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Re: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-91: Removing the aside Element

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2010 08:21:01 -0400
Message-ID: <4C08EFAD.8030607@intertwingly.net>
To: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Aggressively snipping to focus on the point at hand.

On 06/03/2010 12:08 PM, Shelley Powers wrote:
> Sam Ruby wrote:
>> On 06/03/2010 11:12 AM, Shelley Powers wrote:
>>> And a single instance of showing that we already have existing
>>> technology that provides the exact same functionality as
>>> figure/figcaption should also have been considered a strong objection to
>>> the creation of two new elements.


>> From:
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2010May/att-0029/figure.txt


>> uncomfortably generic but also dangerously close in meaning, which
>> adds complexity and ambiguity.
>> From:
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jun/0002.html
>> "Added complexity and ambiguity is a valid argument.
>> Net: there is only one potentially strong argument relevant at this
>> time for removing the figure element, and that is the complexity
>> argument. However, we find the objections to removing the element to
>> be stronger -- at this point in time."


> Frankly? I think my argument was a strong argument, was a good
> objection, but admitting such would not meet the interests of
> expediency. The browser implementation companies want this element,
> therefore no other argument need be considered. You said as much in your
> decision. This doesn't strike me as meeting the new W3C CEO's interest
> in engaging members from communities outside of just the vendors.

Having the spec define multiple elements providing the same function is 
a valid argument.  It is potentially strong argument.  It is a good 
objection.  The decision stated such.

It simply wasn't found to be the strongest objection.  Nothing more. 
Nothing less.

By your own admission[1] there exist a set of users find these features 
to be quote "uber cool" end-quote.  As far as I can tell, browser 
vendors don't seem to be in any rush to implement these features (which 
actually is a concern, to be addressed at the appropriate point in the 
process), but do seem to be willing.  The prevailing consensus within 
the a11y TF supports keeping these features, in fact they strong object 
to removing it.

This simply was not a matter of "no other argument need be considered".


> But you give me no alternative but to file a Formal Objection. It is the
> only way I know of to ensure a decision that is based on something other
> than expediency.

I would not use expedience to describe a process that started in 
November and continues in June.  Bug 8404 (which is the subject of this 
discussion) was opened in November and bug 8447 (which matches the 
subject line) were opened in December.  Since that time, we've solicited 
input from yourself, the editor, other members of the working group, the 
a11y task force, and looked outside the group.

The bug, issue, discussions, and decisions are all available online.

At this point, I do believe that the Group has duly considered the 
legitimate concerns of dissenters such as yourself as far as is possible 
and reasonable, and that the group should move on.

That being said, should you decide to pursue a Formal Objection, you 
should be well prepared at this point.  You have a technical argument, 
and have proposed concrete changes.  Your proposal is neither vague nor 
incomplete.  You have provided substantive arguments and rationale.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Friday, 4 June 2010 12:21:35 UTC

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