W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > October to December 2002

Re: More absurdity with captions and descriptions

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 21:10:03 -0500 (EST)
To: Doyle <dburnett@sesa.org>
Cc: W3C Web Content <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSO.4.40.0211261813480.5097-100000@ns1.seeto.com>

> With all due respect - the sort of thing I try to always treat others with
> (by the way), I was shocked to read your e-mail.  Maybe it was not so much
> what you said but how you said it.  There comes a point in written
> communication or any communication for that matter where people turn off
> those who are seemingly disrespectful of others.

With all due respect, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
version 2.0 must be *bulletproof*. Among many reasons why, version
1.0 is not bulletproof. I gather that not enough WAI members have
sat in meetings trying to interpret the existing guidelines for
neophytes. We have a chance to nip that problem in the bud.

WCAG 2.0 has to work *on first reading* for any intelligent person.
It must be able to withstand severe scrutiny even from opposed
parties. I am not one of those, as my decades of experience will
attest. *This* is the time to debug the guidelines. We have to try
to break them-- think of it as a quality-assurance stage-- before we
unleash them upon the world, where, it must be kept in mind, they
are likely to be enacted, in law or in effect, by governments.
That's a pretty high threshold.

If WCAG 2.0 captioning and description provisions are severely
broken, that must be pointed out with all possible clarity. Shining
light on plainly ridiculous, contradictory, and unworkable
provisions is necessary.

WAI's goal must be to write better guidelines. People seem to want
it both ways-- non-experts get to create ridiculous, contradictory,
and unworkable provisions and also never have that pointed out.
There is no nicey-dicey way to point out the extent of the
ridiculousness, contradiction, and unworkableness.

It's partly *because* WAI did not have severely critical experts
like me around that the problems in WCAG 1.0 got through. I call
things exactly as I see them. I know that's hard for some of you to

And as for not liking my style: I don't get it. Who said you had to?

I'll reiterate my proposed solution: Write better guidelines.


  Joe Clark  |  joeclark@joeclark.org
  Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
  <http://joeclark.org/access/> | <http://joeclark.org/book/>
Received on Tuesday, 26 November 2002 21:10:07 UTC

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