Re: img@relaxed CP [was: CfC: Close ISSUE-206: meta-generator by Amicable Resolution]

On Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 7:35 AM, John Foliot <> wrote:
> If this helps validators in catching 90% of the problems (and seeing them corrected), then I must accept that 10% will still get through, even if one of those problems is as serious and important to accessibility as ensuring that important images always have alternative text.
> And you should be honest enough to admit that validators, and more importantly junk generators that don't even offer the opportunity to do the proper *and truly conformant* thing, are gaining way more in this emergent compromise than non-sighted users.

The purpose of linters is to increase interoperability, which helps
the entire system (browser developers, authoring tool developers,
authors, and users).

Developers don't gain anything from this compromise when it comes to
making markup generators as it just changes what markup they generate
to satisfy linters from alt="" to some other attribute. Developers
considered more broadly benefit from a linter that warns them about
things they can control.

Non-sighted users gain fewer content images that are hidden or have a
substandard "alt" to silence the linter, they gain from more
interoperable content from the increased use of linters, and they gain
more developers adding @alt to content images they do control because
they're paying more attention to fewer linter warnings about @alt.

One loss to non-sighted users is the encouragement linters complaining
about @alt gives to developers ingesting content to try to change the
behavior of the content producers so that they include text
alternatives in their content, whether that's by changing authoring
tools or contacting feed producers. I think the actual encouragement
is close to nil, because if you only care about stopping the linter
complaining, adding alt="" is a way easier "fix". If as a developer
you actually care about accessibility to begin with, then the linter
complaining is an irrelevance. In the rare case where you've got the
backing of organisational commitment to accessibility, complaining
about HTML validity is a much weaker argument than complaining about
Priority 1 WCAG violations. Not much of a loss here.

Another, more serious loss, would be that the routine addition of a
flag to ingested content might hide errors in high-quality ingested
content that is _expected_ to have alternatives. It's not obvious that
this loss would be so great that we should believe that non-sighted
users would lose more than they gain. Whether linters do or do not
warn about all missing @alts, developers will need to inspect text
alternatives to verify that the alternatives being provided are of
quality. Still this is reason to be cautious about this change.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

Received on Friday, 3 August 2012 08:17:18 UTC