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Re: Clear and simple writing

From: Jo Miller <jo@bendingline.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 13:08:47 -0500
Message-Id: <p05100306b82581c4fc62@[]>
To: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

I would like to see an explicit emphasis on "use correct grammar, 
punctuation, and spelling" (according to the rules of whatever 
language the document uses). Item 19 seems to allude to a separate 
set of grammar-based success criteria, so my comment may be redundant.

I'm very happy with #20.

#2 may be overly restrictive by insisting that the topic sentence 
invariably be the first sentence (I'm not sure this is appropriate 
for all languages). However, I suppose it's probably good to  have a 
firm, clear criterion like this for average and weak writers; the 
good writers who already know how to write clearly (all twelve of 
them) are going to ignore or bend any criteria that don't suit them 

In #18 we may be going overboard in our quest for measurability. 
Sentences can be short and clear while technically containing more 
than one relative clause, and I would rather see this advice in 
Techniques than in a normative document.

#13 is more useful than #18, though someone might argue that #13 is 
not sufficiently measurable.

Agree with William about eating our own dog food.

For those who are working on success criteria for this checkpoint, I 
recommend Richard Lanham's _Revising Prose_, which offers practical 
techniques for achieving the kind of clear, simple, straightforward 
prose we're advocating. I linked to its amazon.com page once upon a 
time from http://www.jomiller.com/personal/bookstore/#writing, but 
I'm sure a newer edition has come out since 1998. This book may give 
us further ideas for measurable criteria.


At 1:44 AM -0500 11/24/01, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>One of the breakout groups at the recent face to face in Melbourne (including
>me, Lisa Seeman, Rob Pedlow from Telstra and Graham Oliver from AccEase) was
>working on making text clear and simple, and how we could produce actual
>measurable success criteria - without these there is no checkpoint.
>Although this is a tricky area, and the four of us aren't the world's
>greatest experst, we came up with some ideas, which I have written up in the
>following page: http://www.w3.org/2001/11/334-wcag
>I think that represents what we agreed on, but there is stuff that is missing
>from that still.
Jo Miller

"The fight against bad English is not frivolous."  -George Orwell
Received on Saturday, 24 November 2001 13:09:36 UTC

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