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RE: Questions about the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Fri, 9 May 2014 18:31:01 -0700
To: "'Rob Sinclair'" <Rob.Sinclair@microsoft.com>, "'Phill Jenkins'" <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Cc: <ddikter@atia.org>, <info@accessibilityassociation.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <webaim-forum@list.webaim.org>
Message-ID: <026b01cf6bef$813f7890$83be69b0$@ca>
Hi Rob,

Thanks for responding. A few comments inline:

> The language used to define voting rights is typical boilerplate
> language intended to cover multiple eventualities. We adopted this
> common language to provide flexibility for the organization as it
> grows.

Given that a clear definition of who can and cannot vote is not apparent or
present in the current boiler-plate language, and thus not on the site, can
we anticipate that this oversight can be corrected soon?

> As Phil said, the IAAP is an association of individuals, some of whom
> happen to have their membership fee paid by their employer. There is no
> mechanism for an organization to vote on behalf of its individual members;
> that is something each member must do on their own.

...although it still sets the stage for block voting by corporate
affiliation, facilitated by bulk membership purchases (put simply, if my
manager "facilitates" my membership, and she likes "Red", then I will be
inclined to vote "Red", because, well, my manager is my manager...).

I don't have an easy answer to this, but it remains a concern. I think it
would be useful to hear the Board of Director's thoughts on this
possibility, and potential mitigating strategies. By now I am sure you have
well heard the concerns over "big industry" taking things over from what has
been to date a vibrant but often grass-roots community, and steps to assuage
the fears that a company could come in and write the agenda would be a
valuable exercise.

> You also asked about the IAAP logo. Display of the logo only reflects
> membership - it does not represent endorsement or guarantee of that
> individual's product.

As I noted to Paul Bohman, I personally think the association needs to do
more here - to be more explicit.

One of the reasons stated for ensuring some degree of assurance that the
services and expertise of any organization or individual has some
credibility was because of the "bottom feeders" and "snake oil salesmen"
that are starting to surface in the emergent expertise vacuum. If I was
unfamiliar with the professional space that is our industry, and saw that
icon being used on a service providers site, I could be forgiven for
construing that the company had a level of expertise and professionalism
(whether that was true or not) - a problem my colleague Derek Featherstone
noted over 8 years ago

But if I went to the IAAP site and it was crystal clear what usage of that
logo meant, then as a purchaser of services and expertise I would be better
informed (which is also one of the stated goals of the association, right?
To aid industry seeking our professional expertise?) Since adding some kind
of statement to the website is relatively trivial in the grand scheme of
things, I would hope that it could become a priority for the association
fairly soon.

> This is also typical usage of membership logos -
> common practice that we are following.

<smile>, Rob, by now should be well aware that what we do is hardly
"common". I will suggest to you that while it might be common in many
industries and associations, it has the very real potential to serve us
poorly. I honestly think this should be something the Board of Directors
discuss further, and act upon. Public feedback sought, public feedback

> I'm happy to jump on a call next week to discuss further, if you have
> additional questions.
> Rob

Thanks for the generous offer Rob, and I am always happy to have a chat with
you, however I think it would be more valuable if we continue these
conversations in a public forum (and BTW WebAIM and WAI-IG, thanks for
letting me use your bandwidth). I am and remain a strong advocate of
transparency and public discourse.


Received on Saturday, 10 May 2014 01:31:35 UTC

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