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RE: An open letter to Anne van Kesteren

From: John Foliot - Stanford Online Accessibility Program <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 15:29:56 -0700
To: <public-html@w3.org>
Cc: <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <011601c7e5d5$22b94370$582b42ab@Piglet>

Dan Connolly wrote:
>
> Before asking 450+ people to take time away from the business
> of this working group, which is a technical design for HTML 5,
> we ask that you consult us first.
>

For the record...

I think that if Anne (or any of the other WG members) chooses to publicly
speak about features that are being "added" or "dropped" to HTML5, when
clearly the chairs are saying that *nothing* has been decided, then they
must reap what they sow: perhaps Anne should have consulted with the chairs
before posting his blog.  I personally believe that with the position of
active WG member (especially at the level that Anne is working at) comes the
responsibility to accurately reflect the goings-on within the Working Group,
clearly not evident in Anne's blog post.

Chris and Dan, currently there is a serious PR problem within the Working
Group, manifesting itself as "rudeness".  In reality, what is happening is
that certain WG members are advocating and advancing their *OPINIONS* as
manifest decisions, using any number of methods (including personal blogs,
mozilla bug reports, etc. [http://blog.whatwg.org/omit-alt]) in a "...If we
say it long enough and loud enough, it will be..." kind of scenario (as if
the existing cowpaths aren't enough, they're trampling out new ones fast and
furious, in anticipation of the paving machine).  

Since some of these self-appointed spokespeople are recognized as being
seriously linked to and involved with the HTML5 draft, the perception (real
or otherwise) is that they are making "announcements" or "proclamations" on
behalf of the HTML5 WG, resulting in others lashing back out, as A) clearly
(to us) they are opinions, and B) we neither share nor endorse these
opinions.  In many instances, we fundamentally disagree (for example, making
the alt attribute "optional", or the removal of LONGDESC because Ian Hickson
can only find "...about 0.6% of <img> elements with a longdesc=""...").

With this kind of aggressive opinionating, is it any wonder that others
become frustrated, and ultimately rude?  As co-chairs, I'll suggest that if
you really want a productive working environment (as opposed to a sniping
ground) that the *opinions* of the core working group be reigned in.  This
is not about removing the ability to speak freely, or offer an opinion, but
rather that the fact that they *ARE* opinions be clearly articulated; a
'disclaimer' that is currently seriously lacking.  Without this, there will
remain the continued perception of "us and them", and the ongoing Hatfields
and McCoys [http://tinyurl.com/25gehw] environment we are all currently
living through.

JF
Received on Thursday, 23 August 2007 22:30:16 GMT

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