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Opportunity costs ... Re: Summary of Thursday's IRC conversation about @summary

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 2009 14:03:51 +0200
To: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "Shelley Powers" <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Cc: "Jonas Sicking" <jonas@sicking.cc>, "John Foliot" <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.uu7fspdqwxe0ny@widsith.local>
On Mon, 08 Jun 2009 09:16:29 +0200, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:

> On Jun 6, 2009, at 01:44, Shelley Powers wrote:
>> Well, I can understand the folks who are against pulling the attribute.  
>> They've spent, what seems to me, a lot of time promoting this  
>> attribute, and accessibility in general.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy
>> And now, a few people just want to yank it because "it's not being used  
>> right".
> As far as I can tell, that's not the reason for wanting to yank it.  
> Instead, the reason is that having authors expend effort on an  
> accessibility feature that by and large doesn't work is a net loss for  
> Web accessibility due to the opportunity cost of the misplaced effort.

The question is whether an alternative will provide a better cost/benefit  
- sunk cost is not a reason to blindly go ahead, but the cost of change is  
necessarily part of the equation in guessing at potential costs and  

I'm not sure how the assumption that this opportunity cost is actually  
having a net negative effect can be tested. But it doesn't seem  
self-evidently true, so I would like to have some clearer idea of how to  
figure out if it is or not.

(This is related to, but not the same as the question of whether something  
that often doesn't work is in fact a failure...)



Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Monday, 8 June 2009 12:04:58 UTC

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