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Re: ISSUE-92 cleanuptable - Chairs Solicit Alternate Proposals or Counter-Proposals

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2010 14:56:34 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=hkeey2aLCpveL8_u7+dFHm6EJTDDc---cBk4j@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Issue 92 Counter Proposal

The current text in the spec is adequate, but misplaced.  The
example of a confusing table is appropriate and useful to illustrate
good ways to explain the structure of such tables (as they do exist
in real life, and can't always be rearranged into a more intuitive
table), but it is distracting in its current location, as it is only
tangentially related to the <table> element itself.  It should be
moved to a separate section of the spec, near the <table> element

The example table code given in the original Change Proposal misses
the point of this section of text; it is not meant to illustrate the
structure of a table, but rather to illustrate a *confusing* table
that may be difficult to automatically deduce the correct heading/cell
relationships out of.  Such tables exist and will be written in the
future, as it is not always possible to write a table with a more
intuitive structure.  Thus, authors should be given guidance for how to
make these types of tables less confusing, particularly to users who
don't have the ability to quickly gather structural information about
the table visually.

The current change proposal attempts to replace this section with a
simple, clear table, which defeats the purpose of this section.  A well-
constructed table with well-placed header cells doesn't generally need
any additional explanation to be understood; the structure is clear from
a trivial examination, and many tools offer simple ways to query such
tables for a similarly trivial non-visual examination.  While such an
explanation of the structure of a simple table may be useful on its own,
it is not appropriate as a replacement for the section in question.

Move the text, starting with "There are a variety of ways..." and
ending just before "The summary attribute on table elements...", from
its current location to a new subsection placed after the current
"4.9.13 Examples" section.

In its place, at the end of the previous paragraph, place a sentence
explaining that guidance for this case can be found in the new
section, with a link to that section.

Positive Effects
* This guidance about ways to explain the structure of a confusing table
  is maintained.

* A large and somewhat tangential author-guidance section is no longer
  placed in the middle of the section about the <table> element itself,
  but rather has a dedicated section of its own, thus making the <table>
  element section more focused and giving the author-guidance section a
  more prominent location by itself.

Negative Effects
Now that the advice is in a somewhat more remote section of the spec,
it is possible that less authors will see it.

Minimal editing time to rearrange the content.

Received on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 21:57:26 GMT

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