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Re: Request for clarity on Consensus Item G1

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 16:11:35 -0500
Message-Id: <Version.32.20020125120752.00b04bb0@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: goliver@accease.com, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 07:04 AM 2002-01-25 , goliver@accease.com wrote:
>Kia Ora (Maori for Hello)
>Current consensus item G1 reads 
>
>G1 - Our document should be written as clearly and
>simply as is appropriate for the content, with links to
>definitions. We should go with the clearest and
>simplest language that someone can propose as long as
>it is accurate.
>
>I still have difficulty with the first part of the
>statement, namely
>
>'Our document should be written as clearly and simply
>as is appropriate for the content'
>
>I simply don't understand what it means.
>
>Could somebody please provide some clarity on what it
>means? 
>

The subsequent sentence expands on this sentence.  If you don't understand the
first, read on.  The next sentence operationalizes this criterion, in terms of
processing challenges to the wording that claim "that is too hard to read
(understand)."  

First, the challenger must suggest alternate language.

Next: if the alternate language can be shown to imply wrong directions
concerning content construction in some specific case, then it will be
rejected; otherwise, if generally agreed to be simpler or clearer, it will be
accepted.

Is the rhetorical structure -- that the second part explains how we expect to
satisfy the first part (and hence what it will mean concretely within the work
process of the group) -- not clear to you?

The second part, in my reading, says that "appropriate for the content" is to
be understood as "while still capturing the necessary wrinkles or variations in
practice required under different circumstances."  If glossing over the details
causes the details to be done wrong, then it is false improvement.  But if the
simpler statement leads to correct behavior with fewer, more approachable
brushstrokes, then by Occam's Razor, it is to be adopted.  

Maybe the sentence should say "appropriate for the topic," which is to be
understood as including "appropriate for the intended use of the document in
guiding actual practice"?

The guidelines MUST capture what to do in actual practice in a way such that
practitioners will be able to tell right from wrong practice.  That is the
senior requirement, what defines 'suitable to the content.'  This is not our
whole audience, but it is an essential sub-audience and mustWork application
scenario.  At the same time, our guidelines SHOULD be as approachable, as
broadly and as readily understood as can be done without violating this MUST
condition.

Is that clearer?

Al

Al

>Cheers
>Graham Oliver
>
>AccEase Ltd : Making on-line information accessible
>Phone : +64 9 846 6995
>Email : goliver@accease.com
>  
Received on Friday, 25 January 2002 16:11:40 GMT

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