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Re: Issue 30 (Was: RE: Getting HTML5 to Recommendation in 2014)

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 09:36:13 -0400
Message-ID: <505B1BCD.50007@intertwingly.net>
To: Adrian Roselli <Roselli@algonquinstudios.com>
CC: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
On 09/20/2012 09:01 AM, Adrian Roselli wrote:
>> From: Edward O'Connor [mailto:eoconnor@apple.com]
>>
>> Hi Laura,
>>
>> You wrote:
>>
>>> What does this mean for ISSUE-30?
>>
>> Quoting from the Plan 2014 document[1]:
>>
>>> To prevent confusion, we've identified how each of the remaining
>>> open issues will be handled:
>>>
>>> 30 longdesc attribute
>>>
>>> Allow the A11y TF the authority to produce an extension spec
>>> that defines a longdesc attribute. If such a specification
>>> obtains consensus and meets the proposed CR exit criteria by
>>> 2014Q2 it could be folded back into the core HTML spec by that
>>> time. This can be combined with a solution for issue 203 and/or
>>> with work on a purported replacement.[2]
>>>
>>> We ask those that oppose instating a longdesc attribute to focus
>>> on producing a better solution, and meanwhile not oppose those
>>> that wish to pursue longdesc via an extension spec or making
>>> progress towards demonstrating that it meets the identified CR
>>> exit criteria.
>>
>> Ted
>>
>> 1. http://dev.w3.org/html5/decision-policy/html5-2014-plan.html 2.
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2012Apr/0003.html
>
> I am still new to the group and trying to get a handle on the process
> overall.
>
> In this proposed draft plan can the a11y TF simply take the authored
> CP to re-instate longdesc and call it an extension spec? I assume
> format changes would be required, but I thought the heavy lift had
> been done to define it.

Yes.

> Based on the number of times I have seen reference to this issue
> being expedited, put on hold, had dates shifted, etc. I get the sense
> that nobody wants to pull the trigger on this either way. Off-loading
> it to the a11y TF absolves the chairs and WG of making a decision (or
> going through a survey process). From my extremely limited experience
> with the process it also wholly shifts the burden to the a11y TF.

Our experience is that extension specifications are less 'burden' (to 
use your words).  If the A11y TF agrees to publish this as an extension 
specification, it can do so.  It can even proceed to Last Call, CR, PR, 
and Rec *before* HTML5 does if that is what is desired:

https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Member/chairs/2011JulSep/0092.html

I don't agree with how John counts (we may differ on what it means to be 
truly 'independent'), and it remains to be seen whether the 
implementation he cites truly implement the spec or merely something 
resembling long descriptions, but I do agree that substantial progress 
has been made:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2012Sep/0382.html

Longdesc can also be reintegrated into the HTML5 specification.  To do 
so will likely require resolving what does longdesc want to be when it 
grows up.

We have evidence that longdesc works well in education settings that 
exist behind copyright restrictions, and authors of addons quite willing 
to fill in gaps that major browser vendors may leave:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2012Sep/0382.html

We also have indications that longdesc as currently defined is not quite 
as successful in non-educational non-copyright restricted settings:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2012Sep/0295.html

Perhaps this is contributing to the reluctance by a number of major 
browser vendors to natively implement the feature.  This needs to be 
resolved, either by gaining the support of these vendors or by properly 
positioning the feature via so that expectations are set properly as to 
whether users can expect widespread implementation:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2012Sep/0383.html

> This may be more appropriate, I just don't know. What I do know is
> that I'd hate to see this come to "resolution" because it gets mired
> in the process (where it seems to have already been lost) instead of
> a group decision.

At the present time, I am concerned that a group decision will either 
result in one or more Formal Objections (and therefore more delay) or 
(and possibly worse) simply be ignored:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2012Sep/0216.html

What we are encouraging is that we unblock progress instead.  Longdesc 
can proceed to FPWD without delay, positioning and work on meeting CR 
exit criteria can proceed in parallel, and important work can be begun 
on bringing long descriptions to other elements.

> Am I just misunderstanding and/or being paranoid?

I'll leave that up to you to determine.  :-)

- Sam Ruby
Received on Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:36:42 GMT

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