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RE: Fw: Disturbing trend in tables

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 09:19:35 -0800
Message-Id: <a05010410b68e22a96275@[10.0.1.2]>
To: "Bailey, Bruce" <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Cc: "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@crosslink.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 11:51 AM -0500 1/19/01, Bailey, Bruce wrote:
>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?

Bruce, I don't know.  I don't see this process as one where a specific
side has to win and another has to lose.  I am thrilled that we are
having these discussions at all, and I am really pleased that Anne
(and others, such as Jonathan) have spoken up, because while it does
challenge me and often infuriate me, their presence also forces me to
look beyond simply that which we're comfortable with.

I've had similar arguments myself on mailing lists, whereby I am in
the minority by advocating principles which increase accessibility,
and most of the other participants are saying that access by people
with disabilities is not worth worrying about.  In those cases, I
have refused to back down; I haven't changed my mind because the
majority believes the web is a visual medium and they consider my
radical views to be poorly supported and my arguments without merit.

Should I give up?

>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 tend to be a centrist, which is why it makes it hard to pin me
down.  I believe in compromise and understanding of all sides, which
means that generally I have everyone upset with me. :)

>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!

Bruce, just so you know -- by my definitions of "accessibility" (the
ability of people to access information), your radical proposal is
a move that reduces the access to content, not one that increases it.

>Kynn, your condoning Anne's using FP is irresponsible.
>I am really hoping you will recant.  Please consider this request seriously.

I think that it's necessary to draw a distinction between "condoning
the idea of using FP" and "approving all of Anne's web pages as
perfectly accessible", Bruce.  By endorsing her approach, that doesn't
mean that I am certifying all web pages on her site!

>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?

A little.  I think that by pointing this out, you're not really doing
anything other than discrediting Anne.  Which may be useful in a
rhetorical debate, but from a practical sense, it would make much more
sense to show Anne, or anyone else, how they can use FP properly to make
accessible web pages.

I don't believe that Anne is as technical a coder as you or I; I
don't think she is able, by herself, to make something which would
satisfy you or me on a technical level.  I do think that she has a
number of other valuable insights, and as such, there is excellent
opportunity for collaboration here!

If I had the time -- and, sadly, I don't currently even have the time
to be writing this letter in all honesty (hope no fellow Reef folks
are reading this) -- then I'd gladly -help- Anne to see what the
technical limitations of FP are and help her figure out ways to overcome
them.  That's what needs to be done, I think.

>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.

I don't know, I think this is a decent enough approach although a
limited one, just because I think that most people -will- have
relatives who have disabilities. :)

Yes, schools need to be in the practice of making web pages more
accessible to everyone -- but it's not simply as easy as you say.

I don't have a copy of your personal page (do you have one?) so I
can't really speak to what kind of pages -you- produce, but speaking
for the pages I create and the pages the W3C creates, they tend to
be -very- text heavy and -very- low on images.  This introduces
barriers for people who might not be as able to read text as you or
I can.

Where is the indignancy there?  Do you write letters IN ALL CAPITALS
when you spot a page which has no illustrations?  Or does "accessible
to everyone" mean "accessible only to those people whose needs are
adequately met by WCAG 1.0 priority 1"?  This is why I love having
Anne around -- she forces me to confront those issues directly (and
no, I don't have any good answers).

Do you think the W3C should be threatened with a lawsuit for the
inaccessibility of the WAI home page?

>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?

I'm not sure if condemning her is necessary the best way to teach her,
Bruce.  And I also think that focusing _only_ on WCAG P1 checkpoints is
a really bad game plan, even if we are looking at those just for a
definition of "minimal accessibility."  (It's easily proven that WCAG
1.0 Single-A compliance -discriminates against certain disability
groups-.  Now there's a good lawsuit for you lawyers to chew on.)

>Kynn, I am angry with you (we'll both get over it, I am sure) for forcing me
>to be so brusque with Anne.

Er, sorry?

--Kynn
-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
http://www.kynn.com/
Received on Friday, 19 January 2001 12:26:29 GMT

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