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RE: Avoiding Cultural Influences

From: Mike Burks <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 16:21:55 -0400
To: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, "Nir Dagan" <nir@nirdagan.com>
Cc: <kynn@idyllmtn.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001901beb6a3$8c10fa80$0d424d0c@oemcomputer>

I think that when you are trying to convey a particular aspect of a culture,
you would not want to be sterile and avoid cultural influences.  In fact you
would want to try to convey to the ready what those influences are and to
convey a sense of the culture.

Howver, when you are simply passing along non cultural information such as
instructions or scientific information I would think you would want to be a
neutral as possible

Mike Burks

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Kynn Bartlett
Sent: Monday, June 14, 1999 3:51 PM
To: Nir Dagan
Cc: kynn@idyllmtn.com; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Avoiding Cultural Influences

At 06:29 AM 6/14/1999 , Nir Dagan wrote:
>One group of users that Kynn mentions is users who are not native
>speakers/readers of the language of a site. In this regard,
>cultural issues are very important. [...]
>The usage of the term "religious" in a negative manner in
>regard to the usage of images is counter productive. One
>should note that there are religions that have heavy
>restrictions on the usage of images (notably Islam, and to a certain
>extent Judaism), some people may be offended by the implication
>that there is something wrong with their religion.

(The use of "religious" was not meant negatively, but that leads
me to my question...)

Is it _possible_ for someone from a particular culture to avoid
writing things from their perspective?  If so, is it _desirable_
that authors deliberately do this?

From a writer's standpoint (I'm not really one, but given 36
hours in a day, I'd become one), each author has a specific
"voice", a unique viewpoint from which she is writing. That
is part of the creative process -- part of what makes the
writer herself worth reading.  And a factor in that unique
viewpoint will undoubtedly be the her cultural background.

Is it desirable, in the name of "cultural correctness", to
homogenize all writings, and risk eliminating that unique
viewpoint that she's trying to present?  If it's desirable,
is it _possible_?  How does she gauge the effect her culture
has had upon her, without being an expert in every society
on Earth?  How will she know if there is someone in a far-
off country who would not understand her choice of

Does anyone have a reference on how to identify these things
in your own writing?  Are there any understandable, non-
academic guidelines for doing so?  Or is it all hit and


Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Monday, 14 June 1999 16:23:11 UTC

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