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

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 14:29:45 -0600
To: "'WAI-GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <auto-000199088938@spamarrest.com>

Thank you Joe for your thoughtful and carefully worded contribution.

Please join in one of the phone discussions on this topic.  It really would
be helpful if you had more background on this one.   If you can't make the
calls - then it would be helpful if you asked questions before making some
of your comments. 

Let me comment on a few things here. 
 - the primary objective of this effort,  
 - the status of the SC and 
 - you confused some of John's draft techniques with the actual
requirements.  Let me touch on each quickly  - in reverse order.

Much of what you comment so pashionately against is not actually required by
the guidelines or SC.   While other parts are only required at level 3 for
those who want to go the extra mile and do everything they can.  

Regarding status -  you should know that we are just exploring this approach
at this time.  No decision has been made to include this - and in fact we
have a specific decision (I believe it is a consensus) to remove it if we
can't make it fly.   But we have no other way to address the problem - and
this one has many positive implications.  So we are exploring it.  It would
mean little extra effort and perhaps no extra effort on a page by page
basis.   And it would allow everyone to figure out what different words,
phrases or acronyms meant on a page (or make it much easier). 

Stop in some time or give me a call for more details if you wish.

This is definitely one of the guidelines that we feel is roughest.  It is
also the one many feel is toughest.   Will be interesting to see where we
end up on it in the end.   Nothing right now is decided with regard to this
one except that we want to address the problem as best and practically as we

Have a good holiday.



-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Joe Clark
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 12:26 PM
Subject: Re: FW: [Techniques] Drft General Technique for GL 3.1 L2 SC1

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

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

* 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 20:29:52 UTC

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