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3.1: Action item re foreign passages

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005 09:24:17 -0500
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B012485CD@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Last week Alex and I took an action to meet and discuss the issues Alex
had raised concerning the requirement(s) to identify natural language
and language changes within the delivery unit.  We didn't reach
resolution in our conversation yesterday, but I think we came to a
clearer understanding of the problem.

Here's a scenario:
A delivery unit displays information about a customer.  The information
was provided by the customer, who filled out a form in a different
delivery unit. The delivery units that contain the form and display the
customer information are in French. However, the customer entered her
information in German.  The form did not allow the customer to tag the
language of her entries. As a result, the language change is not marked
up on the page that displays the customer information. The company that
owns the Web site is located in a country that requires conformance at
Level 2. Does the page conform to GL 3.1?

1. The primary natural language of both delivery units is identified in
markup. Both delivery units satisfy L1 SC1.
2. Language changes in the content are not identified in markup. The
content fails L2 SC2.  Since the site is legally obligated to conform at
L2, there is a problem.
During the time we had available, Alex and I got as far as agreeing that
situations like this are instances of the larger and still unresolved
problem of how to handle content contributed by authors who are not
affiliated with or otherwise controlled by the individual or
organization that owns the site.

The current internal/editor's draft contains the following Editor's note
about this (the wording of the note was agreed at the July 2004 f2f in
Redwood Shores [1]):

<blockquote cite="http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/">
Editor's Note #2: We are currently looking at how to handle unknown or
community-contributed, authored units that are created using an
supplied tool. If the aggregator-supplied tool conforms to

ATAG, can ATAG conformance be used to imply that the aggregated content
conforms to WCAG?

Similar problems might be faced by Weblogs that support commenting if
the commenting feature doesn't accept markup and/or blogging tools that
make it difficult/impossible to provide text alternatives, etc.; WIKIs;
Web-based forums and newsgroups; email archives like this one, which
strips out any markup that authors might choose to include; etc.

The question is how far we feel we can go in requiring the authoring
components of such systems to support and/or require accessible
content-- and if we can draw a  line between the site's responsibility
to support accessible authoring and the author's responsibility to
practice it-- a line that doesn't turn into a loophole that allows the
site owners to throw up their hands and say "We don't create the
content, we just pass it along."

It seems to me (haven't talked about this with Alex yet) that some
manifestations of the problem could be solved by conformance-scoping.
For example, in the scenario I opened with, pages that display customer
information could be scoped out of the conformance claim with the
disclaimer that all aspects of the page that are within the company's
control conform but the company doesn't take responsibility for content
produced by people they don't employ (or something like that).  That
might or might not work in the legal environment where the company
operates, but I think it would work within our current thinking about

Of course, if it's a big transnational company that has all sorts of
neural nets, etc., analyzing incoming mail, etc., it might well have the
resources to do some automatic language recognition and then generate
the appropriate markup.

Other suggestions welcome for how to address either the particular case
described above or the more general issue of community-contributed

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2004JulSep/0128#start
"Good design is accessible design." 
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/

Received on Tuesday, 7 June 2005 14:24:25 UTC

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