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RE: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

From: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 12:55:26 -0700
To: "'Andrew Sidwell'" <w3c@andrewsidwell.co.uk>
Cc: "'Lachlan Hunt'" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, <public-html@w3.org>, "'HTML4All'" <list@html4all.org>
Message-ID: <007501c8bc45$c958e270$dd3c42ab@stanford.edu>

Andrew Sidwell wrote:
> John Foliot wrote:
>> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>>> Optimising for edge cases is not a reasonable thing to do.
>> Well then, making @alt optional in the edge case of Flickr or an
>> inkblot test is then moot.  Those edge cases will remain
>> non-conformant, and @alt as a mandatory requirement is a sealed deal,
>> as optimising for edge cases is not a reasonable thing to do.
> Flickr is hardly an edge case.
> Andrew Sidwell


While I can concede that Flickr is a very large website with hundreds of
thousands of users (millions?), in-and-of-it's-self it is but one web
site/application owned and operated by Yahoo!.  The number of similar photo
sharing sites on the web are miniscule to the number of web sites on the
web, and the draft spec currently reads: "In certain /rare/ cases, the image
is simply a critical part of the content, and there might even be no
alternative text available. This could be the case, for instance, in a photo
gallery..."  Current supporters of the optional @alt often refer to this as
the edge-case exception, not I.

Wikipedia provides the following definition: "An edge case is a problem or
situation that occurs only at an extreme (maximum or minimum) operating
parameter." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_case] and Merriam-Webster's
dictionary defines "rare" as: "superlative or extreme of its kind"
Given the rarity (quantity of unique sites, not unique users) of
photo-sharing sites (which BTW, *could* include the ability to provide @alt,
but currently do not do so) and the even rarer instances of Rorschach
inkblot tests on the web, it becomes an exercise in semantics to define
edge-case here.

Received on Thursday, 22 May 2008 19:56:29 UTC

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