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Re: Thorns pruned - thanks! [long]

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 13:34:05 -0500
Message-Id: <200202111834.NAA1116782@smtp1.mail.iamworld.net>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: "Steve Carter" <steve@juggler.net>, "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 12:12 PM 2002-02-11 , Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>At 11:16 AM +0000 2/11/02, Steve Carter wrote:
>>  > Would it be just as wrong
>>  > to use <span> and CSS to set the font?
>>Given the above, no, because FONT tags are precluded by WAI guidelines,
>>whereas SPAN tags are permitted.
>Um...where's it say that?

Give the poor blighter a break!  He did a good job of collating the responses,
and said "thank you" to boot.

<quote  cite=" http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist.html">
   11.1 Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate
   for a task and use the latest versions when supported.
   11.2 Avoid deprecated features of W3C technologies.

The sense of his application is that the greek letter 'gamma' is to appear in
the running text as a mention of a math symbol.  Since it's not a Sigma or a Pi
it is probably not an operator reference, but an operand reference.

Under administrative direction to sustain WCAG 1.0, double-A compliance, there
is ample reason to try to satisfy the letter of 11.1 and 11.2 without having to
appeal to nice distinctions.

In other words, translating 'avoid' as 'don't use' unless all preferred
alternatives flunk the 'where supported' clause is reasonable in his position.

While I in principle subscribe to your general assertion that the spirit of
WCAG 1.0 is more important than the letter, it is not necessary for Steve to
worry about the difference here. The better ways are, so far as I know, well
enough supported so that the FONT option should indeed fall off the list.  Even
if his explanation of 'why' constitutes a summary dismissal that might not
stand up to close inspection _in other contexts_.  The answer is right, even if
the rationale is not perfect.  We should not be dragging him back into
discussion to split that hair.  [says he, splitting due process hairs...]

If satisfying the letter of the guidelines is readily achievable, go for it. 
Free-lancing interpratations of the spirit of the guidelines should be reserved
for where what seems to be the letter induces a substantive hardship.  It would
appear that this matter fails to meet that test.  So going with the over-strict
interpretation of the letter induces no harm done.

He's not trying to set a global precedent concerning FONT, he's trying to solve
the problem of Math and Chemical formulae in web content from people he only
gets to coach in a working group.

Please consider the spirit of his original question, and gracious [attempted-]
closing summary.


>Yes, I know that <font> is deprecated in HTML 4.01, but the idea that
><font size="+1"> is somehow worse than <span style="font-size: 24px">
>is simply ludicrous. The spirit of the law is much more important than
>the letter of the law. You can be equally inaccessible if you use
><span> and CSS as if you use <font>, regardless of what dogmatic HTML
>purists may tell you.
>Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                
>Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain           
>Web Accessibility Expert-for-hire         
>Next Book: Teach Yourself CSS in 24      
Received on Monday, 11 February 2002 13:34:11 UTC

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