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RE: passive vs active voice in May 9 Proposed reorganization

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2003 13:26:27 -0500
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-id: <00a601c32c59$2550f540$ae17a8c0@USD320002X>
Hi David,


Actually, I don't think it says to write in the active voice.

It says to consider it.  It also says to use as appropriate. 


We have an action item out right now to see if we can create simple, active,
declarative forms of our checkpoints that don't change the meaning (and
don't all say - "you did" or "the author did") .  If we can then I think the
intention of the group is to go there.


If the sentences

-          aren't simple,

-          aren't declarative

-          aren't the same intent

-          don't all say 'the author/editor/web-owner/poster did xxxx"

then making them be more complex or inaccurate in order to make them active
would not be following our advice.  


In fact, if we find that we can't use active and be simple and accurate,
then we should cite that as an example of why these are worded as "consider"
instead of as "do".   


And if we can use active and be simple and accurate - then this discussion
is all moot.  We will have done it.


So - the task is on the table.  And we will soon ( I hope) see what the
answer is when the rewrite of the checkpoints into declarative active
sentences comes back. 



 -- ------------------------------ 
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D. 
Professor - Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
Director - Trace R & D Center 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of David MacDonald
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2003 1:11 PM
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: passive vs active voice in May 9 Proposed reorganization


I have one concern about using the passive voice in the guidelines which we
may need to iron out. 


In Guidline 3.3 we have a best practises section that tells people to write
in the "active" voice.  I'm a little worried that people may tell use to
practise what we preach.


Best Practice

1.      the content has been reviewed, taking into account the following
strategies for evaluating the complexity of the content, applying them as

a.      use of sentence structures that increase understanding 

*         such as active voice in languages where this form helps convey



David MacDonald



Access Empowers People...

       ...Barriers Disable Them


         <http://www.eramp.com/> www.eramp.com

Received on Friday, 6 June 2003 14:28:08 UTC

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