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Re: Letter to the Team Contact - ISSUE-30.

From: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 09:54:22 -0400
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: Michael Smith <mike@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <1281707662.8037.679.camel@chacal>
Hi Leif,

are you raising a formal objection to issue-30?


On Fri, 2010-08-13 at 15:23 +0200, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> Mike Smith,
> I write to you as Team Contact, about my concerns with regard to the 
> HTMLwg Decision on ISSUE-30:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/att-0112/issue-30-decision
> A CC goes out to the HTMLwg co-chairs, to public-html@ and www-archive@
> My time is limited, so if you feel that some issues are 
> under-documented, then please tell me and allow me to follow up.
> Concerns
> --------
> 1) Errors in the decision document
> The are many errors in the decision document - some of which the chairs 
> have already admitted to. The document fails to make an accurate 
> summary of many many things. Examples: Firefox is listed as a 
> "successful" implementation of @longdesc, despite that Jon's objection 
> state the opposite. And a few successful implementations that _are_ 
> listed in the objections, are omitted as such examples in the decision 
> document: Jaws, iCab. And Charles's presentation of @longdesc (in his 
> objection to the zero-change proposal), is presented as if he says that 
> @longdesc is the only way to technically link to a long description. 
> These and a few other errors (which probably are just errors and not 
> conscious errors) are easy to check simply by reading the relevant 
> objections and proposals, undermines the trust in the decision as a 
> whole.
> 2) Criteria for use of certain words
> The decision demands things of the change proposers and objectors, 
> which the decision fails to live up to itself. One of those demands are 
> very specific criteria for the use of certain words. Example: the 
> decision (unduly, in my view) complains about lack of definition of 
> «the adjective "successfully"» (which is a an adverb, btw ...). 
> However, the decision itself operates with several words for which it 
> provides no criteria. Examples: 'use case' and 'require'. It is 
> entirely unclear what kind of 'use case' the document wants, though, 
> for the most part, the document seems to look for technical reasons to 
> have @longdesc. 
> To my mind HTML4 describes a use case: [1] "a link to a long 
> description of the image. This description should supplement the short 
> description provided using the alt attribute.". There are no links in 
> HTML4 or HTML5 other than @longdesc that have this semantic. As such it 
> @longdesc is required. (The proposal to keep @longdesc duly links to 
> HTML4, and so the decision have every reason to discuss what HTML4 says 
> - but fails to do so.)
> 3) Concerns not being duly considered
> Example: Longdesc link rot was cited as a problem both in the 
> objections, in the zero-change proposal _and_ in the decision document. 
> In my objection, I pointed out that this - in a way - automatically 
> becomes solved as soon as @longdesec is made valid: by making @longdesc 
> un-obsolete, HTML5 conformance checkers must - obviously - start to 
> conformance check the @longdesc URL. (Explanation: in the HTML4 
> validator, no URL validity checking is performed whatsoever, whereas 
> validator.nu does check URLs, as long as the attribute isn't 
> obsolete.)  
> I filed a bug about this, to make sure that conformance checkers would 
> do this, and the link to the bug is in my objection. 
> However, not a single time does the decision document that it has 
> considered this simple and obvious argument. Instead, the decision 
> document states it to be "uncontested" that "more work is needed to 
> make longdesc useful". However such a general statement is hardly 
> relevant when the required work, at the most basic level, simply 
> involves moving @longdesc from the list of obsolete attributes to the 
> list of valid attributes.
> 4) No evaluation of @longdesc from a semantic angle
> This goes back to my 'use case' critique under 2) above. In the 
> subsequent debate, I took up an idea that I picked up from Lachlan. 
> Namely that rel="londesc" (<a rel="longdesc" href="*"><img alt="short 
> description" src="*"></a>) many times could be used as a  replacement 
> for the @longdesc attribute. (The exception being when there is already 
> a link on the IMG. Another exception is on iframe elements, which HTML4 
> also allows: the <a> element is not allowed to be a wrapper around an 
> iframe element.) The response has been that rel="longdesc" is worth 
> looking into. If we see @longdesc as shorthand for the - yet undefined 
> - rel="longdesc" micro format, then should be obvious that the issue is 
> about semantics.
> (In my objection, I compare @longdesc with a special kind of link, 
> although I fail to mention the rel="longdesc" parallel.)
> However, the only time the decision uses the string "semantic" is when 
> it states the following: "A number of use cases for semantically rich, 
> structured descriptions of images were provided, however those use 
> cases are abstract and don't directly and specifically require the 
> support of a longdesc attribute".
> By this definition, then even what HTML4 says about @longdesc is 
> abstract! 
> Apart from the situations when <img> already has a link as well as the 
> <iframe> use case (see above), then it is probably impossible to find 
> concrete examples of use cases when it is _technically_ impossible to 
> solve the problem unless the language includes @longdesc. However, 
> _semantically_ the language currently has no other method than 
> @longdesc for solving the issue. But I look in vain for a discussion of 
> this problem in the decision document.
> [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/objects.html#adef-longdesc-IMG
> This letter of concern is mostly a summary of points I have made in the 
> following letters:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/0117
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/0119
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/0128
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/0129
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/0140
> With regards,
> Leif Halvard Silli
> HTML WG Invited Expert
Received on Friday, 13 August 2010 13:54:27 GMT

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