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Re: summary of resolutions from last 2 days

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:12:49 +0000 (UTC)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.60.0506171648260.3570@aristotle.multipattern.com>

> I'm talking about poor table markup

I dunno about that. Valid table markup is always parsable, even if you 
aren't using useful and easy elements like <th>.

> Which is something few ATs do on their own, anyway. Many of them rely on the 
> host browser and the DOM tree it exposes, which is often more broken than the 
> code. In a lot of cases, ATs don't even _know_ whether code is invalid.

They just know they're having trouble determining where this <p> or that 
<li> goes.

> Congratulations on a new low in WG discourse.

Your assessment is duly noted. I'll just add that to the list of examples 
of the WCAG Working Group preferring being all nice and genteel to 
producing good guidelines.

> The WG _did_ set a requirement on validity, after really thinking about the 
> problem. They said it's a level 2 requirement.

True. But we're talking about WCAG 2, not 1. The Working Group, Black 
Forest cake and truffles and all, has a chance to up the ante a bit.

The problem here is the choice of terminology. No, "we" can't "force" 
authors to manually mark up their code, but that wasn't on the table, 
except in the preconceptions of the Brussels group.

Had that group been a bit wiser, they could have put forth quite a 
palatable proposal, like the following:

1. Require structural, semantic markup (and knock off this nonsense that 
"semantic" isn't a word anybody understands or is already used by some 
remote tribe in Papua New Guinea, so we can't use it too)

2. Require the use of accessibility features if they exist (modulo 
deprecated cases like accesskey, which is easy to exclude in a techniques 

3. Prefer structured formats over unstructured ones (modulo the fact that 
sometimes all you've got is unstructured data)

4. Produce valid code as often as humanly possible (which is quite humanly 
possible in a much larger range of cases than the blandishment "we can't 
force authors to mark up documents manually" would suggest)

Item 4 is a somewhat firmer restatement of the WCAG 1 status quo. It 
indeed could leave valid code at Priority 2. And I suspect many people 
could have lived with that.

Sadly, the Working Group members in Brussels, who never seem to receive 
phone calls or E-mails about the deficiencies in the way they communicate 
(viz. "new low"), communicated deficiently.

It's not too late to fix. But let's stop acting like we're being drama 
queens or are tilting at windmills here or something. We're not "lying 
down in the road" for anything. What was broken was the proposed 
resolution, not the objections of defenders of standard markup.


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
       --What's wrong with top-posting?
Received on Friday, 17 June 2005 17:13:05 UTC

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