Re: formal objection to one vendor/one vote

Hi Sam,
you wrote:
>* Second, we have Steven Faulkner who in Thursday's call[9]
 > indicated that he was intending to draft a spec, presumably
>  addressing accessibility issues including alt text and summary
 > attributes.  I'm hopeful that this will ultimately address ARIA.
What I have agreed to do is draft alternative versions of some sections of
the spec:
at the current time it is intended to redraft the:
4.8.2 The img element (
in reference to the WAI consensus document advice (
my inital thoughts are to remove the section Requirements for
providing text to act as an alternative for
images<> from
the spec and reformulate as a W3C  best practice note, referencing it
from 4.8.2
The img element  along with relevant references from WCAG 2.0.

I am also intending to review the 4.9.2 The table element section in relation to
I don't know at this point what if/anything will be changed.

sam ruby wrote:
> I'm hopeful that this will ultimately address ARIA.
So am I, but honestly don't know where to start, may attempt something to
get the ball rolling.

*Note:* HTML WG memebers cynthia shelly, matt may and laura carlson were
also on the HTML WG call and agreed to work with me on the above.


2009/7/11 Sam Ruby <>

> Shelley Powers recently made a good faith effort to create a Formal
> Objection[1]; however, to date I have not found a way to treat it as such.
>  The concern is certainly valid, but we need to find a process for dealing
> with the issue, and this post is a part of the process for determining the
> process.
> The concern is that Ian made a decision to remove two subsections[2] in his
> draft HTML5 spec in which codecs would have been required and that such a
> decision was widely viewed as a decision by the W3C.  It was not, in fact, a
> decision by the W3C, and as such it is not a subject to a Formal Objection.
>  But I can't escape the fact that the perception exists, and is widely
> held[3].
> Before proceeding, I wish to compliment Ian for making a decision.  This is
> not a topic with obvious answers.  On one hand, I believe that marketplace
> should sort out the codecs situation.  On the other hand I do not believe
> that the current draft contains enough information by itself to ensure
> interop.
> Ian also took the opportunity to provide some insight[4] into his decision
> making process.  In doing so, he created an impression that he did so as
> Apple exercised a unilateral veto.  I believe that such an impression is
> unfortunate, counter-productive, and not in line with my understanding of
> either W3C or WHATWG processes.  In particular, I actually believe that the
> accepted goal of the WHATWG was two complete and bug-free implementations in
> 2022[5].  I do not believe that Apple's participation is required to meet
> that goal.  In particular, I believe that there are at least three
> implementations today which could form the basis for meeting that goal, with
> required codecs, namely the browsers produced by Mozilla, Google, and Opera.
>  Nor do I believe that Ian has talked to anybody who can say with absolute
> certainty what Apple will or will not support by 2022, as I don't believe
> that such a person exists.
> That still leaves the matter of the public impression.  I will start by
> saying that I feel no compelling need[6] to correct the impression at this
> time.  I believe that the correct way to address the mis-impression that the
> W3C Working Group has made a decision is to actually make a Working Group
> decision.  Meanwhile, I am posting this publicly, both on my blog and on
> public-html.  I harbor no illusion that it will be sufficient to correct the
> misunderstanding.  If anybody feels so inclined, feel free to refer people
> to this.
> For the Working Group to make a decision, we need something concrete to
> express an opinion on.  Which means that we need some text, be it some sort
> of resolution or (my personal preference) some concrete spec text.  My
> reasons for preferring the latter is that spec text is both more durable and
> less ambiguous than resolutions.  I'm particularly skeptical about
> resolutions that take the form of "I think that somebody (other than me)
> should do the following" in general, and "make the editor do this (against
> his better judgement)" in particular.
> At the present time, we (nominally) have two editors[7].  This has been a
> continuing source of controversy, but overall has served us well, at least
> to get us to this point.  It may, however, very well be the case that this
> is not the model that will get us to Last Call and beyond.  We now seem to
> have at least three individuals who have made significant efforts to work
> within this system, and now feel that producing a document themselves may be
> a more productive use of their time:
>  * We have Rob Sayer[8] who, as I understand it, is not satisfied
>   with the codec decision, feels that the current draft contains
>   inventions that would be premature to standardize at this time,
>   and feels that the spec contains a number of places where it
>   places burdensome limitations on authoring behavior without
>   sufficient corresponding benefits to browser vendors.
>  * Second, we have Steven Faulkner who in Thursday's call[9]
>   indicated that he was intending to draft a spec, presumably
>   addressing accessibility issues including alt text and summary
>   attributes.  I'm hopeful that this will ultimately address ARIA.
>  * Third, we have Manu Sporny who indicated[10] that he will be
>   producing a spec that addresses uses cases not addressed by
>   microdata[11] (and in particular, incorporates RDFa).
> So, ultimately, we may end up this month with four separate specifications.
>  If this comes to pass, we may need to adopt naming conventions like the
> IETF does, like draft-author-name.  If we do so, I am fully confident that
> the W3C has the technical chops necessary to make this a smooth transition
> via HTTP redirects.
> It is also my experience that such a situation won't last long.  Some
> efforts may merge, some may lose interest, and some may never make to the
> point where they have a first draft ready for consideration.  In fact, we
> could end up determining that a benevolent dictator[12] is the worst form of
> government except for all those others that have been tried (with apologies
> to Sir Winson Churchill[13]).
> If, when we get to the point where we are ready to go to Last Call, a
> number of competing proposals still remain, then we will have a vote.  I
> fully recognize that a number of people would prefer technical superiority
> to win out over what they view as mere popularity contests, and these people
> are certainly encouraged to cast their vote in this manner.  I will simply
> note that it is quite possible for two intelligent individuals with similar
> backgrounds and experience can come to different conclusions when presented
> with the same data.  And we can all name standards that are "technically
> superior" that few follow.  I, for one, would rather take part in the
> creation of a standard worthy of loving parody[14] by the likes of Clay
> Shirky than to produce another such standard.
> Returning to Shelley's objection (even though it may not be end up being
> recognized as being a Formal one), I beg her indulgence as I would like to
> see how these various efforts play out in the upcoming weeks.  Should one or
> more succeed and/or Ian changes his position, I would hope that she would
> consider voluntarily withdrawing her objection at that time.
> Meanwhile I've reopened issue 7[15]:video-codecs and opened issue
> 75[16]:microsoft-review.  I'll be looking for owners for those two issues.
> Related reading: authority[17], access[18], policy[19], support[20].
> - Sam Ruby
> [1]
> [2]
> [3] [
> [4] [
> [5]
> [6]
> [7]
> [8]
> [9] [
> [10]
> [11]
> [12]
> [13]
> [14]
> [15]
> [16]
> [17]
> [18]
> [19]
> [20]

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG Europe
Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium |
Web Accessibility Toolbar -

Received on Monday, 13 July 2009 10:00:08 UTC