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RE: FW: 4.1

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 12:32:34 -0400 (EDT)
To: john_slatin <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
cc: "'Lisa Seeman'" <seeman@netvision.net.il>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0206041222330.8066-100000@tux.w3.org>

Yes, there is an ambiguity in the way we talk about the term. On teh one hand
when we produce guidelines for "Web Content" we mean "this is the way that
you should produce content in order to communicate with the audience". On the
other hand we talk about the "content of the Web" as things that exist in a
concrete form already.

So if we are talking about "what a person could create, in order to
commmunicate" then I don't think we need to assume that the language has been
fixed. It is obviously untrue to assume that an image which is yet to be
created has already has its form fixed. From another perspective, it is
equally untrue to assume that a page which presents information usiing
graphics and a page which presents the same information through textual means
(even including well-written textual equivalents) are "the same content" in
the strict sense of something that has a fixed form. But there is no reason
to assume they are not capable of communicating, for a given audience, the
same information - "the content of the page" in the way Lisa is using it.

I think Jason got the crucial point when he said that we need to ensure, in
applying success criteria, the condition that the meaning is not changed.

For example, it is reasonable to change the terminnology and phraseology used
if the author opines that the quintessence of their message is preserved. Or,
it is OK to change the words if the author agrees that the message is the

On the other hand, if a particular change does change the meaning, then it is
not appropriate - that is a failure criteria.

Jason is right that there are very few exact synonyms. but then there are
very few exact phrasings of an idea either - otherwise we could write one set
of guidelines, everybody would understand, and our job would be easier (not
to mention that of the EO group). The flexibility and inexactitude of
language can be useful to us as well as causing us problems.



On Tue, 4 Jun 2002, john_slatin wrote:

  Lisa writes that "in talking about content we are talking about information
  handed over-- its meaning."

  This works only if we acknowledge that we're talking about "content" on at
  least two levels of abstractoin simultaneously, and that doing so may cause
  serious confusion. I have operated under the assumption that when we talk
  about *Web content* we are constrained to talk about what can be created by
  some person or people some authoring tool and rendered by some user agent.
Received on Tuesday, 4 June 2002 12:32:37 UTC

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