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Re: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-31 / ISSUE-80 validation survey

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 16:09:32 -0400
Message-ID: <4DB1E07C.80809@mit.edu>
To: public-html@w3.org
On 4/22/11 3:29 PM, Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> My observation is that *of their own accord*, users file many
> complaints about validation errors (for instance) but very few about
> accessibility.  That suggests that many more users care about
> validation issues with MediaWiki than accessibility issues with
> MediaWiki.  (Which could be because MediaWiki's accessibility is good
> enough that users don't feel the need to file bugs.)

Actually, what it suggests is that many more users who file bugs care 
about validation issues than accessibility issues.

Which could also be due to selection bias in who files bugs (e.g. I will 
bet money the set of people who file bugs are more likely to care about 
validation nitpicks than the set of all users of your software).  As an 
edge case, if your bug reporting system is impossible to navigate via a 
text reader you will never get bug reports for text reader users. 
Reality is not quite like that, I would hope, but the effect is still 
present...  So reading user desires into bug reports should be taken 
with a very large grain of salt.

Note that this effect cuts both ways, by the way: for a given issue 
users may care more or less about it than bug reports indicate depending 
on the biases of your bug reporters.

Also note that your comments about authors being everyone are _very_ 
important.  We should be aspiring to that.  Whatever makes authoring 
more complicated needs to be weighed very carefully to decide whether 
it's worthwhile.  Sometimes it still is, but we should not blindly 
assume we can just add new burdens on authors.

Providing good authoring tool guidance that will lead to better content 
while at the same time not hampering authors if possible is crucial, 
imo.  For example, MediaWiki should certainly have a way for authors to 
easily set descriptive text when uploading an image, but should probably 
not require that.  And there should be guidance that says it should 
provide the option, so the MediaWiki developers don't have to figure 
that out for themselves.

-Boris
Received on Friday, 22 April 2011 20:10:00 UTC

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