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Re: QED & Marshall McLuhan

From: Ann Navarro <ann@webgeek.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 10:17:33 -0400
Message-Id: <199906111418.KAA12458@www10.w3.org>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>, Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 12:25 AM 6/11/99 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

>( I have assumed from the context that the general notation had already been
>explained, and that I have understood it more or less correctly.
>I wrote that straight off in two minutes as an immediate reply. It is clearly
>possible to increaase the accessibility of such a concept dramatically.

The concept is accessible already, according to WAI guidelines. I still
don't accept that accessibility automatically equates to
"understandability".  (Must I understand the symbolism in a Picasso to have
it be accessible to me?)

The question still remains: 

While the language was simplified, does it still impart the required
technical information for those who need to use it in that manner. In my
opinion, it does not -- because important terms and definitions have been
removed in favor of "understandability". 

The new sample does not define an "occurance indicator", a term that must
be used for clear an concise communication about DTDs. Nor does it
appropriately label items such as the generic identifier name. So even
though someone might understand that when we make things, it must have
other things, and this thing we're calling a sundae may not have nuts, the
sample has not done what it was supposed to do:  Define and demonstrate the
use of occurance indicators that are placed on generic identifier names --
a critical skill used in writing DTDs. 

The original assertion in this argument was that the W3C site must be
written in a manner similar to your sample in order to have any credibility
in discussing accessibility. 

My argument remains that doing so is inapprorpiate for that type of site --
technical specifications are specific by their very nature. Third-party
prose may certainly choose to improve understandability for the lay person,
but requiring technical specs to be written at a third grade level woul
render them quite useless as a defining spec. 

Put another way -- having the Pratt-Whitney jet engine repair manuals
written at a third grade level might be "good" so that they can be
understandable to anyone who might want to pick it up -- but if that
results in enough loss of specificity that an error is made by a mechanic
who met his job requirement of understanding college-level material but
must use a third-grade level repair manual, simply because the language
explaining what a foo is and how it was supposed to be inserted into the
widget was too general -- and that error results in the loss of a plane in
a crash.......then we've "understood" ourselves into disaster. 



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Received on Friday, 11 June 1999 10:18:15 UTC

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