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Re: disposition of ISSUE 30 cited in bug 10967 insufficient

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 18:02:47 -0500
Message-ID: <4CF58297.4020408@intertwingly.net>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
CC: public-html-a11y@w3.org, Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com, janina@rednote.net, mike@w3.org, mjs@apple.com
On 11/30/2010 04:54 PM, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
> aloha, sam!
> i do NOT want to open a new bug -- there are already several
> related bugs but none of them really addresses the issue:
> the failure of the HTML WG chairs to provide an alternate or
> improved mechanism for providing a long description -- i have
> drafted requirements for verbose descriptors which i have not
> only logged as a bug, but which i have submitted to the PFWG
> and the HTML A11y TF as a set of requirements which MUST be
> fulfilled in order that ISSUE 30 is adequately addressed --
> simply stating that longdesc is obsolete is NOT a solution
> an attempt to bridge this gap has been presented to the WG as
> both a bug:
> http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10853

I've gone ahead and marked that issue as WGDecision and WONTFIX.  Please 
read on.

> as i indicated, though, this is a placeholder bug intended to fill
> the hole in HTML5 left by the chairs' decision on ISSUE 30 -- in
> particular, the chairs' failure to identify an equal or enhanced
> mechanism for providing a verbose descriptor -- a full exploration
> of the issue and its potential solutions, plus use cases, research
> etc. (performed by both laura and myself) can be found at:
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Verbose_desc_reqs
> it is this document which seeks to redress the gaping hole in HTML
> that the chairs' decision on ISSUE 30 failed to address -- if not
> LONGDESC, then what?  the functionality is needed; research has been
> performed and URIs collected; LONGDESC will continue to be supported
> by HTML4-compatible browsers, but it either needs to be re-engineered
> so that it can reference internal as well as external descriptions OR
> it needs to be restored for external descriptions and a new attribute,
> a native @describedby, needs to be added to provide internal descriptions
> through the use of IDREFs (a space separated list of IDs which can be
> concatenated by an assistive technology into a cohesive long description
> as well as providing a means for applying style to the long description
> to visually bind it to the image being described for those -- such as
> those with some types of cognitive disabilities or those with an
> extremely limited viewport -- who NEED a verbose description to guide
> them through the image
> what i AM asking for is an end to the chairs stating that issue 30
> has been resolved no matter how many times the chairs repeat that it
> is resolved -- as long as there is no replacement or enhancement for
> the LONGDESC mechanism, ISSUE 30 has NOT been resolved
> or, is it the chairs' position that HTML5 does not need a verbose
> description mechanism?  that is the message i keep hearing when
> i hear that ISSUE 30 has been closed by the chairs, full stop

First the long version:

It is the position of the chairs that we have asked for change 
proposals, and specifically for Rationale and I quote "What problems 
does the proposal address, and how does the proposal makes things 
better?".  In response, we got the following:


We solicited objections, and got the following:


In evaluating both the proposal and the objections, we found that none 
of the data provided "directly and specifically require the support of a 
longdesc attribute".

At that time, we said that we would reopen the issue in the event that 
new information becomes available.  We specifically listed "use cases 
that specifically require longdesc" as an example of such information.

Now the short version:

Our position has always been that we are seeking a description of what 
problems longdesc solves, and a description of how long desc makes 
things better.

If and when such is provided, we will reopen the issue.  Until then, 
each and every bug that is associated with a closed issue will be marked 
as WGDecision.

> LONGDESC was SPECIFICALLY added to HTML4 to increase the web's
> accessibility -- it was irresponsible of the chairs to remove
> longdesc WITHOUT providing a means or at least pointing the way
> forward to an enhanced verbose descriptor mechanism, as several
> members of the HTML WG have done -- ISSUE 30's resolution SHOULD
> have been that LONGDESC's removal is conditional and should only
> be removed IF a superior or equivalent mechanism is agreed upon...
> an attempt to resolve the lack of a verbose descriptor mechanism in
> HTML5 in an attribute agnostic manner of is what is located at:
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Verbose_desc_reqs
> and which was filed as bug 10853
> http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10853
> in closing, i would like to point out that i am not the only member
> of the HTML A11y TF or the HTML WG who has pointed out the fallicy
> of considering ISSUE 30 closed simply through the removal of LONGDESC,
> without the chairs stating that a verbose description mechanism is
> needed...  moreover, attempts to resolve the hole left in HTML5 by the
> chairs decision in ISSUE 30 have been given extremely short shrift by the
> chairs, who constantly fall back on their decision in ISSUE 30 without
> actually addressing the underlying issue: how to natively provide verbose
> descriptions for images by reference to structured content in an
> external document AND by reference to structured content that appears
> in the same document as the image, with the understanding that the
> description may be comprised of several spans of structured text that
> are not contiguous in the document (hence the need for internal
> references by a white-space separated list of IDs)
> therefore, i would ask the chairs to re-examine ISSUE 30 in light
> of the information contained in:
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Verbose_desc_reqs
> and
> http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10853
> because deprecating LONGDESC without providing the means for a verbose
> as necessary description mechanism which does not force a visual
> encumbrance on the document, but which can be exposed simultaneously
> with the image it describes, solves nothing...

