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Re: Participation in good standing

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 17:35:11 -0500 (EST)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSO.4.53.0312151723040.17704@mail.veldt.ca>

The Web Accessibility Initiative remains unable to see that:

1. the PiGS designation (participant in good standing) is inherently
elitist and filters out anyone who cannot afford the time or money for up
to 150 hours a year of long-distance telephone consultations and
face-to-face meetings. It is a method of *reducing* public participation.

2. an effort to impose PiGS requirements now is a convenient yet
suspicious method to limit participation in WCAG WG or Techniques WG or
any other working group. It is inherently contrary to the aims of the
Initiative, since it ensures that nobody but sinecurists with day jobs--
who are the existing WAI politburo anyway-- will ever be allowed to
contribute.

3. you can't polish a turd. Wendy's response--

> At Wednesday's meeting we discussed that if someone had to attend both
> the  techniques task force telecon *and* the WCAG WG telecon *and* keep up
> on  the mailing list, the minimum 4 hours of time expected to contribute
> (per our charter) would be eaten up without doing any real
> work.  Therefore, it seems to make sense that a person could participate in
> either the task force telecons or the WCAG WG telecons to be considered a
> participant in good standing.  However, we want to make sure that we are
> not running two separate groups.  The task force is not publishing its own
> documents, it is working on documents for the WCAG WG.  Keeping the two
> groups in synch is key and overlapping participation helps.

-- is predicated on *keeping the proposed PiGS requirement*. We are not
talking about somewhat-more-palatable methods to meet the PiGS
requirements. I am telling you up front, as I have explained already, that
such a requirement *is the problen*.

4. WAI is acting as though there is something resembling agreement to
impose this requirement. The hastily-added proviso that it's all being
"discussed" does not eliminate the impression that it's a backroom deal
that's gonna be rammed through whether anyone likes it or not. The
existing WAI politburo, who are all WAI staff or PiGS anyway, obviously
will like the idea, because it doesn't affect them except inasmuch as it
solidifies the class structure of the Initiative. A requirement for PiGS
status keeps the riffraff out. And if you think I'm worried only about
myself, wait till I count up all the participants on the GL list who would
be excluded by this requirement.

*Throw out the plan*. There is nothing broken with the current
participation methods that needs fixing, and the cure is worse than the
disease.

This is an epochal decision that WAI seems to be laughing off. Screw this
up and it's gonna blow up in your faces. You will kneecap the entire Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines. If you thought you didn't have enough
WCAG proponents working to improve the Guidelines as it is, wait till you
start turning boosters into enemies. Becaus that is what's gonna happen.

--

  Joe Clark  |  joeclark@joeclark.org
  Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
  <http://joeclark.org/access/> | <http://joeclark.org/book/>
Received on Monday, 15 December 2003 17:32:52 GMT

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