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Re: "objective" clarified

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 01:38:39 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101004b834eb648dda@[]>
To: <GV@TRACE.WISC.EDU>, "GLWAI Guidelines WG \(GL - WAI Guidelines WG\)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 1:55 AM -0600 12/3/01, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
>As mentioned in a previous post -- Please don’t assume that when the
>group on the telecon comes to some position or makes a suggestion that
>they are all bonkers.

I don't think everyone is all bonkers, and I'm sorry if you felt that I
was greeting a conclusion reached in my absense with indignation.  But
I truly believe that there are a very few, very serious mistakes we
can make which will instantly sabotage what we're trying to do.

One of them is when we start redefining words.  Joe Clark has already
sufficiently pointed out the danger of trying to apply our own "WAI
definitions" when commonly accepted industry terms and definitions
will suffice, and I agree with his point there.

I think things are far worse when we start redefining normal English
terms such as "objective" by imposing very "subjective" standards.

I believe that the measures proposed _are_ good and useful, and that
we need to have an 80% or higher agreement by "experts" on the
guidelines we set.  I think this is a normal and acceptable part of
our validation process and adds legitimacy to our work; in fact, not
taking that into account would serve to discredit us.  It's vital
and must be done.

However, that still does not rise to the level of an "objective"
standard.  It may be a readily discernable standard, it may be one
which is well documented, but ultimately it's like the famous
definition of "pornography" in U.S. legal history -- "I can't
define it but I know it when I see it" or the like.  It's not an
objective standard, but it's a usable standard.  Trying to claim
objectivity is simply incorrect and misleading.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Thursday, 6 December 2001 05:00:59 UTC

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