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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>  

> 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.



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 UTC

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