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RE: What does "for example" mean

From: Mike Paciello <paciello@ma.ultranet.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 09:56:59 -0500
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>, "'Al Gilman'" <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <LPBBLAFOCBGBPOEHHLNGAEOFDPAA.paciello@ma.ultranet.com>
Bruce, Al, et. al:

The intrinsic challenge of writing a standards-like document is (and has
always been) clarity. What is clear for some (particularly technical-types)
is often not clear to others. I have truly been impressed by the effort the
WAI working groups have put into the documents as they are today. I
certainly expect issues of clarity to crop up -- it's the nature of the
beast.

Having a technical writer like Ian on board is a distinct advantage.
However, I would further suggest that the WAI groups consider hiring (better
yet, recruite) two additional expert-types: a) a standards expert (Rex Lint
and Jim Isaac come to mind) and b) a technical editor (O'Reilly is a member
of the W3C, surely they could lend a helping hand here).

I believe that these individuals would be of great assistance to the working
groups in your documentation effort.

Regards,

Mike

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of Bailey, Bruce
> Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 9:22 AM
> To: 'Al Gilman'
> Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> Subject: RE: What does "for example" mean
>
>
> I agree with Kynn and Len.  Documents like the WCAG _are_ going
> to be taken
> literally, and if this is not the intent, then the authors should
> write more
> carefully.  I don't feel too foolish having been spoofed in including
> trivial summary attributes for layout tables -- after all _every_
> automated
> tool available apparently makes the same mistake!
>
> Instead of suggesting that the authors would have include "any"
> and "all" if
> that was what they meant, what they _should_ have written -- if
> SUMMARY were
> merely a suggestion for non-layout tables -- is:
>
> <Q>use the SUMMARY attribute on data TABLEs</Q> or <Q>use the SUMMARY or
> CAPTION attributes on TABLEs</Q> or <Q>For example, in HTML, one
> _could_ use
> the "summary" attribute of the TABLE element."
>
> In the absences of such qualifiers, it is quite appropriate to
> take the WCAG
> at face value and to use the plain meaning of the English.  There
> is plenty
> that is not perfectly clear (hence the argument that accessibility is an
> art).  Well intended people are desperate for guidance.  If the best
> document we have is vague or not actually meant to be taken
> literally, well
> it is hardly fair to caste dispersions at the (apparent majority)
> of people
> who have misinterpreted them!
>
> > ----------
> > From: 	Al Gilman
> > Sent: 	Monday, March 5, 2001 1:57 PM
> > To: 	Leonard R. Kasday; love26@gorge.net
> > Cc: 	w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> > Subject: 	Re: summary attribute required? history.
> >
> > I have to object to your reading of the "plain meaning" of the
> English.?
> >
> > It does not say "for [any] HTML use the SUMMARY attribute on [all]
> > TABLEs."
> >
> > What it says is, 'For example, in HTML, use the "summary"
> attribute of the
> > TABLE element.'
> >
> > This leaves plenty of room for "in HTML, use the CAPTION
> subelement within
> > a
> > TABLE" to be yet another conforming example.
> >
> > What it says, in plain English, is that it provides an illustrative
> > example,
> > and not "a rule for all HTML TABLEs."
> >
> > Al
> >
> > PS:? This illustrates a general pattern I am picking up.?
> People make lots
> > of
> > quantifier errors in reading English.? Probably natural language in
> > general.?
> > People don't reliably understand the difference between the restrictive
> > effect
> > of i.e. and the non-restrictive effect of e.g.? Even when you spell them
> > out,
> > for example as "for example."
>
Received on Tuesday, 6 March 2001 09:55:01 GMT

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