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RE: Validity

From: Roberto Scano (IWA/HWG) <rscano@iwa-italy.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 08:33:55 +0100
To: <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <200511040228125.SM00940@Inbox>

Fully agree.
Also i've asked how come characteristics at level 1 can progrmmatically determinate if a parser cannot parse correctly the page code.

----- Messaggio originale -----
    Da: "Gez Lemon"<gez.lemon@gmail.com>
    Inviato: 04/11/05 6.07.54
    A: "WCAG WG mailing list"<w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
    Oggetto: Validity
      
    I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of discussion about
    guideline 4.1 (the importance of validity). This is obviously an
    exceptionally contentious guideline, and I can't help thinking that it
    would be better to tackle this guideline openly, rather than hoping we
    can push it through at the last moment and hope that no one noticed.
    This is one of those issues that it would be incredibly useful if
    someone who was unbiased could regularly and accurately summarise, as
    it is highly likely that those who feel passionately about this issue
    (myself included) will attempt to overwhelm contradictory views by
    rewording the same argument in the hope that each rewording is counted
    as an opposing opinion.
    
    My only interest in validity is about accessibility. I have no other
    agenda that I'm hoping to sneak by anyone other than in the interest
    of accessibility. I would really like to understand the opinions of
    those that object to validity being important enough to be included in
    the guidelines. The arguments put forwards against validity (from the
    face-to-face meeting in Seattle) can be summarised as:
    
    1: Validity isn't essential for accessibility
    2: Some developers think they're being clever creating accessible
    content, but they aren't
    3: The people who wrote the specification don't really want anyone to
    be bothered by it
    4: Legislation could result in people being prosecuted for invalid markup
    
    Point 1 is concerning, particularly considering that level 1 issues
    tend to be about ensuring that content is understandable by assistive
    technology. If content is invalid, I don't understand how it could be
    testable that assistive technology is able to make sense of the
    content. If something is intended to be machine readable then validity
    is obviously important, as it needs to be read by software
    unambiguously. In simple terms, validity is important for assistive
    technology.
    
    Point 2 is a bit of a strange argument - It's an edge-case argument
    directed at people who write valid markup, but miss the point about
    semantics and accessibility. The analogy provided for this argument is
    cargo cult programming [1]. Ignoring the issue that very few web
    developers are programmers of any variety, it's an extremely
    patronising viewpoint. It's fair to say that alternate text is rarely
    appropriate, or not provided at all for non-text content on the Web,
    but I've never heard a suggestion that we shouldn't trouble developers
    with the task of providing alternate text because some developers miss
    the point. Surely this issue would be better addressed with education
    than dismissal? An equivalent analogy would be, "I know someone that
    was knocked down by a car on a pavement (sidewalk), and so I therefore
    conclude that it's safer to walk in the road." Common sense tells us
    that this is nonsense. Validity alone doesn't ensure that content is
    accessible, in the same way that walking down a path (sidewalk)
    doesn't ensure we won't be run over by a car, but it reduces the risk
    in a way that is too significant to ignore. It's a fundamental
    principle that I believe is essential in ensuring that content is
    accessible.
    
    Point 3 is just someone else's opinion, which I assume is meant to
    carry more weight than the average WCAG member's opinion. For the
    easily impressed, this is a good argument; for the rest of us, an
    explanation of how this person's (or persons') opinion is more
    relevant than ours would be useful. Maybe they should be invited to
    participate in the discussion to avoid the danger of
    misrepresentation?
    
    
        

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Received on Friday, 4 November 2005 07:31:10 GMT

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