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Working Group Decision on ISSUE-122 shalott-example

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 10:59:30 -0400
Message-ID: <4D91F3D2.5040305@intertwingly.net>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
The decision follows.  The chairs made an effort to explicitly address
all arguments presented in the Change Proposals on this topic in
addition to arguments posted as objections in the poll.

*** Question before the Working Group ***

There is a basic disagreement in the group as to whether the alt
attribute on <img> elements must be empty for purely decorative images.
The result was an issue, two change proposals, and a straw poll for
objections:

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/122
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/thematicimages
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/purely_decorative_images
http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/issue-122-objection-poll/results

We also received input from the March 2011 HTML Accessibility Task
Force Face to Face where the members assembled of the Task Force,
including the authors of both of the Change Proposals offered, endorsed
the 'move advice about providing alt text for "purely decorative
images" out of the HTML5 spec' proposal.

== Uncontested observations:

Based on the two change proposals we received,

* No update is required of the "HTML5: Techniques for providing useful
   text alternatives" document.

* Alt images need not be empty for purely decorative issues.

No rationale or evidence was ever provided for that providing a text
alternative in this case can be confusing or misleading.  No rationale
or evidence was ever provided for the Claim that the image examples
cited do not enhance the themes or subject matter of the page content.

At this point, we have no dispute about what the specs need to say, the
only matter remaining to be determined is how to word this in the
"HTML5: A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML"
specification.

=== Objections

Starting from the change proposals themselves, nothing in the Change
Proposal to "permit authors to provide text alternatives for images
considered to enhance the themes or subject matter of a page" directly
defends the position of redundantly specifying that authors may provide
text alternatives for images that enhances the theme or subject matter
of the page.

The Change Proposal to 'move advice about providing alt text for "purely
decorative images" out of the HTML5 spec' indirectly objects to the
other proposal as it fails to provide a "single reference".  We have an
objection from the survey that a failure to provide a single reference
introduces a small risk that the text may become outdated or changed.

No other technical objections were provided.

*** Decision of the Working Group ***

Therefore, the HTML Working Group hereby adopts the 'move advice about
providing alt text for "purely decorative images" out of the HTML5
spec' Proposal for ISSUE-122.  Of the Change Proposals before us, this
one has drawn the weaker objections.

== Next Steps ==

Bug 9081 is to be REOPENED and marked as WGDecision.

Since the prevailing Change Proposal does call for a spec change, the
editor is hereby directed to make the changes in accordance to the
change proposal.  Once those changes are complete ISSUE-122 is to be
marked as CLOSED.

== Appealing this Decision ==

If anyone strongly disagrees with the content of the decision and would
like to raise a Formal Objection, they may do so at this time. Formal
Objections are reviewed by the Director in consultation with the Team.
Ordinarily, Formal Objections are only reviewed as part of a transition
request.

=== Arguments not considered:

The following objection was not considered:

   I object to this change proposal in so far as it affects the HTML
   specification.

A decision on the matter of whether or not alt attribute on <img>
elements must be empty for purely decorative images affects multiple
documents produced by the HTML WG.  The HTML specification is one of the 
documents affected by this decision.
Received on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:00:01 GMT

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