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Re: Is Flickr an Edge Case? (was Re: HTML Action Item 54)

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 17:59:35 -0700
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Karl Groves'" <karl.groves@ssbbartgroup.com>, "'Andrew Sidwell'" <w3c@andrewsidwell.co.uk>, public-html@w3.org, "'W3C WAI-XTECH'" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org, "'HTML4All'" <list@html4all.org>, "'Matt Morgan-May'" <mattmay@adobe.com>
Message-ID: <20080527005935.GA30490@pickering.dbaron.org>

On Monday 2008-05-26 17:17 -0700, John Foliot wrote:
> Given that "photo sharing" is one of the most popular activities on the
> internet, all the more reason to not leave open the door that suggests that
> sometimes an image without @alt is "conformant".  The constant refrain from
> the working group is that this would be a rare instance, yet you now suggest
> that it will be the majority, and not a rare instance at all.  If 10 of the
> top 100 websites on the WWW have this magic get-out-of-jail-free card then
> surely others will seek to claim the same status.  The precedent being
> suggested here is staggering.  This is supposed to "help" accessibility?

I'd like to step back into the real (non-Web) world for a pair of
brief examples:
  
  1) A television news broadcast, expected to have an audience of
  thousands or millions, is required to have closed captioning,
  since that captioning will benefit a significant number of people
  in the audience.  The benefit of the captioning is greater than
  the cost of doing it.

  2) When I have a phone conversation with a friend, closed
  captioning is not required.  Neither of us would benefit from the
  closed captioning.  (If we wanted a written conversation, we'd use
  email or IM.)  There is zero benefit to the captioning, and it
  would have significant cost (compared to that benefit), so it is
  not done.

One of the great things about the Web today is that it is blurring
the distinction between these two examples.  Today's Web is not only
about large corporations publishing content for the masses to
consume.  It's also about creation of content by individuals, a few
of whom have an opportunity to be heard widely that they never had
before, but many of whom are still essentially having conversations
among a small group of friends.

Applying all the requirements we apply to mass media to content
creation for small audiences doesn't make sense.  We have to
consider the costs and benefits of meeting these requirements.  If
we enforce them on everyone, one thing we'll do is force a lot of
this content off of the Web entirely, which would make it accessible
to much fewer people.

I think flickr is a great example of the read-write Web because it
contains a small number of very popular photos, and lots of photos
that have been viewed fewer than a dozen times.

-David

-- 
L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
Received on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 01:00:35 GMT

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