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RE: How to Complain to a Webmaster

From: Ben Canning <bencan@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 12:12:46 -0800
Message-ID: <60A2A60977EC0744BF7A9FEC4417261D01176018@RED-MSG-14.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
To: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: "Jim Ley" <jim@jibbering.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Wow, did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Kynn, I
was AGREEING with you. All I'm trying to say was that there is value in
a public discussion of the failings of some high-profile sites as a
means of raising awareness of the issue. Now, you can feel free to
disagree with this, but I'll thank you not to call me a terrorist for
holding that opinion.

As for the gauntlet you just threw down... I think we're really talking
about three different things here. 
The first is the question of whether it's valuable to discuss the
failings of specific sites in the WAI list. I argue that it is, because
I think using real world sites as examples is highly instructive to the
folks that lurk in here looking for data on accessibility issues. 

The second is whether it's constructive to discuss such things on public
forums like Slashdot. Again, I argue that this can be a good thing, both
because it's instructive and because its bring awareness of the issue to
folks that are a) technical and b) not normally aware of these things
and c) averse to having their own sites help up as examples of what not
to do. LET ME RESTATE, however, that I agree with you that one must be
careful to do this in a constructive fashion, and only after attempting
to work with the site directly and failing.

The third is whether it's valuable to 'out' bad sites in the press. From
an advocacy perspective, I think this is quite valuable when done in a
targeted way. The SLC site, for example, would make for a juicy story in
this respect precisely because the Australian site was already taken to
court over inaccessibility and the SLC folks should know better by now.
Of course, I don't think this is the role of the WAI group, but I'm
confident there are folks on this list who also do this kind of advocacy
that might want to go down this road.

Of course we need to view web designers as allies and work with them as
much as possible to educate them. But that doesn't mean you don't need
to use the big stick from time to time. That's all.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kynn Bartlett [mailto:kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:47 AM
To: Ben Canning
Cc: Jim Ley; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: How to Complain to a Webmaster

At 10:33 AM 10/31/2001 , Ben Canning wrote:
>I'm not sure if you're arguing against my position or for it. To be
>clear, I'm not arguing for trying to educate individual designers. We
>need to target both the design community and the people who are paying
>for the sites, and I think a good way to do that is by discussing
>publicly (e.g. in the press) sites that don't meet the bar. I agree
>Kynn that we need to do this in a helpful and constructive way, but we
>need to do it.

Can you provide an example of this, please?  I've provided my own
example of how I believe we should approach this problem -- respectful
dialogue with web developers.

Can you provide an example of the type of message you would write --
say, a press release (given your "e.g. in the press" comment) -- that
is helpful and constructive in discussing an inaccessible web site?
Feel free to use a hypothetical "example.com" web site if you can't
find any other examples handy.

Thanks, I look forward to it.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Received on Wednesday, 31 October 2001 15:32:37 UTC

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