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Re: Guidelines or Standards (was RE: Congratulations)

From: Maurizio Boscarol <maurizio@usabile.it>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 20:13:23 +0100
Message-ID: <43876253.2010503@usabile.it>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce.Bailey@ed.gov>
CC: Guide Lines list <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

I won't be able to go on this discussion, because I'm leaving for some 
days, but just want to quickly answer some things.

Bailey, Bruce wrote:

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>>The law translation of a standard can have problems depending on many factors.
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>Sure, but that hardly justifies not taking into considering that WCAG may get adapted into law.  Why give up without trying?
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No, we SHOULD consider that our recomandation may become legal 
constraint. So we need to be less ambiguous. But we don't have to change 
key concept that are theoretically correct trying to follow existing or 
potential laws. What's the point of quoting an EU raccomandation about 
wcag 1.0? That shouldn't change our way of thinking in any way about 
WCAG 2.0. Laws should follows WCAG, not the opposite.


>>It's not our job, anyway.  We're not making laws.
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>But why use phrasing that is known to be problematic for regulatory language?  What is the advantage?  Is it not a significant disadvantage to write in such a way that WAI is essentially *requiring* others to re-word?  Is that not needlessly adding burden and risk?
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The problem arises with technical questions. We can't avoid this. We 
need precision, correctness. Then, we can add glossary or explanatory 
documents if needed, but we need to be right in what we say.

The risk of misunderstanding when translating a tech recomandation in 
law is always high. Wcag 1.0 are highly ambiguos, but not every error 
made by legislators is due to ambiguity. Some of them depends on 
inadequate understanding, or other reasons. Example: the color contrast 
algoritm insn't mandatory in WCAG 1.0. Italian law made it mandatory, 
just to have a "testable" value.

It's wrong, from a scientific point of view. The error isn't due to 
WCAG, is due to bad intenctions when writing laws (to stretch a concept 
to what it isn't, without considering its correctness, just to have a 
testable tool). We shouldn't make conceptual error. But we can't avoid 
others making error when making their laws.

Just an example. I hope it's clear that our work is to do a good and 
correct standard. Not to facilitate legislator at any cost. If we can, 
why not. But avoiding conceptual and factual errors.

Bye

M
Received on Friday, 25 November 2005 19:04:29 GMT

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