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Mostly Just Gross Overreactions :-) [ was: Criminal Negligence, Making Enemies, and Gross Overreactions ]

From: Terje Bless <link@pobox.com>
Date: 30 Oct 2001 21:12:08 +0100
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <1004472715.26969.187.camel@tux>
Never one to shy away from putting my foot in it, I'll send the (edited
with the benefit of hindsight) reply for your further amusement -- the
principal duty of any village idiot -- rather then doing the sensible
thing and silently try to salvage what little dignity I have left. :-)


On Tue, 2001-10-30 at 19:16, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
> It's not criminal negligence to make an inaccessible web page,

With the caveat that the phrase "criminal negligence" may have a more
specific legal definition then I am aware of, I think it should be.

Perhaps a different phrase would be better. "Malpractice" and
"Malfeasance" spring to mind, but may have similarly unfortunate
connotations and "Bad Practice" does not appear to convey the intent.

Would it make my meaning more clear if I suggested the infraction should
warrant a choice between a fine sized relative to the depth of the
pockets in question, and being nibbled to death by kittens? I mean, it's
not like I'm suggesting the death sentence -- physically, financially,
or otherwise -- here!

Not that I'm even seriously arguing that. That part was more a statement
of my opinion -- which I'll thank you to allow me! :-) -- then apropos
of the subject at hand.


(
  Lest I should be accused of having mellowed remarkably since my last
  message: I stand by the statement. There's just no way I could argue
  it after it's been proved wholly inappropriate in the context. :-)
)


> Turn down the rhetoric and come back to reality
> if you want to be taken seriously and not as a crank.

Well, given the "soapbox" introduction, I think I gave fair warning that
I am pretty much a (well intentioned) crank in the context. :-)


> [...put your money where your mouth is...]

Ah, but my mouth is so much more voluminous then my purse. At times it
fits both of my feet with room left to spare... :-)


>No, I feel that THERE ARE NO ENEMIES HERE.
>
>Web developers, even ignorant ones, are our ALLIES and if you treat
>them as ENEMIES and if you consider this a WAR rather than EDUCATION
>EFFORT then we will "lose", plain and simply.
>
>The idea that we can somehow CONQUER this poor idiot who doesn't
>understand accessibility is flat-out wrong.  We have no enemy.  We
>just have a problem.  The ONLY way we will solve the problem is to
>enlist the people who can MAKE A DIFFERENCE -- meaning, the web
>developers of the world -- as our ALLIES.

[ Kynn's first message arrives and link starts to respond...
  ...in blissful ignorance that he's about to be proved oh so wrong ]

Very well put, but I must disagree with your premise.

Experience has shown time and again that the perpetrators -- and I'm
using that particular trigger-phrase intentionally here -- are not
innocent lambs yet to be sullied with the stain of knowledge. The
message quoted in this thread purports to familiarity with the issue of
accessibility AND YET DENIES TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

The issue of whether ignorance is a valid defense -- morally or legally,
take your pick -- is a bit beyond my capacity, but my instinct is in
this case, no, it isn't. I won't argue the point however.


[ Five minutes pass and Kynn's next message arrives. ]


Doh! I'm a bit shaky on the details of English proverbs, but the words
"foot", "mouth", "egg" and "face" keep dancing before my eyes. :-)

Though it stings my pride somewhat, I'm glad to be proved wrong in this
case. Kudos to Kynn and Ed(?) for being productive while I'm off in the
corner ranting! When my cheeks stop burning some time next century I'll
try to argue the case in general instead of having to swallow my words
on the specific. Pass the vinegar..? :-)


>Sheesh, people.  Find something more productive to do with your
>righteous indignation.

Good point. But as with all good advice it will likely be ill received.
Unsolicited, and not always well considered, rants are my trademark.

Mea Culpa.

(
  A lawyerly friend of mine would probably point out that, technically,
  that's a "Service Mark" and not a "Trade Mark". :-)
)


BTW, Kynn, in hindsight it occurs to me that the combination of my
argument, my stated interpretation of your argument, and your
affiliation with Idyll Mtn. Internet, could easily be construed as a
personal attack on you (to the point of accusing you of greed and
questionable ethics!).

I'd like to apologize for my clumsiness, emphasize that this was not my
intent, and thank you for not interpreting it that way! I should have my
head smacked twice daily from here until Christmas 2002 for that and I
really appreciate your generosity!

I may disagree with you on this, but I'm not so great a fool as to fail
to recognize that you have far better grounds to hold an opinion on the
matter.
Received on Tuesday, 30 October 2001 15:12:45 GMT

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