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RE: Semantics [was: Re: Well-formed (was: Re: F2F Proposed Resolutions Draft Updates)]

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 16:14:15 -0500
To: "'Joe Clark'" <joeclark@joeclark.org>, "'WAI-GL'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20050618211412.E6BC060C15B@m18.spamarrest.com>

Interesting post.

>OK, so let me understand this: The Working Group is contemplating 
>issuing a vague and counterfactual guideline based on one person's 
>blog posting, 

There was not based on a Blog posting. It was pointed out that we wanted all
structured markup languages to be well formed - and the easiest way to say
that was to reference SGML since they are all from that family.  I still see
some clean up needed on this one - but it was a first pass at getting at
what we reached consensus on doing. 

> but is prepared to argue for hours that concepts like "structural" 
> and "semantic" are undefined (or the opposite, already defined),
> even after a mountain of published evidence to the contrary is provided?

We use structural all over the place.  I don't understand this part of the
comment. 

We don't use semantic because it is used to mean both document semantics and
verbal semantics.  Even the list of experts that you queried and posted to
the maillist say that both uses are legitimate.  To avoid confusion we have
tried to avoid using document semantics - that is true.   We also avoid
using many other terms that can cause confusion.   All of the words removed
or rejected were proposed by other members and many words of the chairs have
been not accepted. 

>I guess this is again about who makes a proposal rather than the 
>content of the proposal. Content (or even making basic sense) never 
>seems to be a barrier for some guideline proponents.

This is a recurring theme in your posts that seems to imply that your
comments are "not accepted" more than other peoples'.   This simply is not
true.   Everyone has a hard time finding the right words.  And everyone's
posts get commented on and edited and revised and commented on and revised
before we get something we use.   Occasionally someone posts something first
time that we can use but it is rare (and delightful).  Both of the co-chairs
have had many many more things rewritten or not accepted than you.  Many
times as many things.    There is no filter for particular people's input.  

Those submissions that have the best success rate are those that look at the
problems from all points of view and try to take all the different sides
into account. 

Also - different people, coming from different directions, have different
ideas as to what is right.  The consensus building process is not one of
just arguing one's point - but of trying to find wording that addresses the
concerns of all the different factions as best we can.  That is the nature
of consensus. 

It drives me crazy sometimes - and is hard sometimes.   But it is what
consensus standards are -  and when they will be used in policy areas (as
this one will undoubtedly be after it is released) it is a much different
animal than a technical standard -  and ends up with many different dynamics
and rules it must follow. 

Thanks for your input and comments Joe.   But if you can turn down the
rhetoric I would help a lot.  We value the technical part of your posts.
Always have.   Don't always agree and you aren't always right.  But you very
often are, at least on the technical aspects, and it is valuable input.
Please listen to others' too though - and remember that this isn't all just
technical issues.  There is a lot of effort going into writing these so that
they will work with humans - and often not deeply technical humans - who
will use them in a number of ways.   We need to address these issues as well
as the technical ones. 

I don't think the guidelines look like what any one of us on the working
group would write.   Everyone would like to write them to look different.
But they do look like what the group has reached consensus on.  And contrary
to your apparent belief, there are a lot of good and knowledgeable people in
the group.   And they represent and consult with many more.  But they must
also work within their constraints. 

Stay with it.  But listen to hear what other's concerns and constraints are.
Sometimes it's hard.  Sometimes very hard - to find wording that all can
agree to - and that will survive all the outside forces. 


Thanks 

Gregg
Received on Saturday, 18 June 2005 21:14:18 UTC

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