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RE: Policy use

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2001 12:22:07 -0400
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD0022DAF34@wdcrobexc01.ed.gov>
To: "'Charles McCathieNevile'" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: 3WC WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "'love26@gorge.net'" <love26@gorge.net>
I was being a little pessimistic with this post.  Certainly I was mostly
thinking out loud.  My apologies if I offended anyone.

It sounds like the Australian Court system may be significantly more evolved
than what we have in the U.S.  I've heard Doug Wakefield (Access Board) say
that they dropped WCAG 1.0 P1 Checkpoint 14.1 (Use the clearest and simplest
language appropriate for a site's content) because it was too ambiguous.  I
would guess that "reasonable judgement" does not enter frequently into our
court system!  I understand we have a world wide reputation for litigation.

Speaking of which, I can't believe your guy only got $20,000 out of IBM.
<http://www.contenu.nu/socog.html#update>  That's less than the correction
would have cost, so I guess IBM made the financially sound decision!
Except, I would guess that others could press for the same amount.  Do you
have class action lawsuits in Australia?  Have you heard if Maguire got any
of that money yet?  Last I checked, www.olympics.com still flagged errors in
> From: 	Charles McCathieNevile
> Sent: 	Friday, May 11, 2001 10:04 AM
> To: 	Bailey, Bruce
> Cc: 	3WC WCAG; 'love26@gorge.net'
> Subject: 	Policy use, was RE: Illustrating Guidelines
> Note: I consider that policy arguments are outside the scope of this
> group,
> whose charter is to provide a document that specifies how to make content
> to
> people regardless of disability. In fact, if we do fulfil our charter and
> policymakers use it without ensuring that it is applicable to their
> particular requirements I think the laziness charge does not fit this
> working
> group, and we should be clear about this in our own document.
> So there is nothing new in what follows:
> On Thu, 10 May 2001, Bailey, Bruce wrote:
>   As I understand it, we have consciously decided that the WCAG is
>   "guidelines" and that we are, in fact, working on "best practices"
> document.
>   I suggest that this may be something of a "cop out".  The term
> "guideline"
>   -- the G in WCAG after all -- was mostly due to the fact the WAI (and
> the
>   W3C for that matter) has absolutely no enforcement powers whatsoever.
>   [snip]
>   As unenforceable theoretical "guidelines" this is acceptable.  I would
>   like to suggest that this may be cavalier laziness (or perhaps merely
>   wishful thinking) on our part, although it does allow us to compose a
>   broader document (which mitigates against the laziness argument).
> As enforceable laws regularly contain things like "reasonable judgement",
> for
> concepts which are hard to delineate precisely, I would suggest that it is
> perfectly sensible to use similar concepts in documenting best practice in
> a
> particular field.
> BB
>   We have seen some bodies adopt the WCAG as "standards" -- at least as
> policy
>   -- on the P1 or P2 level.  Presumably, the organizations involved
> include
>   some enforcement and remediation mechanisms.  When the WAI got the
> chance,
>   Judy and Gregg (and others I am sure) advocated that all WCAG P2 items
> be
>   incorporated, verbatim, into the 508 standards.  This, I think, would
> have
>   been a legal disaster if it had occurred!  At the very least, these real
>   life examples illustrate that we should be mindful of the potential
> powerful
>   implications of our "recommendations".
> Unlike the US federal government, the Australian government has been happy
> to
> say that the things in WCAG are required, using the language as is. (This
> is
> a slight simplification - if you press them they will go into greater
> detail
> about how the law works, but meeting all the requirements of WCAG is their
> general statement of best practice, and their initial internal requirement
> is
> level-A conformance to WCAG). Also unlike the US federal government in
> Australia this stuff has actually been tested in court to the point of a
> decision. Legal disaster did not ensue.
> Charles' 2 centimes worth
Received on Friday, 11 May 2001 12:22:47 UTC

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