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RE: Fw: Disturbing trend in tables

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 11:51:33 -0500
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD03004E9@wdcrobexc01.ed.gov>
To: "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@crosslink.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Thank you Kynn.

Anne, I spoke a little too broadly, so let me apologize for that.
Kynn, which of Chas' points in his post
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2001JanMar/0184.html> do you
disagree with?  I think you are pretty much dealing with those on separate
sub-threads, so I guess you need not respond.  I do think you were being a
little disingenuous by only commenting on my opening paragraph.  Allow me to
try and express myself more carefully.

Anne, you (or at least your written opinions and beliefs) have been at the
center of many spirited threads.  I would characterize these debates as
generating a lot of traffic.  I would also characterize them ending with you
clearly on the losing side.  At least, they seem to die out with others
(people arguing on the opposite side from you) having the last word, and
having -- in my impression anyway -- the more convincing arguments.  Kynn,
is this fair?

When reasonable people have differences of opinion, the expectation is that
people on one side or the other will be influenced and some will have their
positions changed.  I know I have been convinced I was wrong several times!
<smile/>  At some point, the participants also give up on trying to "win",
usually when it comes down to deeply held beliefs or faith or when one side
is convinced the other side is hopelessly obstinate or stupid.  Kynn, I
think you are great, but sometimes I can't figure out where you are coming
from.  Your point of view seems to be somewhat fluid, but I guess you never
had much tolerance for the "religious" perspective of the philosophical
purists.  I will admit to being somewhat in that camp.  If I could wave a
magic wand and remove (and thereafter prevent) all content from the Web
which was not syntactically valid, I would.  This is evidence that I am kind
of radical, since I am quite willing to dispose of 99.9% of the current Web!
The majority of content providers, however, would be able to replace their
stuff in mere days or weeks.  The Web that would result would be about ten
times more functional than what we have now, so much so that I think the
short disruption would be well worth it.  Anyway Kynn, you present your case
lucidly enough that I will quickly give up arguing with you since I
recognize the futility of it.  Anne's presentations are not nearly so lucid,
and I can come up with no charitable explanation as to why she does not find
others arguments convincing.  Kynn, is this fair?

I agree with Kynn and Anne (and others) that one SHOULD be about to post
HTML documents without "learning HTML".  I also agree with Charles that
"learning HTML" isn't hard.  I don't see a necessary contradiction between
these two camps.  Clearly, however, the available tools leave much to be
desired, and hence my suggestions for several products that I found better
options than FrontPage.

Clearly, FrontPage CAN be used be used to create accessible and/or valid
code.  One CAN use a text editor to write assembler applications.  This is,
admittedly, a bit of hyperbole.  Kathleen Anderson, for example, has been
fairly successful in getting her people in Connecticut to create accessible
sites with FrontPage.  In any case, out of the box, and without exceptional
care, FrontPage will produce pages which are inaccessible and not
syntactically valid.  Kynn, your condoning Anne's using FP is irresponsible.
I am really hoping you will recant.  Please consider this request seriously.
Encouraging Anne to continue with her current practices contributes to the
Web being a less accessible place.  I say this because most of Anne's work I
have looked at <http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Pav/Academy1>
<http://www.erols.com/stevepem/> routinely has P1 violations.  Anne freely
admits that using FP to create pages that are Bobby Approved is too much
work!  Given the evidence that Anne doesn't post accessible content, I have
very little faith that the people she "teaches" will!  Kynn, on what basis
do you believe that Anne will give "appropriate instructions to add
necessary information to make pages more accessible"?  Her say so?  Kynn, am
I being unfair here? 

Anne, in a very recent post you wrote:
> Furthermore, to sell the idea county-wide instead of among colleagues
> in the building, I need to be able to say ... if any of your students have
> a blind relative, you need to do 1,2,3 to your page so they can see what's
> going on with the student, if any of your students have a relative who has
> to use .... whatever, you need to do whatever [ellipses in original].
This is proof to me Anne that YOU DON'T GET IT.  Schools need to get in the
practice of making EVERYTHING ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE.  We routinely flame
private companies who try to argue that they "don't have any blind
customers".  Do you really think public schools system can get away with
this kind of ignorant attitude?  Frankly, I am amazed that you can be so
active on this list and yet conduct your work life with such prejudice.  ALL
your teachers need to be creating content that does not have P1 violations
ALL the time.  Their knowledge of a particular student or relative is NOT
relevant!  Not only are your schools apparent practices MORALLY WRONG, it is
quite likely that they are ILLEGAL!  All that needs to happen is for ONE
blind relative THAT YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT (because they haven't
self-identified, why would they?) to SUE under Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act.  People with disabilities have had legal rights against
discrimination (from the government) since 1973.  The ADA in 1990 extended
these civil rights to the private sector.  The reauthorization of the
Rehabilitation Act in 1998 made it explicitly that these rights applied to
information technology systems.   This is nothing new I am telling you

Anne, you also very recently wrote:
> But, I suspect you [Chas] will be equally horrified to learn that the
state of
> Virginia has as one of its instructional standards (for technology) that by
> eighth grade each Virginia student will have created their own web page. 
I expect more out of TEACHERS than I do eighth grade students.  I expect
that schools systems not to knowingly allow official Web content to
discriminate against the blind and other persons with disabilities.  Eight
graders, by the way, are at the perfect age to learn HTML coding RIGHT (the
way it was designed) and should NOT be taught bad habits they will most
likely have to un-learn latter.  I don't know about you, but I think it is
better NOT to teach something than to teach it WRONG.  Sure, that's
frustrating, but the people that really want to know will learn it, and
there is a least then the chance then that they will learn it from an
authoritative source.

Anne, I am very sorry if any of this sounds like I am being mean.  I have
tried not to let emotion enter into this message.  Your posts have been
helpful, if only for the discussion they generate.  However, it is time for
you to move on and learn from your mistakes and let others express these
kinds of opinions.  If we can't convoke you of the importance of routinely
meeting the WCAG P1 checkpoints, what hope do we have of swaying folks that
are openly hostile to these ideas?

Kynn, I am angry with you (we'll both get over it, I am sure) for forcing me
to be so brusque with Anne.  Please, please, PLEASE tell Anne that FrontPage
is NOT a good tool for HER to be using.  I don't really think I am getting
through (nor Charles, nor the others), but maybe there is a chance that she
will listen to you.

> ----------
> From: 	Kynn Bartlett
> Sent: 	Thursday, January 18, 2001 2:54 PM
> To: 	Bailey, Bruce
> Cc: 	'Anne Pemberton'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: 	RE: Fw: Disturbing trend in tables
> At 11:32 AM 1/18/2001 , Bailey, Bruce wrote:
> >If you've heard these arguments over and over again, why don't you
> listen?
> >Charles is vocalizing the consensual opinion of every informed person on
> >this list.  Why don't you believe him?  If a hundred people tell me that
> I
> >am wrong about something, eventually I actually start to consider that my
> >preferred belief may, in fact, be incorrect!
> I think you're being a little unfair here, Bruce.
> If we went by the "majority rules" principle, most of us should just
> stop worrying about this issue, since most people outside of our
> little circle "agree" that the web is "not meant for people with
> disabilities..."
> I think Anne's use of Front Page -- with appropriate instructions
> on how to add necessary information to make pages more accessible
> -- is acceptable, given the fact that there are few _good_ options
> which meet all of her criteria for a product.  There simply are no
> good software packages aimed at non-designers creating web pages.
> --Kynn, who guesses this makes me "uninformed"
Received on Friday, 19 January 2001 11:52:00 GMT

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