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alt / no alt / etc Re: "downplayed errors"

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 09:13:30 +0100
To: "Leif Halvard Silli" <lhs@malform.no>, "Robert J Burns" <rob@robburns.com>
Cc: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.uo6g4ss0wxe0ny@widsith.local>

On Wed, 11 Feb 2009 00:41:07 +0100, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>  
wrote:

>
> Robert J Burns 2009-02-10 18.37:
>> On Feb 9, 2009, at 8:32 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
>>> On Tue, 10 Feb 2009, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>>>>  For example, I think we could get consensus that img with no al  
>>>> attribute is "conformant but not recommended". I don't think we will  
>>>> get consensus that img with no alt is conformant and recommended, and  
>>>> I am dubious about consensus that it is non-conformant.
>>>  As far as I can tell we already have consensus on alt="" being  
>>> required. (With one or two exceptions, the spec requires alt="" to be  
>>> present. The exceptions are machine-checkable.)
>>  Up to your first sentence I think we agree. Though I might have
>>  gone so far to say we have consensus since I felt there were some  
>> objections to alt='' being required.
>
> It is worth trying to understand Ian vs. Charles. Both agree that HTML 5  
> documents entirely free from alt attributes could deserve the W3  
> Validator's "Valid" badge - depending on so and so.
>
> However, according to Charles, lack of @alt becomes a 'downplayed error'  
> ('conformant but not recommended'). It is unclear whether Charles sees  
> *any* lack of alt as 'conforming/not recommended' or if he limits  
> conformances to Ian's machine-checkable exceptions.

Actually, I think Ian's machine-checkable exceptions are reasonable  
candidates for "conformant". I am talking about the infamous case where  
nobody who knows has said anything about what the alt should be, in which  
case there should not be some made-up text, simply a missing alt attribute  
and this should be recommended against - explicitly identified as a  
problem (but one that stuffing some dummy text in will only aggravate).

I.e. having alt="" for cases where there is nothing known is a more  
serious error (since it is misleading information rather than simply  
insufficient information) than not having an alt attribute or some  
recognised alternative.

Cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 08:14:26 GMT

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