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RE: How to Complain to a Webmaster

From: Ben Canning <bencan@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 10:14:06 -0800
Message-ID: <60A2A60977EC0744BF7A9FEC4417261D01176014@RED-MSG-14.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Don't you think you're jumping the gun a bit on the 'public humiliation'
angle? You've been worrying about that all week, yet aside from one or
two posts (and the email that was sent to the webmaster, which I agree
was not well thought out) everyone on the list has been quite civil
throughout these threads. No one has resorted to calling the webmaster
names or called for his public lynching. I agree we don't need public
humiliation of individuals, but we certainly need public discussions
about the accessibility failures of high profile sites like this one to
raise awareness within the industry that this is a problem that needs to
be addressed.

You can be sure that I hate it when BugNet 'outs' some bug in one of our
products, but you can also be sure that I try very hard to avoid showing
up on BugNet. Why not the same for accessibility problems? Going public
doesn't have to mean attacking people and calling them names, it can be
about alerting the public to problems and raising awareness.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kynn Bartlett [mailto:kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:05 AM
To: Ben Canning
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: How to Complain to a Webmaster

At 09:42 AM 10/31/2001 , Ben Canning wrote:
>The one quibble I have is one your last point about escalation . I
don't think there's anything wrong with going public about the
inaccessibility of a major site provided it's done with tact and without
ad hominem attacks on the webmasters. In fact, I think it s crucial that
escalation in one form or another does occur.

I don't think I said "never escalate", just that it's rarely useful.
If it's what's necessary, then give it a shot, but don't expect that
it will have much of an effect.

>Of course, I m not arguing for this community to becomes a band of
crusading harpies denouncing evil webmasters for building inaccessible

...but that is the very real danger.

>we both recognize that the problem is more a lack of awareness than
malice but it s only by making the public aware of these problems,
escalating to use your term, that we ll avoid designers building
inaccessible sites in the first place.

There's no way to stop them, is there?  Other than education.  Public
attacks might, at best, shame a few of them into changing stuff, but
it will always be at the surface level -- a cheap fix guaranteed to
get the protesters off your back and you can then issue press
releases about how much you pay lip service.

>It s great that you re willing to provide free accessibility consulting
to the SLC site, but that s not really a scalable solution in the long
run, is it? We need to prevent these sites being built this way in the
first place.

How do you prevent them?  Through teaching, not through public
and humiliation.  How much good did all the talk and complaining about
SLC site do?


(PS:  I'm not willing to provide free consulting to SLC, just point them
in the
right direction.  I explicitly made -- in private email -- an offer to
consulting and training services, not-for-free.)

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Wednesday, 31 October 2001 13:14:42 UTC

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