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Re: Request for clarity on Consensus Item G1

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 23:38:01 -0500
Message-Id: <Version.32.20020125162336.00c4cc20@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>, goliver@accease.com, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
* summary:

While I offered a potential restatement in response to Graham's question, I
myself do not find this a drop-dead issue or that the document as it stands
says anything wrong.  Graham is correct that it may be something we agreed on
but it is still vague enough to be a weak guide to what we need to do.

We want the language of the document to be as easily understood to as wide an
audience as is possible while still expressing the necessary distinctions
concerning web content.  The face toward the content governed must be
effective; the face toward the human readers being informed  should be
efficient.  We don't (at least going in) plan on sacrificing accessibility
achieved when the guidelines are followed for teachability or readability of
the guidelines.  But we do count increased teachability or readability of the
guidelines as an important win.

Note that distinctions include better/worse distinctions as well as good/bad
distinctions.

* end summary

"Appropriate for the content" _is_ circular language and should ultimately be
fixed.  Because 'content' is ambiguous, it refers to sign in some contexts and
to sense in others, it does not suffice to identify what is meant here.  See
the thread running on WAI-XTECH at this time.

This is a clause affecting the sign (signs, structures, or signage) used to
convey a given sense, and the 'appropriate' clause is trying to say make it as
easy as possible to extract the sense from the signs you use, without
distorting anything essential in the sense that is to be conveyed.

To understand this guideline we do have to go back before McLuhan and act as
though there is some difference between the medium of language and the message
of thought, that it is possible to make significant differences in the
readability of the language at the same time as making negligible differences
in the thought, particularly evaluating the thought in terms of the web content
that it accepts and rejects, praises and deprecates.

In the case of requirements for this specific document we can be much more
concrete in articulating just what it means to be 'appropriate for the content'
as compared with content to be published to the Web in general.  Appropriate
for the content means anything such that we still statisfy the MUST
requirements.  That web content construction practices are divided up into the
right buckets of right and wrong, the right axes of better and worse.  For this
document, "the content" is the structure imposed on the domain of web content. 
It is the practical effect of understanding the document if you have understood
it.

Al

At 12:17 PM 2002-01-25 , Wendy A Chisholm wrote:
>Hello,
>
>G1 is intended to be in synch with checkpoint 3.3 "Write as clearly and simply
as is appropriate for the content." 
<http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/#clear-and-simple>http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL
/WCAG20/#clear-and-simple
>
>Our requirements document inherits the issues associated with that
checkpoint.  Namely, <quote>Issue: how should an author decide what is
"appropriate" for the content? What criteria are to be used in determining
whether a text is written as clearly and simply as is appropriate? </quote>
>
>There was debate on the call yesterday about changing "content" to "audience"
as you suggested.  We decided to leave it as it is for now.  I think these
issues are being dealt with in the threads started by Lisa in regards to
checkpoint 3.3.
>
>Do you feel that G1 needs clarifying before we can publish the Requirements
document to TR or are you willing to live with it until we have sorted out the
issues with checkpoint 3.3?
>
>For the record:
>My recollection is that, historically, "content" was chosen so that people who
were writing technical sites could use technical language.  On the Web your
audience could potentially be everyone and many sites would have difficultly
writing their content in language understandable by everyone.  
>
>The first success criterion (which also has issues) says to widen your
expectations of your intended audience.  Authors will have an intended audience
in mind as they write, but we are trying to educate them about others who might
be visiting their site and trying to use their content.
>
>It is similar to educating built environment businesses that people who use
wheelchairs might want to get into the building.  Likewise, people who find it
difficult to read might try to use a site about Physics that is likely to be
written in technical language.  If you want to increase the number of people
who can read your content, write as simply and clearly as possible or provide
alternative materials that illustrate the ideas in simpler terms.
>
>But, I diverge. The primary question is: does this need clarifying or may we
move forward with publishing the Requirements document on TR?
>
>--wendy
>
>
>At 07:04 AM 1/25/02, 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? 
>>
>>Cheers
>>Graham Oliver
>>
>>AccEase Ltd : Making on-line information accessible
>>Phone : +64 9 846 6995
>>Email : goliver@accease.com 
>
>-- 
>wendy a chisholm
>world wide web consortium 
>web accessibility initiative
>seattle, wa usa
>/--
>  
Received on Friday, 25 January 2002 23:38:09 GMT

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