Re: summary attribute compromise proposal

On Tue, Aug 4, 2009 at 2:58 PM, Maciej Stachowiak<> wrote:
> Hi Shelley,
> On Aug 4, 2009, at 12:20 PM, Shelley Powers wrote:
>> This is not flaming. This is me disagreeing with your solution.
> It looks to me like you focused on the parts of the proposal you most
> disagree with, and tried to cast them in as negative a light as possible.
> Could you read over John's statement of agreement and see if, like him, you
> can find some things to support and agree with, and to maybe see in a
> positive light? And then maybe think about whether it's worth fighting tooth
> and nail over the remaining distance to your ideal position? To get to
> consensus, we have to find ways to satisfy our most important goals, and in
> the process be willing to concede on less important points.
> It's your right to be unwilling to concede anything, and instead dig in your
> heels, but I humbly suggest that this will not help us reach consensus as a
> group. We've spent over a year digging in our heels and butting heads over
> this issue. It hasn't brought us any kind of resolution. So let's try
> something else.

Maciej, you need to stop casting my objections, or discussion in an
arbitrary emotional context. I was not casting your idea in as
negative a light as possible. In fact, my first response was matter of
fact, if without a lot of text. My second response started out in a
very positive manner, and then focused on the issue I feel is the

When I was ignored, then I became more forceful, because I wanted to
make the point: this isn't between Ian and John. In fact, I think
there's risk of making this an issue between people. It's not between
people. It really is about making sure that accessibility is as fully
supported in HTML 5 as it can be.

>> You started out providing what I felt were good directions in how to
>> differentiate between the other examples and summary, but then you
>> still include summary as "obsolete but conforming", which will
>> generate a warning (or error, not sure which) in validators.
> What I suggested is specifically a warning, not an error. And I'm suggesting
> the warning should lead authors to consider other techniques, not tell them
> that they can't or shouldn't use summary. I didn't say anything about
> "obsolete but conforming" status, because to me the category label is
> unimportant. John says the status label is not very important to him either.
> Let's see if anyone else finds it to be a showstopper.

No, and in fact, I would disagree with any form of selective warnings
in HTML 5. We need to have a good system of designating which elements
are deprecated, which obsolete, as well as designing specific
requirements (such as alt not being empty), then leave it to the
validators to determine how they want to apply text to these broad

We can't start selectively going well, this attribute is valid and
conforming, but we really don't like it, so we're going to put out a
warning, but it doesn't really mean anything. That's not very precise,
and I have a feeling will cause a lot more problems than solve issues.

And with due respect to John, this is my opinion -- I respect John,
what he has to say, and his concerns, but I still have my own opinion
on how summary is handled.

>> What you've done, though, is create confusion for people who have used
>> summary, correctly, in the past, when they're moving to HTML 5.
>> They'll get warnings, but they're using summary correctly -- can you
>> imagine the complications this could cause? And people will be getting
>> warnings when they use it correctly in new documents, too.
> I think an advisory warning that mentions other alternatives, and
> considerations for using them, would not create confusion. Instead, it would
> improve understanding. We know there is confusion around summary already,
> this seems like a way we could reduce confusion.

Actually, I have to disagree, I think it will cause confusion.
Frankly, I don't think there is as much confusion as some would think.
I think summary needs a better explanation, and some good examples in
a Primer, but I think that we have seen there has been as much
confusion about what makes a good HTML table, as what makes a good

>> I do not agree with making summary "obsolete but conforming" or
>> specifically highlighting it for warning. And I'm not following any
>> mandate, other than my own judgment of what's right or not. I don't
>> think this is the right approach.
> If you're open to the possibility of compromise, and if after thinking over
> John's comments and my comments you still think there's a showstopper, then
> we can see if there's changes that could lead to a broader base of support.
> Specifically, think about what you'd be willing to concede from your
> position in exchange for concessions on other points. But if you're not open
> to compromise, then I'm not sure there is anything I can do for you. I'm not
> going to ask anyone to give up 100% of their position. Pushing people to
> fully surrender their position has been failing for over a year now, so I'm
> trying something else.

No, I'm not really willing to concede about making summary obsolete. I
would be willing to make it deprecated, if it were replaced by
something that provides the _same_ functionality, but nothing proposed
does that. You know, and will all due respect to the WCAG, even if
they came back and said they didn't like summary now, I'd still feel
this way. I've had a chance to see people really discuss the use of
summary in their systems and sites via Google, and I just don't think
it's right to toss away their hard work.

Again, if we deprecated summary in favor of a new replacement
solution, then I would be willing to consider a warning about summary
because it has been deprecated in favor of ... But not the examples
given in HTML 5. These do not replace the functionality of summary.

> Regards,
> Maciej



Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 20:36:22 UTC