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Re: Recommendation to move WCAG Techniques out of TR, concerned about Failure Techniques loosing authority

From: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 14:03:15 -0400
Message-ID: <BLU436-SMTP232B10C6244FA19A2BB75BAFEB50@phx.gbl>
To: Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>
CC: Eric Eggert <ee@w3.org>, WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I understand and am not opposed to the proposed direction.


David MacDonald

*Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*

Tel:  613.235.4902

LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100>


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On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 10:52 AM, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org> wrote:

>  I would like to offer a different interpretation of the meaning of TR
> space - without disputing David's claim that it is *perceived* to have
> greater vetting, which I'll circle back to.
> TR stands for Technical Reports and was set up to publish formal
> specifications from Working Groups - both Working Drafts and later
> maturities. There were procedures and culture that Working Groups would
> have vetted what appears that and only published with consensus. While
> Working Drafts weren't final, they were at least supported by the Working
> Group.
> In recent years there has been a concerted move to devalue this role.
> Publishing to TR was costly enough that editors did not consider it
> feasible to publish to TR as often as they made significant changes, so
> they began putting flags in TR publications that essentially said "you
> should ignore this version, go look at the editors' draft instead". Working
> Group vetting of public Editors' Drafts has been variable but generally
> significantly less than it was for TR documents. So basically editors (and
> Working Groups that authorized publication of those documents) were saying
> TR has no value at the Working Draft stage. The stable snapshots of a
> specification in development came to be seen as a liability rather than a
> benefit of the TR space.
> W3C has basically rolled with this and now allows content to published to
> TR with very little vetting, just some minimal automated checking. In
> particular, the level of Working Group vetting is not measured, and it has
> been apparent to me that, on average, it is greatly less than in the past.
> So basically, W3C has said "TR has no special meaning any more". I disagree
> with this trend, but that's they way it is. (W3C Recommendation still has
> special meaning, but because of other procedures, not by simple virtue of
> being published to TR. Working Group Notes - which the Techniques are -
> have very minimal extra procedures distinguishing them from Working Drafts.)
> So for the Working Group to publish Techniques to TR brings very little
> inherent assurance that that content is carefully vetted and publicly
> reviewed. The only assurance is the Working Group's own assertion and
> careful procedures, which now go far beyond the W3C Process requirements of
> TR publication. Meanwhile, however, the constraints of TR publications
> still apply - structure and style requirements that were designed for
> technical specifications, not guideline support materials. We have bent
> those rules as much as we could but still have a lot of feedback that the
> documents are not working well for their consumers. The high cost of TR
> publication also makes us less agile in adding new content than people want
> us to be. So it has come to be that the benefits of TR publication no
> longer exist, but the costs still weigh us down.
> Now, circling back to David's concern, I certainly can see that people
> outside of W3C might believe, partly because of history, that URIs
> beginning with http://www.w3.org/TR/ have more gravitas than other W3C
> URIs. But that is just a perception, and one we should correct. I think it
> is better to work on addressing that perception than to continue with the
> increasingly unfavorable cost / benefit ratio of publishing Techniques to
> TR. What we should do instead is tell the world that URIs beginning with
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/Techniques/ have the gravitas formerly
> expected of our TR publications. We should explain the procedures required
> for something to appear at that URI, which include careful Working Group
> vetting and public review. Meanwhile, we would gain the agility, style, and
> structure benefits of not being constrained by TR rules. And keep in mind
> that the proposal still involves publishing an index of techniques to TR,
> so if extra gravitas is assumed for what appears there, the index will
> exist, just pointing to our non-TR resource.
> To address a concern raised by Gregg later in the thread, we should have
> procedures that content published to
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/Techniques/ has the same level of WG vetting
> and public review as we currently apply to our Note publications. I don't
> think much has to change there. It's already that the case that public
> review drafts are published to a different URI -
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/YYYY/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-YYYYMMDD/. We might adjust
> the URI we use going forward, but content would not go straight to
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/Techniques/. We will probably want to adjust
> our procedures for soliciting public review - for instance, if we're adding