Is the group ready to forward that information to public-html as a part 
of a request that it be considered as new information?

I only have two suggestions:

1) Make every effort to ensure that this information is complete before 
doing so, as it will have the effect of raising the bar as to what 
constitutes new information in the event that it turns out to be incomplete.

2) Don't open any more bugs on this issue.

> gregory.
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with
> one's own opinion.      -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devils' Dictionary
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net AND unagi69@concentric.net
>           Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
> UBATS: United Blind Advocates for Talking Signs: http://ubats.org
> -----------------------------------------------------------------

- Sam Ruby

> ---------- Original Message -----------
> From: Sam Ruby<rubys@intertwingly.net>
> To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita"<oedipus@hicom.net>
> Cc: public-html-a11y@w3.org, Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com,
> janina@rednote.net, mike@w3.org, mjs@apple.com
> Sent: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 15:56:06 -0500
> Subject: Re: disposition of ISSUE 30 cited in bug 10967 insufficient
>> On 11/30/2010 03:36 PM, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
>>> aloha, paul!
>>> i'm emailing this rather than adding to the specific bug you commented
>>> upon because the comment contained in the forwarded bug report below
> to be
>>> extremely misleading, for in making longdesc obsolete, the chairs
>>> left HTML5 without a verbose description mechanism, which does NOT
>>> address the underlying problem -- that HTML5 lacks a native means of
>>> providing verbose descriptors and that before a feature which was
>>> added to HTML4 expressly to enhance the accessibility of the web,
> which
>>> is an issue FAR larger than any single bug, and an issue which MUST be
>>> redressed before HTML5 can advance...
>> Opening new bugs that cover the same territory is not the path
>> forward.   In the decision for issue-30[1] is the following text:
>> Revisiting this Issue
>> This issue can be reopened if new information come up. Examples
>> of possible relevant new information include:
>>       * use cases that specifically require longdesc,
>>       * evidence that correct usage is growing rapidly and that that
>>         growth is expected to continue, or
>>       * widespread interoperable implementation.
>> I believe that Laura is collecting this information.  The advice
>> that both I and Maciej gave in September on this topic is still
>> relevant today:
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2010Sep/0495.html
>> - Sam Ruby
>> [1]
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/att-
>> 0112/issue-30-decision.html
>>> in commenting on bug 10967, paul wrote, on behalf of the HTML WG
> chairs:
>>> ---------- Forwarded Message -----------
>>> From: bugzilla@jessica.w3.org
>>> To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
>>> Sent: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 20:05:59 +0000
>>> Subject: [Bug 10967] Add @desclink, a description link attr. for any
>>> embedded  element + figure
>>> http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10967
>>> Paul Cotton<Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>   changed:
>>>              What    |Removed                     |Added
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ------
>>>              Keywords|                            |WGDecision
>>>                Status|NEW                         |RESOLVED
>>>            Resolution|                            |WONTFIX
>>> --- Comment #8 from Paul Cotton<Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>   2010-11-30
>>> 20:05:58 UTC ---
>>> This bug is directly related to Issue-30:
>>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/30
>>> The HTML WG co-chairs believe that this bug has been addressed by the
> WG's
>>> decision on ISSUE-30.
>>> /paulc
>>> on behalf of the HTML WG co-chairs
>>> this is factually incorrect -- yes, the chairs decided not to use
>>> longdesc as a verbose descriptor for HTML5, but the chairs did NOT
>>> suggest a substitute or improved mechanism for providing a verbose
>>> descriptor mechanism for HTML5
>>> if QUOTE The HTML WG co-chairs believe that this bug has been
> addressed
>>> by the WG's decision on ISSUE-30. UNQUOTE then they are sadly
> mistaken,
>>> as there still exists a gaping hole in HTML5 that was plugged by
>>> LONGDESC in HTML4 -- requirements for a verbose descriptor mechanism
> for
>>> HTML5 has been logged as a bug and has been identified by the HTML
>>> A11y TF bug-triage team as a priority, for in their disposition of
>>> ISSUE 30, the HTML WG chairs failed to address the missing
> functionality
>>> in HTML5 due to the removal of LONGDESC
>>> http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10853
>>> a fuller exploration of the issue and its potential solutions, plus
>>> use cases, research etc. can be found at:
>>> http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Verbose_desc_reqs
>>> from which bug 10853 was excerpted
>>> the failure of the HTML WG chairs to suggest or solicit a replacement
>>> for LONGDESC has already been the foundation of at least 2 notices of
>>> formal objections, and is a MAJOR issue blocking HTML5's progress to
>>> Last Call -- could the chairs PLEASE stop simply citing their
>>> decision on ISSUE 30 as "the final word", since it clearly is not
>>> the final word on the issue of providing verbose descriptor since
>>> such a mechanism is no longer part of HTML5 as per the chairs'
>>> decision on ISSUE 30
>>> thank you, gregory.
>>> --------------------------------------------------------------
>>> You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of
>>> focus.                                           -- Mark Twain
>>> --------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Gregory J. Rosmaita: oedipus@hicom.net
>>>      Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
>>>             Oedipus' Online Complex: http://my.opera.com/oedipus
>>> --------------------------------------------------------------
> ------- End of Original Message -------
Received on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 23:04:26 UTC

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