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Re: PROPOSAL: Procedure to Promote Progress With Accessibility Issues in HTML5

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2009 14:47:39 -0400
Message-ID: <4A64BBCB.1010004@intertwingly.net>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>, schwer@us.ibm.com, sfaulkner@paciellogroup.com, John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Laura Carlson wrote:
> Hi Sam,
> 
>>> Our proposal is real.
>> I was unclear.  I meant concrete technical proposals on specific features
> 
> Lack of procedure as well as agreed upon principles is the elephant in
> the room that has been blocking that endeavor.

I (try) to answer this below.

>> As a general rule,
>> it is best to start with an open discussion, on public-html. Starting with a
>> PROPOSAL with ten signatories is an anti-pattern, i.e., something to be
>> avoided.
> 
> This is another new rule. A couple of months ago it was stated:
> 
> "Meanwhile, please produce documents.  Don't feel like you have to wait
> on Ian or anyone.  Or better yet, collaborate on one or more of the
> existing documents.  If any of these gets to the point where there are
> more than three independent contributors actively participating in the
> development of that document, we can explore making such a document a
> product of the Working Group.  Initially, I would proceed with such a
> decision by a process the ASF calls Lazy Consensus, which means that
> if any member of the group objects, the matter would come to a formal
> W3C vote.  At the present time, I'm dealing with Maciej's suggestion to
> resolve the one outstanding Formal Objection to the Design Principles
> document in exactly such a manner right now."  [1]

I don't believe that these suggestions (I hesitate to call them rules) 
are inconsistent.

Maciej is producing a document.  Ian is producing another document. 
Some feel that they are openminded and willing to listen to reason, 
others differ on this.  If you want to invest your effort on producing a 
procedures document that indicates how the ten of you will proceed, feel 
free to do so.  Personally, that's not how I would be investing my time.

> More that three independent contributors actively collaborated in an
> effort to strengthen the Accessibility Principle in the Design
> Principles document [2] but it was stated that process issues were not
> welcome there. [3] Hence the procedure document [4] was further effort
> at collaboration per your advice to produce documents.
> 
> I have three questions:
> 
> 1. Is the call for more editors collaborating to produce documents
> genuine or is it a thinly veiled attempt at something else?

If you can find a way to collaborate with Ian (or Manu or Maciej or 
anybody else that has produced a document), that clearly is best.  If 
not, producing a document that has a clear division of labor with one or 
more existing documents is the next best alternative (Manu, for example, 
has attempted to do both).

If for some reason, you find that you can not do one or both of the 
above, then don't let that stop you.  The offer to grant to you or 
anybody else who wishes to seriously pursue an alternative that for 
whatever reason one or more of the existing editors is not willing to 
entertain is genuine.

See:

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2009Jun/0132.html
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf/2009Jul/0017.html
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf/2009Jul/0018.html
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf/2009Jul/0019.html

And:

http://blog.digitalbazaar.com/2009/07/13/html5rdfa/2/
http://dev.w3.org/html5/rdfa/rdfa-module.html
http://dev.w3.org/html5/rdfa/Overview.html#rdfa

My own personal opinion is that proceeding with process proposals leads 
to discussions as to what the meaning of 'holistic' is, and proceeding 
with technical proposals leads to discussions as to which strategy is 
more effective: providing attributes that contain information that the 
majority of the population never see (eliminating a potentially 
important feedback loop), or providing alternatives that everybody sees 
(handing off to authors the dilemma of either providing information that 
is redundant to most, or lacking to those that need it).

I've been waiting for a public discussion of a vote or straw poll on the 
matter of the summary attribute.  I've seen drafts, and encouraged such 
to be published so that everybody can participate in the development -- 
after all, this will need to be public at some point, but so far this 
has not materialized.

Seeing continuing criticism of Ian, lack of progress on drafting a vote, 
and new process proposals is something I find frustrating.

  - - -

I am not certain what you are hinting at with "thinly veiled attempt", 
but I will assert the following:

1) There is no guarantee that any document that Ian produces will make 
it to Last Call or result in anything but a W3C Note.

2) Any document that does make it to Last Call will need to look 
substantially similar to Ian's current draft on matters that matter to 
bowser implementers.

> 2. What exactly is the procedure for how the HTML WG is to fulfill the
> Charter's mandate to "cooperate with the Web Accessibility Initiative
> to ensure that the deliverables will satisfy accessibility
> requirements"?

I'll attempt to answer that in #3.

> 3. Who will determine if deliverables satisfy accessibility requirements?

Collectively, the HTML WG will decide when a document is ready to 
proceed to Last Call, and collectively the W3C will decide if such a 
document will proceed to Recommendation.

My intent is to encourage those in the WAI to participate in every way 
possible (including joining the HTML Working Group) prior to Last Call. 
  Those that do will be a part of the process of deciding if any or all 
of the documents produced are ready for Last Call.

Even after Last Call, there will be plenty of opportunity for Formal 
Objections and the like.  In fact, soliciting such input that is exactly 
the purpose of Last Call.

More below.

> Best Regards,
> Laura
> 
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009May/0169.html
> [2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jun/0661.html
> [3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jul/0249.html
> [4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jul/0556.html
> 
> Past messages inquiring about official HTML WG procedures:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Jun/0145.html

Loosely, the chairs are tracking issues, and document authors are 
tracking bugzilla.

> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Sep/0232.html

Ian's document has not been assessed for consensus.  Those that feel 
other than he does are encouraged to follow the guidance above.

> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2008Feb/0010.html

Again, see above.  In short, don't assume that what Ian has produced has 
consensus, and (if necessary) be prepared to produce a document that is 
largely consistent with what Ian has produced to date, but differs in as 
few ways as possible, and largely in ways that do not affect browser 
vendors.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Monday, 20 July 2009 18:50:39 UTC

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