W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > July to September 1998

Re: Bobby Error Message - How to fix it?

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 00:59:33 +0100 (BST)
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
cc: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, bobby@cast.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980729002710.21893A-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
On Tue, 28 Jul 1998, Al Gilman caused the following to appear:

    [The following text is in the "UNKNOWN-8BIT" character set]

[oh dear.  I'm going to pretend this was us-ascii]

> > One of our pages gets a Bobby error message saying that
> > "adajacent links must be separated."  Does anyone know how to
> > do this?  Someone suggested that I use a pipe | symbol between
> > the links.  If this is true, then I didn't put in the correct
> > place, because it did not work.

> This site illustrates the perils of over-reliance on Bobby results.
> Bobby is a great help if you know enought to take the results
> with a grain of salt. 

I agree with the sentiment, albeit the wording is open to dispute.

Bobby calls attention to many overt barriers to accessibility, but has
no way of deciding (in most cases) that the author has enough
expertise to deal with these problems.  That's entirely reasonable in
my view, but it means that Bobby cannot be used as an objective
measure of accessibility, as some people seem to have assumed.

> I am copying the WAI-GL mailing list so that if I am wrong 
> hopefully someone will correct me.  But I suspect that separating
> the links with line breaks is sufficient.  You shouldn't have to
> put printing characters between them -- usually " | " -- note
> the spaces around the pipe -- if there is only one link per line.

I can't argue with that, but surely it is an overkill solution?

Disclaimer: I do not make any claim to expertise about disability
access as such, but I have a bit of a track record in text-mode
accessibility issues, and there's a suggestion in the depths of my
ALT text article that I think might help here:


(look for the heading "Navigation to be text-friendly _and_

With respect, I'm deleting the frightening heap of pseudo-WYSIWYG tag
salad that adorned this mail.  If only CSS has been implemented when
it was first proposed, instead of blundering down that dead alley!

Whoever it was that decided to distribute this horror to the list
certainly made a point, but I think that half a dozen lines typical of
the whole would have been more than sufficient!  It's not as if there
isn't already gigabytes of this excrement on the WWW, and more being
extruded every day by wannabeWYSIWYG authoring software, but I think
we could do without it on this list, no?

all the best

p.s pedant alert: "pipe" is a function, not a character: the character
is called "vertical bar".
Received on Tuesday, 28 July 1998 21:28:24 UTC

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