On dictature of a language, was: requiring alt attribute, was: fear of "invisible metadata"


It was exciting so far to follow the discussion on whether to require
alt attribute. Without getting into a long and fruitless
(preaching-to-the-choir kind) debate about whether alt attributes and
other AT-related forms of markup contribute to accessibility of
content, I would like to outline a philosophical point was raised,
whether intentionally or not, by Lachlan et al.:

Restriction inevitably brings perversion and the amount of the former
is proportional to the amount of the latter.

Whether requiring alt attributes manifests in the astonishing amount
of them being set to "Picture1.jpg" or empty values, I do not know.
But I do know that this should be very carefully considered even by
the most fervent accessibility zealots.

Content requirement in no way guarantees neither validity nor quality
of the content. In fact, in the absence of context, the requirement is
merely a directive to fill it up with anything. Since we're not
designing a tool or a methodology, we can not ensure the presence of
the context. From this point of view, the only logical conclusion is
that the requirement is superficial.


Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 16:30:05 UTC