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Re: FW: [Techniques] Drft General Technique for GL 3.1 L2 SC1

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 18:26:21 +0000 (UTC)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.60.0412281753220.12010@aristotle.multipattern.com>

Look, this whole guideline is *insane* and unnecessary. Apparently, PiGS 
and the other elites of this working group are continuing to carry on 
blithely as though this were a remotely wise or even *theoretically* 
implementable guideline.

Written languages have homographs. (I note that, in keeping with the PiGS' 
habit of ignoring any contrary evidence, nobody but me has bothered to use 
that term. It refers to words with the same spelling and different 
pronunciations.) Homographs are an intrinsic feature. You cannot expect 
authors to weed through their entire text, carefully considering every 
multiple reading for every word (in Japanese, every on-yomi and kun-yomi, 
two other terms you're ignoring), and then specifically mark up each and 
every word that has a different pronunciation when used *somewhere else*, 
no matter how improbable that other context.

Get the hell out of authors' way. We've got better things to do to make 
our sites *actually accessible* than micromanage pronunciations of our 
*written* words. Pronunciations are somebody else's problem when we're 
writing; it is a category error on the Working Group's part to force 
writers to consider both the written and spoken forms simultaneously-- 
always and everywhere, for every word. Then again, you're the same group 
of Mensa dropouts who write Level AAA as Level Triple-A because your pet 
screen reader can't enunicate an abbreviation (which it never occurred to 
you needs to be written inside <abbr></abbr> anyway).

Moreover, Slatin's suggested use of <ruby> works exclusively in XHTML 1.1, 
and with notable browser deficiencies. (By the way, does it work in Jaws? 
If not, you'll drop it like a hot potato, won't you?) Essentially, you 
would force every author in e.g. Japanese to use only XHTML 1.1 documents 
to comply with WCAG. I thought we merely had to use markup according to 
specification; here you're forcing authors to use the markup you specify.

And can you imagine *every page* of Japanese on the Web littered with 
furigana? How about every page of Hebrew littered with nikud?

Like the even more atrocious and infuriating guideline to make the 
ambiguous definition of every single polysemous word rectifiable by 
automation, this guideline:

* does not help actual people with disabilities, who have to deal with 
homographs anyway, as all readers must;

* is impossible to implement;

* insults authors; and

* overreaches the Working Group's mandate.

It is, further, astonishing that ivory-tower academics like Slatin and 
Vanderheiden delude themselves that these guidelines are even desirable or 
*possible*. Nonetheless, it's par for the course that you ignore contrary 
evidence. You're so wedded to this nonsense-- which none of you could 
actually comply with; then again, you aren't working Web developers-- that 
you're pushing right ahead and cooking up half-arsed *techniques*.

It's not gonna work, people. Keep proposing this sort of nonsense and 
eventually you'll start reading-- out on that Web you seem to hate so very 
much-- of a WCAG 2.0 backlash before it's even released.

Do you really want people dismissing the WCAG Working Group as 
micromanaging E.U.-style language fascists? If so, keep it up.


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Tuesday, 28 December 2004 18:26:29 UTC

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