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RE: RESOLUTION to modify text alternative change proposal and reject WAI CG's consensus recommendation

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 15:27:07 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Laura Carlson'" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "'Janina Sajka'" <janina@rednote.net>, "'Michael\(tm\) Smith'" <mike@w3.org>, "'Michael Cooper'" <cooper@w3.org>, "'Judy Brewer'" <jbrewer@w3.org>, <wai-cg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00ab01cad76a$9f1c7cf0$dd5576d0$@edu>
Laura Carlson wrote:
> The resolution put to a vote was:
> "RESOLUTION: Modify Laura's change proposal to have the conformance
> checker normatively emit a warning as opposed to an error. This
> warning must refer to the appropriate WCAG document and section that
> provides remedial guidance to the author."
> The WAI CG June 10, 2009 consensus document had absolutely no
> reference to "warnings". We discussed that point ad nausium over the
> course of the five month period. The WAI CG consensus document is all
> about what is VALID. Period.

Hi Laura,

While I too share a frustration that the TF actually went so far as to pass 
resolutions at the F2F without proper prior notice, I do also wonder what to 
do when an <img> is not valid.

As I read your change proposal, it states:
"It requires any page that lacks a text alternative for an image by at least 
one of the machine testable options to have the validator flag an error and 
declare the page invalid."

OK, so a page is invalid; now what? While *I* have long argued that the 
offending image should not render on the screen, I also must acknowledge 
that this is, in part, me being an 'unrepentant hardliner' and that we must 
admit that the image will continue to render on the screen: in this the 
browsers will insist and not budge (or, as somebody said to me, "do you want 
to be right, or do you want to be married?" - this will always be a race to 
the bottom issue).

Your Change Proposal states:
"When the validator flags missing text alternatives it creates a teachable 
moment. A moment of great opportunity: a time to flag errors, educate, to 
make people aware, and to get action, to get people to actually fix their 

I don't see anything in the resolution that takes this away, in fact as I 
read it, it re-enforces this aspect: take advantage of the teachable moment 
and get out the appropriate resources.

On balance then, I feel that whether we call it an error or warning is less 
important ("a rose, by any other name...") than what we actually end up 
doing with that result which is most important, and pointing to the 
appropriate resources within WAI on remediation and repair has not been 
removed - rather, re-enforced. Given my personal preference however, I would 
prefer to see it remain as an ERROR as honestly, that is what it is.

As I re-review the minutes of that meeting, I note the following:

	"JS: this meeting makes recommendations to TF; TF has to approve before 
moved to HTML WG" (JF - I read this as the resolution is non-binding at this 
time, and will invite further discussion)

	"CS: prefer both errors; could live with warning if @src was warning as 
well; more accurate to say is an error" (JF +1)

	"<chaals> [Actually, I note that I actually consider there is some merit in 
the case that a warning is *better* for its effect in not promoting dummy 
alt text. But then, I figure a warning is another flavour of error, too]" 
(JF - gotta agree with this too)

My bottom line is in accord with Cynthia's statement: whatever missing @src 
is called, so too should missing @alt.


I am with you however on the process: I too was unable to attend the F2F in 
the UK as I have no patron or sponsor to cover the near US$3000 it would 
have cost me to attend, nor was I able to attend virtually (as sadly I need 
to sleep and go to work in a time-zone 8 hours removed - the UK meetings 
starting at midnight local time through 8 AM local time). The 'agenda' was 
not formally released in a timely manner, and what was shared (March 29th as 
"a punch list" 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2010Mar/0552.html | 
http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/ftf_2010-04#agenda) made no mention of voting 
or passing of resolutions.

While I think that ultimately it would be counter-productive to make too 
much of an issue about this, I do wish to go on record as making it known 
that I too am also displeased with this procedural gaff - any resolutions 
should have been formally brought back to the entire TF, not just those 
privileged enough to be in the UK earlier this week.

Received on Thursday, 8 April 2010 22:27:43 UTC

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