W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-wai-eo-badtf@w3.org > March 2006

Re: tweaked wording

From: Liam McGee <liam.mcgee@communis.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 19:20:03 +0000
Message-ID: <442051E3.60502@communis.co.uk>
To: public-wai-eo-badtf@w3.org
CC: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>

Shadi Abou-Zahra wrote:
> Hi,
> For you information, I have received offline feedback about the content 
> of the Demo pages, which concluded that some of the text may actually be 
> offensive (depending on the sensitivity level). The following changes 
> have been made:

I would suggest that we put this to a vote rather than being over 
cautious, as the changes remove most of the humour from the text, 
something which runs against the brief from the group. The original 
structure was to have at least one joke per paragraph -- less than that 
is cheating your reader, as you are providing a humorous headline with a 
humourless article behind it -- in the new version one reads a funny 
headline, then a humourless paragraph, then another humourless 
paragraph, and then a gag. But why would you plough through two entirely 
humourless paragraphs for the gag in the third, especially as the gaga 
is unrelated to the paras before? We may as well just put lipsum text in...

The humour is there for a purpose. A student needs to read the content 
to see what the different issues of presentation are. If you want the 
student to read the content, there should be some sort of payoff. Is the 
content relevant to them? No, it isn't. So the only other route is to 
make it enjoyable to read in some other way. Humour was the chosen method.

The site content needs to be consistent -- either consistently funny (as 
instructed by the group) or consistently humourless. To have some gags 
and some entirely humourless sections sets up expectations of humour 
that are frustratingly unfulfilled, and wastes the reader's time -- 
there's no payback.

Whatever the decision, simply removing the text is no good, it needs to 
be replaced with text of equal length otherwise the formatting gets 
messed up with large gaps appearing, breaking the top-to-bottom reading 

> 1. Home Page and Info Page
> - Changed all occurrences of "Organ donations" to "Brain donations"
> - Rationale: brain donations are fictional (these days at least), organ 
> donations on the other hand a real issue for some people

This maintains the humour, if a little reduced.

> 2. Info Page
> - Dropped: "Time to get the big syringe, the camera crew and a D-list 
> celebrity to do the honours."
> - Rationale: humor may be a little too vivid for some audiences.

Vivid, perhaps. Offensive? Hard to see how. I urge the group to let it 
stand. Remove this and you're left with a humourless paragraph.

> 3. Info Page
> - Dropped: "That and we just don't have big enough jars to pickle them in."
> - Rationale: may be somewhat too harsh to speak like that of baby pandas.

The humour lies in the combination of the time-delayed pun on the word 
'preserve' and the juxtaposition of the callous suggestion with the 
cuteness of a baby panda. It's not advising anyone to pickle baby 
pandas. Remove this and you're left with a humourless paragraph.

> 4. Info Page
> - Dropped: "Two-four-six-eight! Proud to be a neonate!"
> - Rationale: "neonate" may seem political, couldn't think of something 
> else (I'm not a funny person).

Neonate means a newborn baby (or other animal), usually applying to 
babies less than a month old (http://tinyurl.com/oj4lx). Please explain 
what the political context might be.

Regards all


Liam McGee, Managing Director, Communis Ltd
www.communis.co.uk      +44 (0)1373 836 476
Received on Tuesday, 21 March 2006 19:20:16 UTC

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