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[Bug 14107] Non-conformance of the summary attribute for the table element makes WCAG 1.0 compliance impossible

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 08:36:36 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1RDuIm-0001bd-PT@jessica.w3.org>

Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> changed:

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--- Comment #5 from Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> 2011-10-12 08:36:32 UTC ---
(In reply to comment #4)
> > Does WCAG have specific requirements regarding the means of which the summary is provided?

It does not.

> Probably, but maybe not. It explicitly references the summary attribute by
> example in a normative section:
> > For example, in HTML, use the "summary" attribute of the TABLE element.
> To me, that's explicit. But since it's an example, whether it counts as
> explicit or merely suggestive is a question that could be argued by anyone 
> with enough interest in the outcome.

That sentence is awfully bad spec writing. There are two ways to argue the
meaning of the sentence. One is that it gives one example of giving table
summaries in HTML implying that the sentence is non-exclusive and there are
other possible ways. The other potential meaning is that HTML is given as an
example of a vague larger set of possible formats but in HTML, using the
summary attribute is unqualified.

If you want to argue the latter, I think it's unreasonable to construe "HTML"
to mean any flavor of HTML in 1999 and forever thereafter. I think it's more
reasonable to construe it to mean HTML as HTML existed in 1999. If we take the
"for example" to imply that there are other non-HTML formats that WCAG tries to
apply to, why would it be reasonable to have a special lock-down for future
flavors of HTML?

Also, the WAI made a special effort to make WCAG 2 technology-independent
precisely because WCAG 1 was too closely-coupled with the technologies of 1999,
so I think it doesn't make sense to try to treat WCAG 1 as normative over the
design of specs that are on track to supersede the technologies of 1999. I
think it's particularly unreasonable to read checkpoint 11.1 to mean that all
of WCAG 1 restricts all future specs without reading it to mean that you should
stop using WCAG 1 and use WCAG 2 instead.

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Received on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 08:36:39 UTC

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