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RE: Formal Recorded Complaint

From: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 17:50:01 -0700
To: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: "'wai-ig list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001801c7d30c$ba351de0$6e8e40ab@Piglet>

(cc list trimmed somewhat as I'm sure TBL, Steve and Judy have other things
to worry about...)

Quoting Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>:
> It's important to keep in mind that when people disagree, there are 
> often different perceptions on different sides of the argument, 
> especially in media like email and IRC that don't convey emotional 
> cues very well. What you see as process abuse, others may see as 
> vigorous discussion that ultimately leads to a better spec. Similarly, 
> sometimes individuals may perceive a conversation as a series of 
> unwarranted personal attacks on them, where others may see that 
> individuals remarks as trolling or needlessly disruptive.

Maciej, I agree that often the emotional and visual cues of the written word
are lacking, however, please do refer to Tina's earlier response
[http://tinyurl.com/293sry]:  there can be no mistaking the intent of the
comments made about her - there is no ambiguity in those written words.

Some might think they are the extreme, or taken out of context, but if you
care to follow the full thread of this conversation, there are others who
have felt the same "chilling effect" [Sam Ruby @ IBM
-http://tinyurl.com/28ae6u]: the superior tone and argumentative attitude
that brow-beats dissenters on list, and as witnessed by Tina's archived
comments, ridicules them off list.  Believe me, I know my name has appeared
on the IRC logs more than once, and I know for sure that they weren't saying
I was a swell guy...  That's OK, I have broad shoulders and thick skin; I
believe in what I fight for, and will fight for what I believe in.

You also commented:
> (Personally, I'm not even sure who is involved, besides John; I
> don't  know who exactly he thought was rude.)

I thought that the IRC logs in question were offensive (not rude); the tone
of the conversation was dismissive of legal provisions afforded the disabled
("they have no carrots"), the reference to  
"Smell-o-vision" and how the accessibility community would want special
provisions there too, and the re-enforcement overall that our community and
our concerns are generally dismissed in private, despite  
"the official position".

I have already admitted that *I* was initially rude in my response, to which
I have apologized.  There has been sufficient response from other parties
surrounding this issue that if you do not understand by now why collectively
the accessibility advocates are upset, then it points to an even bigger
problem.  Please tell me that this is not the case.

> The first recourse in a dispute, ideally, should be for the parties to 
> talk directly to each other. Especially if the event that upset you 
> happened in a non-interactive medium or at a time when you were not 
> present. I hope we all consider this option before kicking problems 
> upstairs.

My personal feeling, and based on many of the private responses I have
received supporting my outburst, is that it was time to "kick this
upstairs".  Enough is enough... these two communities have been going at it
in a similar fashion since May, and the vitriol and division has been well
documented to date both within and outside of the W3C.  Please do not make
me research all of the archives simply to prove what is generally well
known.  I can and will, but let's not.  Let's agree that to date, the
exchanges very often have been less than cordial, and that from *our* (or at
the very least, my) perspective certain members of the Working Group have
not always displayed an appropriate sensitivity that comes with the
responsibility they have undertaken.   

Some see nothing wrong with the comments in the IRC log - others did, and
have commented so publicly.  I chose to make it a bigger issue because I
personally have had enough.  When I first read those comments
I was angered beyond belief at the insensitivity of their tone.  Some might
think I over-reacted: so be it - the comments however did strike a chord
with others, so it simply wasn't me - I just made the most noise.  

> Let's try these kinds of approaches before we even bring up the idea 
> of a process for kicking people out. The responsibility for making 
> this group effective lies with all of us.

And here we have agreement.  I have said my piece, made my apology, and I
have little more to add; the real business of getting back to improving the
accessibility of the web must continue.  Let's all move on.

Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2007 00:50:26 UTC

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