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Re: PROPOSAL: Procedure to Promote Progress With Accessibility Issues in HTML5

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 11:11:51 -0400
Message-ID: <4A65DAB7.1090005@intertwingly.net>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
CC: www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>
Shelley Powers wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 4:33 AM, Sam Ruby<rubys@intertwingly.net> wrote:
>> I realize that what I am about to say isn't directly responsive to what you
>> said, nor is it likely to win me any friends, but here goes (in no
>> particular order):
>>
>> 1) Where we are today is due in a large part to effort by the WHATWG in
>> general, and Ian in particular.  They closest we can come to a level playing
>> field is a draft-hixie alongside a draft-sporny or a draft-faulkner or the
>> like.  I won't pretend that anybody here as the credibility that Ian has
>> built up to date.
> 
> Where we are today, is on track to deliver what I feel is probably the
> worst markup specification since HTML 3.2. Yes, it is moving forward,
> if you count activity as progress, but the more one looks at it, the
> more one sees it to be problematic. And not just as relates to
> accessibility or RDFa.
> 
> Canvas is built-in, which means it can't progress without having to
> update the HTML 5 specification just specifically for it. Built-in
> vocabularies, which will soon be out of sync with that, which are
> copied from. So-called semantic elements, which are based on, well,
> weblogging terms and news sites, and don't take into account either
> the future structure of the web, or the fact that they don't reflect
> web structures that exist today.
> 
> Conflicting writing, writing that will make the specification not
> backwards compatible.  Confusion about conformance.
> 
> It appeases the browser makers, totally ignores most authors and
> users, and seems to be filled with all sorts of new toys that will
> make the kiddies happy. But not enough of the good solid markup stuff
> that will make a web that can be built on for the future. It basically
> forces us into a gatekeeper situation, and we've already heard Ian
> announce plans to maintain ownership, most likely indefinitely. He's
> so quick to toss out HTML 6 and HTML 7, where we'll "fix" things
> deliberately introduced now.
> 
> The XML serialization really isn't extensible, it builds walls against
> the work the rest of the W3C is doing, the whole process actually
> makes it more difficult to not only try out new elements and
> attributes in the future, but to use elements and attributes in
> existence today.
> 
> This is where we are today, Sam.

I'm a glass is half-full kinda person myself.

I do agree about the confusion about conformance (is ARIA in or out?) 
and most of the new features don't excite me, but I do like the focus on 
getting existing features to work interoperability.

>> 2) Documents to date have made it to FPWD on the basis of a vote.  I am
>> willing to try lazy consensus[3], but realistically it would not surprise me
>> if somebody were to call for a vote.
> 
> Fair enough.
> 
>> 3) Manu has indicated a willingness to work with Laura, John, and Steve.
>>  For all I know that willingness may not be reciprocated, or may not work
>> out.  In fact, every indication I have seen is that Laura and John would
>> rather work on a process document than the spec itself.  If that is indeed
>> what they wish to work on, then I will support them as I have supported Manu
>> - separately.
> 
> But what happens when people do submit things. You yourself completely
> forget about instances and cases where what you call for has been
> provided, and more than once.
> 
> Why? Because there is nothing to hand that enables the majority of
> people to go to the HTML WG site and actually see points of
> contention, to hear alternatives, to be aware that submittals have
> been made. Oh, the issue tracking is a computer geek tool -- it
> obfuscates, lets the members feel like they're moving forward. But it
> doesn't communicate.
> 
> No, what is communicated is that everything in HTML 5 land is happy,
> and well formed, and inclusive, because that's the page that people
> see when they come to the W3C.

See 2 and 5 on how to change that.

>> 4) Ideally, no special status would mean that authors would be able to
>> include material from each other, and Ian wouldn't be excluded from the
>> ability to incorporate suggestions from others.
> 
> There is nothing about parity that would mean any of the parties
> couldn't use each other's work. Parity would mean that there would be
> equal visibility of effort, nothing more, nothing less.

Cool.

I was reacting mainly to the thought of "two alternatives, one from the 
WhatWG, and one consisting of a collaborative efforts".  What you 
describe is the most likely way it will happen, and if so, I simply want 
it to be because those that don't choose to "cherry pick" the solutions 
with the widest support to put into their document made that choice.

>> 5) Neither Mike nor Manu have yet to indicate that their respective
>> documents are ready for FPWD.
> 
> So is that the procedure then? They produce these documents when
> they're ready to progress, and the HTML WG puts the documents to a
> vote for FPWD, in conjunction with the WhatWG's version? And then, if
> the vote is favorable, the working group would have multiple working
> documents referenced from the front page?

Pretty much.

I do recommend that documents have three independent contributors before 
being put forward as a candidate FPWD.  This is mainly as a gage of the 
potential for consensus and a counter-measure to misuse of the system 
for parodies, etc.  This is just a recommendation, however, and both 
"independent" and "contributors" are not well defined terms and will be 
evaluated loosely.  (Example: I would treat your support for a PFWG 
proposal more as an independent confirmation that I would treat your 
support for a SWWG proposal, and contributions could be as simple as a 
bug report).

In a group this size, demonstrating such support should not be a 
problem.  And latitude will be given if a reasonable attempt to do so 
has been made and the effort is clearly sincere (again, not a parody or 
the like).

One last caution: counting votes is not an exact science.  If the WHATWG 
or the PFWG vote as a block, their votes will be considered as such. 
(This also goes to Microsoft or other institutions).

Once a decision is made, there always is the possibility of a Formal 
Objection.  But it is my hope that by the time a decision is made I will 
have documented that there is diverse and broad support for the 
Decision.  And given the nature of FPWD[4] (specifically: "even if it is 
unstable and does not meet all Working Group requirements."), I don't 
anticipate that that will be a problem.

>> 6) I can not guarantee that any document will gain consensus, including
>> Ian's.  Simply put, there is a small but distinct possibility that everybody
>> is wasting their time here.  Clearly, I wouldn't be devoting my time here if
>> I felt that were likely.
> 
> The possibility grows, daily.
> 
>>> Shelley
>>>
>>> [1]
>>> http://realtech.burningbird.net/semantic-web/semantic-web-issues-and-practices/survivor-w3c
>> - Sam Ruby
>>
>> [3] http://www.apache.org/foundation/glossary.html#LazyConsensus
> 
> Shelley

[4] http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/tr.html#first-wd

- Sam Ruby
Received on Tuesday, 21 July 2009 15:12:33 GMT

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