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RE: WWW: Interoperability Crisis?

From: Charles F. Munat <chas@munat.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 22:15:41 -0800
To: "'Wilbur Streett'" <WStreett@mail.Monmouth.com>, "'Brian Milloy'" <bmilloy@interlog.com>, "'Aaron Swartz'" <aswartz@swartzfam.com>
Cc: "'Sean B. Palmer'" <sean@mysterylights.com>, <www-talk@w3.org>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008e01c0843a$bfd48740$0100a8c0@aries>
Wilbur Streett wrote:

I'm working on doing that right now.  I'm not going to engage in XML or the
latest nonsense to do it.  I'll translate HTML on the fly into scripts for
the technology that I've created.  I'll offer translation services into
better implementations for those sites that people want to see that I think
are worth it, and (gasp), I'll even charge for it on occasion.

I wish you luck. Judging from the number of I's in the above comment, this
seems to be more about you than about actually helping anyone else. Perhaps
your real anger is because by the time you've perfected your technology, it
may no longer be of any use?

Your post was truly interesting. The two parts I found most interesting were

"If you want to help the blind do it yourself, don't force the burden onto

An interesting choice of words: burden. From something you said in an
earlier post I gather that you've carried that "burden" yourself for much of
your life. Perhaps that, too, helps to explain your anger. But what
surprises me is that you evidently believe that the burden of making a web
site accessible is greater than the burden of being blind and unable to get
access to the information others get with ease.

It is true that literacy is a greater ill, but literacy is curable.
Blindness is not. Luckily, it is not an either/or proposition. We can help
both the blind and the illiterate by properly coding our sites. Making
images and other non-textual elements available to a screen reader is just
as useful for an illiterate user (assuming he or she is not deaf, too) as
for a blind user.

The second comment I found of interest was this:

"I'll offer translation services into better implementations for those
sites... that *I* think are worth it." [emphasis mine]

So you are to set yourself up as arbiter of what is good and what is not?

The future of the web is one of cooperation, but that is not really your
thing, is it, Mr. Streett? You insist on walking your own path, doing only
the things that you want to do and only the way you want to do them. Fine.
Build your own Internet, and you can have it any way you want to. But unless
you are willing to do that, I don't think you are in any position to tell
the rest of us - the rightful owners of the Internet  - what we can do with
it. And if we as a group decide that web sites shall be accessible, then
they shall be. Just as we have the right to demand that every other public
conveyance - from buses to television - be made accessible as well.

So as I said, good luck to you. I am always happy to see a man who suffers
from blindness raise himself up and succeed, especially so when his
blindness is a blindness of the heart - so much more debilitating than
blindness of sight. I hope that in your efforts to help others - if it is
indeed other whom you hope to help - that you may overcome your disability
and regain the true "face of humanity" you seem to have lost.

Charles F. Munat
Received on Monday, 22 January 2001 01:08:43 UTC

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