> a technique, requesting review of *that technique*, not an entire
> republication of 500 pages, will probably generate better results. Because
> we'll be doing this more than twice per year we should explore other
> channels than formal WAI IG announcements - perhaps a Twitter feed to
> start, maybe a Working Group blog, short announcements to a wider set of
> mailing lists, etc.
> So in summary this means:
>    - We set up a URI for formal Techniques publications that has the same
>    level of vetting as we currently apply to our Note publications;
>    - We clearly message to the public that this URI has the same gravitas
>    as TR might be (incorrectly) assumed to have automatically;
>    - We more nimbly publish new and updated content;
>    - We more effectively solicit public review, normally *just of the new
>    or changed content* for better focus;
>    - We continue to publish an index of techniques to TR so that resource
>    still exists for people who want it.
> With all these steps in place, moving Techniques off of TR should bring us
> significant benefits in quality and agility, and not cost us in credibility.
> Michael
> On 29/05/2015 2:52 PM, David MacDonald wrote:
>  Hi Eric
> I don't think it is a misconception that TR documents are more official
> than documents that are put up by a working group outside of TR. Many  TR
> documents are not normative, but they still have higher status than our
> wiki's and other working documents which have not yet reached TR. I think
> that is what is at issue here, and the Government of Canada is saying is OK
> to be outside of TR as long as they know they are the working group's
> failures and techniques which have been vetted in public.
>   Cheers,
> David MacDonald
> *Can**Adapt* *Solutions Inc.*
> Tel:  613.235.4902
> LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100>
> www.Can-Adapt.com
> *  Adapting the web to all users*
>  *            Including those with disabilities*
>  If you are not the intended recipient, please review our privacy policy
> <http://www.davidmacd.com/disclaimer.html>
> On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 7:08 AM, Eric Eggert <ee@w3.org> wrote:
>> One comment, inline…
>> On 23 May 2015, at 18:29, David MacDonald wrote:
>>  Below is an exchange with the Government of Canada on the question of
>>> TR. We don't discuss anything about the logistics of link addresses
>>> etc. which Gregg brought up and I think we need to consider carefully
>>> separately. This exchange is just about the question of scrutiny
>>> before publication and authority of the techniques. I think the main
>>> take away is they don't perceive a proposed move to TR as something
>>> that would mess up their existing policies.
>>> ====
>>> Government of Canada question: Hi David, So the techniques and
>>> failures would continue to be updated but there potentially could be
>>> less rigour? What would be the difference in the vetting process
>>> between the two scenarios?
>>> =========
>>> David response: I think in practicality it would be the same scrutiny,
>>> they would still be put out for public review, but with the advantage
>>> of being able to fix bugs quicker etc...... we usually don't get many
>>> people commenting during our public calls for review.
>>> =======
>>> Government of Canada: Okay, then I don't think it would be much of an
>>> issue for us, as the Standard on Web Accessibility would require the
>>> techniques to be used and the failures to be avoided regardless of
>>> their official status at the W3C. Being maintained and updater quicker
>>> would be a good thing.
>>  I think this shows the common misconception: The status of techniques
>> and failures won’t change (at least that is my understanding): They are
>> non-normative information, that are published as “Working Draft Notes”,
>> which means they are under /TR/. After the change, they would be published
>> somewhere else (non-/TR/) but still be non-normative.
>> My take away is that people think everything in /TR/ has some kind of
>> non-informative status, which is not the case. In that light, the move of
>> the individual techniques could clarify this common misunderstanding.
>> Cheers,
>> Eric
>>  Cheers,
>>> David MacDonald
>>> CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
>>> Tel:  613.235.4902
>>> LinkedIn
>>> www.Can-Adapt.com
>>> Adapting the web to all users
>>>          Including those with disabilities
>>> If you are not the intended recipient, please review our privacy policy
>>> On Fri, May 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM, Gregg Vanderheiden
>>> <gregg@raisingthefloor.org> wrote:
>>>> On May 22, 2015, at 8:55 AM, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org> wrote:
>>>> So I hope everyone understands that accepting the charter as proposed
>>>> does
>>>> not force us into a particular decision with our resources. And I hope
>>>> everyone can see the value in building flexibility on that into the
>>>> charter,
>>>> since we have to close the rechartering process up now, so that we can
>>>> continue the discussion on our publications without undue constraints.
>>>> Yes that is a good idea.    and yes - I see that building in the
>>>> flexibility
>>>> does not commit you either way.
>>>> Gregg
>>  --
>> Eric Eggert
>> Web Accessibility Specialist
>> Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at Wold Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Received on Tuesday, 2 June 2015 18:03:47 UTC

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