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RE: Is Triple-A possible?

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 13:28:53 -0800
To: "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, "'David Poehlman'" <poehlman1@home.com>, "Bruce Bailey \(E-mail\)" <bbailey@clark.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001e01c06acb$dad93ff0$0100a8c0@aries>
Kynn wrote:
"I'm not sour at all!  I'm very optimistic about web accessibility,
I just feel that many on this list need a good healthy dose of
reality because so many of the "demands" I see coming from this
list (and others within WAI) simply won't fly in the real world,
and we risk winning the battle but losing the war.

"If I seem "sour", it's only because I have to take the brunt of
negative feedback from people who disagree with me, as most other
people who present the realist viewpoint have been chased away or
asked shut up already."

Dear Kynn,

I love it when you say things such as "I just feel that many on this list
need...." As if we don't know who you're talking about. As the person most
likely to disagree with you (and the most vocal), I must be at the top of
that list, the ringleader of that group of people that can't seem to grasp
reality, though you've certainly bent over backwards to teach us. We must be
slow learners.

It's so much safer to speak of us in general terms, isn't it? After all, if
you named names you'd have to provide evidence to back up your claims that
we're unrealistic, wouldn't you? Instead, you can just make blanket
pronouncements about our lack of vision.

In a previous reply to you, I stated some of my qualifications. Of course,
you couldn't be troubled to reply to that post either on or off list. So
I'll restate them here: I derive 100% of my income from building web sites
for companies and individuals. Do you? My clients have included small
business owners, corporations, and governments. I've built sites for
restaurants, real estate agencies (in foreign countries, no less),
publishers, utility companies, health practitioners, and even a record
label.

I've also worked with interns and college students (some of them disabled),
participated in a dozen listservs, lectured on accessibility, etc. And I've
discussed accessibility issues with dozens of other web site developers.

I'm sure that all these clients and associates would be shocked to discover
that they are not part of the real world.

I've always found a way to keep my clients happy and to meet their needs
without sacrificing accessibility, even if it meant that I wrote an
alternative page for free. Similarly, I deal with complaints about
accessibility issues by pricing myself so competitively that clients can't
refuse. I've never had any complaints about the quality of my work.

What I haven't done is plug myself or my work repeatedly on this list, so
those who know me do so only by my positions on various topics of debate.

Perhaps people like Bruce Bailey, David Poehlman, and others who disagree
with you would be willing to post brief bios of themselves so we can see how
disconnected from reality they are, too.

It's really a cheap shot to keep painting everyone who disagrees with you as
unrealistic and too stupid to see that we're shooting ourselves in the foot.
Here's how it works...

When one of us gives an interpretation of the guidelines that conflicts with
the way you want them to be read:

1. That interpretation is immediately classified as "strict," even if it is
simply taking the checkpoint at face value.

2. That person is described as engaging in "tag-level accessibility." He or
she can't see the big picture (but you can), can't tell the difference
between accessibility and the guidelines (but you can).

Could it be that this approach is the cause of the negative feedback you
receive? Is it possible that professionals dedicated to accessibility might
not be receptive to being called ignorant, unrealistic, closed-minded, and,
by implication, stupid?

If you think that you're going to win any converts among us by calling us
names, I think you're mistaken. But then maybe this isn't about convincing
us. Maybe it's about solidifying your credentials as a master of
realpolitik. Maybe it's really about selling yourself as a paragon of
moderation and restraint regarding accessibility. If so, you're undoubtedly
succeeding.

Bye, Kynn. I hope you make a lot of money out there in the real world. It
was nice having you here for a while. Sorry we couldn't keep up.


Charles F. Munat
Seattle, Washington
Received on Wednesday, 20 December 2000 16:22:58 GMT

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