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

From: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 22:43:37 +0000
To: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, '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" <wai-cg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C7412B925ACA454EADB3B6ECF5B960E8106C4232@TK5EX14MBXC135.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
First, on the resolutions... Those are F2F resolutions, which are to be discussed on the list this week, with final resolutions made at the telecon on Thursday morning next.  I'll let Janina, Mike and Michael speak to that in more detail.

Second, on the proposal itself.  My main worry about warnings is that, particularly in HTML 5, there are an awful lot of warnings, about an awful lot of things which are far less important than alt text.  I worry about the teachable moment being lost is a sea of less important warnings.  

For example, the TF also just agreed to not fight a warning when @longdesc is included.  So, you will get the same sort of warning for using longdesc as you will for not using alt.  Is using longdesc instead of aria-described-by even close to on par with not using alt?  No.  It's not.  Not even close.   But how is a developer to know that?

-----Original Message-----
From: public-html-a11y-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-a11y-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of John Foliot
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2010 3:27 PM
To: 'Laura Carlson'; 'HTML Accessibility Task Force'; 'Janina Sajka'; 'Michael(tm) Smith'; 'Michael Cooper'; 'Judy Brewer'; wai-cg@w3.org
Subject: RE: RESOLUTION to modify text alternative change proposal and reject WAI CG's consensus recommendation

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 pages.

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 22:44:16 UTC

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