W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > wai-xtech@w3.org > April 2008

Re: [html4all] several messages about alt

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 10:51:12 +0300
Cc: HTML4All <list@html4all.org>, Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <B2B6DD81-FF0F-41FE-92F4-1D60DF8140F6@iki.fi>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>

On Apr 14, 2008, at 04:58, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> Henri Sivonen 08-04-13 20.57:
>> Apr 13, 2008, at 18:33, Leif Halvard Silli:
>>> If we formalise that the first step of validation/conformance  
>>> checking, namely the checking of whether images have the correct  
>>> alt text and are used in the right way, if tables have summary,  
>>> and so on and so forth, as a step that must be done by the author/ 
>>> webmaster, then your product could be allowed to check only the  
>>> more formal points -
>> An automated tool becomes less automated if it starts giving more  
>> and more messages of the nature "Please check yourself if you are  
>> violating rule foo here." If you take it to absurdity, the tool  
>> should ask the user to verify the semantic correctness of the use  
>> of each element and attribute.
> Well, I thought about it this way: If the author has "stamped" it  
> himself - with regard to the not machine-checable things, then the  
> validator do not need to give all those messages that you mention.

Do you mean you are arguing for validator pragmas that silence certain  
validator messages?

(Note that semi-automated tools aren't useless, but they are different  
tools. A semi-automated tools could display each image and its alt  
side-by-side and ask the user to verify that the alternatives make  

> So no "Valid" icons from Validator.nu.


>>> The W3 HTML checker has always done a small bit of accessiblity  
>>> checking , and that is part of why people want to check their  
>>> pages in that validator. To offer a checker as a same kind of  
>>> prestiged checker as the current W3 tool, without incorporating  
>>> some basic accessibility checking, would be a bit like stealing  
>>> goodwill from a wholly different kind of tool.
>> I'm pretty sure I haven't advertised Validator.nu in a way that  
>> stole goodwill deceptively.
>> Please let me know if you find bogus claims in Validator.nu  
>> documentation, UI or advertising. Unfortunately, I can't fully stop  
>> people from transferring bogus impressions created by others onto  
>> their preconceptions about Validator.nu.
> I guess I may have looked at it as "Validator 5".

I've called it "validation 2.0", but "5" is quite apt. :-)

> I now understand that it was never meant to be. However, I also  
> understand/get the impression that you want your validator to be an  
> example of what validator.w3.org should be.

Specifically, I think a validator should check for things that are  
machine checkable but go beyond a schema formalism, and I think  
handing out badges skews the motivations of users in such way that it  
is better not to hand out badges.

So yes, I not only don't want Validator.nu to give out badges, but I  
think badge-focusedness is bad for validators in general.

> It is very well, indeed, that you are accurate about what  
> validator.nu checks for. My point was to say that people have  
> expectations about what the W3 validator does.

This is partly due to past advertising of the W3C Validator:

Let's try to focus on what these tools are good for instead of  
catering to old misconceptions about their capabilities.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Monday, 14 April 2008 07:51:54 UTC

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