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Re: Issue 31c: Meta generator

From: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2012 10:25:23 +0100
Message-ID: <CA+ri+Vn3XeSRo0Fsbijkk8MrjFAf2s6dXXiLbaYLWO7eO1YwJA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Cc: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Hi Sam, the original email didn't make it into the HTML WG email list as it
appears you had the wrong address <public-html.w3.org@w3.org>


On 16 May 2012 12:58, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net> wrote:

>  On 05/02/2012 02:28 AM, Judy Brewer wrote:
> Paul, Sam, Maciej, All,
> Please find an updated re-open request and change proposal for
> Issue31c:Meta Generator at the following URI:
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator
> This proposal requests reconsideration of the portion of the Issue-31
> decision which allows missing alt to be conforming when the meta generator
> flag is present, and identifies deficiencies in the specification of the
> "generator" value.
>  The HTML WG co-chairs have evaluated this request and are not choosing
> to reopen this issue at this time.
>  Overall Summary:
>    -
>    Identification of explicit harm or actual benefits, rather than
>    implicit harm or presumed benefits, would likely be sufficient to reopen
>    the issue in combination with the "magic semantics" argument.
>     -
>    A number of points made in the original decision<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Apr/0451.html>apply to this reopen request:
>     - No evidence was provided that more inaccessible content would be
>       created if the generator exemption is allowed than otherwise. So this was
>       taken to be a weak objection.
>       - If supported by concrete evidence, this would have been a strong
>       objection. This seems like a plausible authoring mistake which would have
>       negative consequences. But it was weakened by lack of any specific evidence
>       that this problem has actually occurred in practice.
>       - the claim of negative consequences to disallowing this use case
>       was somewhat weakened by the lack of concrete evidence that bogus values
>       have been used in the past or would be used in the future.
>       - This should be enough time to see at least anecdotal evidence of
>       the claimed problem.
> Details:
> Potentially worth considering:
>    - Magic Semantics<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_.22generator_exception.22_inadvertently_and_retroactively_introduces_new.2C_undocumented.2C_magic_semantics>
>       - Summary: And as a document author, from reading the spec, it is
>       not at all clear to me from reading the spec that if I keep a meta
>       generator element that has been added by any tool in the production or
>       evaluation process, anywhere in any document, it means that I am choosing
>       to completely opt out of having conformance checkers emit any error
>       messages about missing alternative text for any img elements in the document
>       - Analysis: while we disagree that this is poorly documented in the
>       spec (it seems spelled out pretty clearly), we agree that it is certainly a
>       surprising semantic for to have such a dramatic effect on document
>       conformance. We do believe this is new information, as surprisingness to
>       authors was not previously raised. That being said, even if it were not
>       rebutted, this argument would not be strong enough by itself to have
>       materially changed the decision, but in combination with other points may
>       be worth considering.
> Probably not sufficient in its current form, but potentially could be
> improved:
>    -
>    inequitable rendering of graphical content<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_.22generator_exception.22_results_in_inequitable_rendering_of_graphical_content>
>     - Summary: For web content to be independent of presentation, both
>       the src attribute and the alt attribute are necessary for images. Omit the
>       src attribute, and sighted users have no content; Omit text alternatives,
>       and non-sighted users have no content.
>       - Analysis: This replaces prior statement of "complete structure"
>       and represents a notable improvement; that being said this is (a) merely an
>       assertion provided without evidence (citing the actual problems caused with
>       existing tools would be helpful), and (b) likely is not a point that is in
>       dispute.
>     -
>    The "generator exception" obviates the intent of the Validator<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_.22generator_exception.22_obviates_the_intent_of_the_Validator>
>     - Summary: In the presence of the generator exception, the validator
>       suppresses error identification, and is thereby stripped of its educative
>       benefits. If content developers are not aware that a problem (missing
>       alternative text) exists, they are not notified about it, nor do they have
>       the opportunity to rectify specific instances of missing alternative text.
>       - Analysis: Presents an argument based on presumed benefits and
>       instead of citing actual benefits.
>     -
>    Sufficient evidence of harm to end-users is implicit in arguments
>    supporting the generator exception<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#Sufficient_evidence_of_harm_to_end-users_is_implicit_in_arguments_supporting_the_generator_exception>
>     - Summary: Inexplicably this was taken as non-evident despite
>       widespread understanding that alternative text is necessary to ensure
>       accessibility of images on the web for people who cannot see.
>       - Analysis: Explicit identification of how this would change even
>       one CMS's behavior would be much stronger than statements about "implicit"
>       assumptions of harm.
> Not likely to be sufficient for reopening:
>    -
>    Fatal ambiguity in the specification<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_specification_of_the_.22generator.22_value_is_deficient>
>     - Summary: spec does not define what a "hand-authored" page is, and
>       the definition of that term is not obvious
>       - Analysis: we agree the spec could be more explicit about what
>       counts as hand-authors. Pointing out the ambiguity is a new point and
>       arguably new information. However, it seems to us this is an issue that
>       could very well be raised separately as a bug. Because of this, we do not
>       believe it merits reopening the issue.
>     -
>    The "generator exception" inappropriately gives authoring tool
>    conformance considerations precedence over end-user requirements<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_.22generator_exception.22_inappropriately_gives_authoring_tool_conformance_considerations_precedence_over_end-user_requirements>
>     - Summary: whether or not an author was prompted for alt does not
>       change the fact that the end-user requires it, and that the generator
>       exception will interfere with determining whether of not the resulting
>       document contains it.
>       - Analysis: not new information or a new argument. The points and
>       counterpoints here were made in the survey and considered in the decision.
>     -
>    weighting of objections against the "generator exception" is deficient<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_weighting_of_objections_against_the_.22generator_exception.22_is_deficient>
>     - Summary: The primary criteria suggested by the HTML Co-Chairs to
>       explain the low weighting of objections to the generator exception was
>       repeated assertions of insufficient evidence; yet inaccurate assertions
>       regarding authoring production processes on which the generator exception
>       was originally based were apparently accepted without evidence
>       - Analysis: This objection needs to cite specifics. Additionally,
>       this is not a matter of arithmetic: the goal of the process is to identify
>       the strongest objection. From the original decision:
>          - Overall, there were many claimed disadvantages that flow from
>          the generator exception, ranging from weak to moderately weak. They were
>          generally unsupported by details or concrete evidence. Even though the use
>          case for omitting alt when the generator mechanism is used was disputed and
>          only found to be a medium objection, it still outweighs these claimed
>          disadvantages, as they were all found to be weak or moderately weak.
>         -
>    The "generator exception" breaks harmonization with other standards
>    and guidelines<http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/Issue31cMetaGenerator#The_.22generator_exception.22_breaks_harmonization_with_other_standards_and_guidelines>
>     - Summary: This disagreement indicates a problem that cannot be
>       solved as the HTML Co-Chairs seem to suggest by updating numerous other
>       standards and guidelines, but that must rather be solved by removing the
>       "generator" exception in HTML5 that has introduced this disharmonization.
>       - Analysis: If there is evidence on which the other standards have
>       been based that needs to be brought forward, then do so. Simply citing a
>       difference and making an assertion as to which is in error is not
>       sufficient. Also from the original decision:
>          - it's clear that there are tools which do not follow ATAG in
>          this respect, and no evidence was provided that this would change.
>  - Sam Ruby

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG

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Received on Friday, 18 May 2012 09:26:38 UTC

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