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RE: [{TBD} Conformance] Minutes for 19 November

From: Sheri Byrne Haber <sbyrnehaber@vmware.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2020 16:06:57 +0000
To: Raph de Rooij <post@raph.nl>, Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
CC: Frederick Boland <replymehere447@gmail.com>, Silver Task Force <public-silver@w3.org>, Wilco Fiers <wilco.fiers@deque.com>
Message-ID: <BYAPR05MB460039664EE46D35226B211EC2FF0@BYAPR05MB4600.namprd05.prod.outlook.com>
“Reasonable” is definitely a loaded legal term in the US, our entire court system is based on reasonable doubt, reasonable efforts, and commercially reasonable.

Not saying it isn’t an OK choice, just saying if that is the choice it needs to be with that understanding.


From: Raph de Rooij <post@raph.nl>
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2020 4:52 AM
To: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Cc: Frederick Boland <replymehere447@gmail.com>; Silver Task Force <public-silver@w3.org>; Wilco Fiers <wilco.fiers@deque.com>
Subject: Re: [{TBD} Conformance] Minutes for 19 November

Hi all,

May I suggest an alternative? The term "reasonable assurance" is well defined and commonly used in (financial and risk-based) auditing, in situations where absolute certainty cannot be provided.

It may be suitable input in the search of an alternative for the term "substantial conformance". Reasonable assurance means that all prescribed auditing procedures in a system of quality control were followed and that no deviations from the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) were found.

A document about the subject that I collected eight years ago during a compliance management study appeared to be still available online [1].
When checking the current relevance of reasonable assurance, I found a document from March 2020 [2] in which reasonable assurance was regarded as 'a core principle', which was 'strongly supported' 'in order to meet cost-benefit considerations'.

The European Commission uses "presumption of conformity" in its web accessibility directive 2016/2102 [3].
This term may be legally correct, but personally I'm not fond of it. Presumption does simply not provide a lot of certainty to those who are not familiar with the legal meaning of the term.

[1] see https://pcaobus.org/News/Events/Documents/10052005_SAGMeeting/Reasonable_Assurance.pdf<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpcaobus.org%2FNews%2FEvents%2FDocuments%2F10052005_SAGMeeting%2FReasonable_Assurance.pdf&data=04%7C01%7Csbyrnehaber%40vmware.com%7C529611b58b9240581d8d08d88d56c91e%7Cb39138ca3cee4b4aa4d6cd83d9dd62f0%7C0%7C1%7C637414751181234542%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=GObJ8MDrPEt1afEpetjEJIJup920x9oS2hCdEFVgQkA%3D&reserved=0>
[2] see https://pcaobus.org/Rulemaking/Docket046/026_Chamber.pdf<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpcaobus.org%2FRulemaking%2FDocket046%2F026_Chamber.pdf&data=04%7C01%7Csbyrnehaber%40vmware.com%7C529611b58b9240581d8d08d88d56c91e%7Cb39138ca3cee4b4aa4d6cd83d9dd62f0%7C0%7C1%7C637414751181244537%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=m0JiD4vE%2BBtP6BYdRWodKC6eNwC2kRywIP%2FZW3aI2tQ%3D&reserved=0> page 2 (H: Core Principles of Potential Approach) and page 4 (H: Reasonable Assurance)
[3] see https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2016/2102/oj?locale=en#d1e846-1-1<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Feur-lex.europa.eu%2Feli%2Fdir%2F2016%2F2102%2Foj%3Flocale%3Den%23d1e846-1-1&data=04%7C01%7Csbyrnehaber%40vmware.com%7C529611b58b9240581d8d08d88d56c91e%7Cb39138ca3cee4b4aa4d6cd83d9dd62f0%7C0%7C1%7C637414751181244537%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=jN8lLLl1qnEJe%2Be%2Bknq6qywb82YD6%2Ft0N4U3crHFWU4%3D&reserved=0>

Kind regards,

Raph de Rooij
E: post@raph.nl<mailto:post@raph.nl>
M: +31 6 45025236

Op vr 20 nov. 2020 om 02:32 schreef Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org<mailto:jbrewer@w3.org>>:

Hi Tim,

I'm not sure whether the relevant question here is whether or not "substantial" is a legal term or not. In seeking a name that best conveys the work that has been done to define and propose a conformance model for next generation guidelines, I think we also need to think about what a proposed term conveys from a messaging perspective.

With "substantial conformance" I'd be concerned that it gives more of an impression of additive conformance from a low bar, along the lines of "you can use a lot of parts of this website," or "you can use what we think are the important parts of this website," or "a lot of this site conforms to WCAG." I'd be concerned that it would be hard to overcome that impression even if backed by strong and precise testing criteria, and that this would impact people's expectations of the accessibility conformance model.

It may turn out to be that there is no term that sets a clearer expectation. Or, it may turn out that the initial impression some people have that the term sets a low bar for accessibility is not a common perspective. But I'd like us to explore some other naming possibilities before confirming a term that might give a potentially fraught impression.

- Judy
On 11/19/2020 6:38 PM, Frederick Boland wrote:

“Substantial” is a legal term – from FindLaw Legal Dictionary –

1a : of or relating to substance, b : not illusory : having merit [failed to raise a constitutional claim], c : having importance or significance : material [a step had not been taken towards commission of the crime “W.R. LaFave and A.W. Scott Jr”]

2. : considerable in quantity : significantly great [would be a abuse of the provisions of this chapter “U.S. Code”] compare de minimis

Source:  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law 1996

Also, I found an interesting article about measuring “substantially similar”:


Although in a different subject area, might provide some insight, even if the term “substantial” is not kept..

On Thursday, November 19, 2020, 1:09:54 PM EST, Wilco Fiers <wilco.fiers@deque.com><mailto:wilco.fiers@deque.com> wrote:

Minutes from the [TBD] Conformance Silver subgroup teleconference:


- Discussed where/how to remove the phrase "substantial conformance"
- Discussed principle 6, on numbers of bugs per website

Wilco Fiers
Axe-core product owner - Co-facilitator WCAG-ACT - Chair ACT-R

Join me at axe-con<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdeque.com%2Faxe-con&data=04%7C01%7Csbyrnehaber%40vmware.com%7C529611b58b9240581d8d08d88d56c91e%7Cb39138ca3cee4b4aa4d6cd83d9dd62f0%7C0%7C1%7C637414751181264524%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=WcZNjbA4MGAo4V6T2AnKtkjC7%2BxyM3JcxBbJHRdd%2FWk%3D&reserved=0> 2021: a free digital accessibility conference.


Judy Brewer

Director, Web Accessibility Initiative

at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

105 Broadway, Room 7-128, MIT/CSAIL

Cambridge MA 02142 USA

Received on Friday, 20 November 2020 16:18:44 UTC

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