are very slow to react to change because
> they are underfunded.
> They do not make progress at internet speed. I hope that by 2012,
> @summary will be long gone.

I tend to agree that the legacy status of @summary is a good reason to
continue to keep it conformant, although I cannot ignore the data that
shows it has been ill used or under-used to date.  My feeling is that the
lack of good guidance and education is as much the culprit here as
anything else.  At the same time, there are some interesting new features
in HTML5 that might serve to deliver what the target community requires
above and beyond what @summary is delivering. Progress is good.

> Warning messages
> would become especially helpful, as would QA tools to help a publisher
> test
> content for best practices.
> I am hoping for wording that guides authors toward annotating their
> tables
> with legends
> and captions, and providing sufficient explanatory text. That is simply
> good editorial policy.
> It is good and right. I would not detract from that policy in any way.
> However, we could go
> much further in offering editorial advice on accessible table design,
> which
> differs from
> your typical visual display of quantitative information.

Personally, I'd like to start thinking of them as advisories, rather than
warnings.  While it might seem like the splitting of semantic hairs,
advisories can be seen as more positive 'events' - what I've referred to
previously as teachable moments.

> The discussion about @summary is not closed. I think that it is now
> incumbent upon the
> proponents of @summary to put up or shut up, so to speak. And please
> don't
> shoot me,
> I'm on your side. However, like many of the 'sceptics', I am growing
> weary of the ongoing
> bickering and argumentum ad hominem.


Received on Friday, 7 August 2009 06:39:06 UTC

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