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Re: Concerns with Accessibe joining W3C

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Fri, 28 May 2021 07:59:48 -0400
Message-ID: <CAFmg2sVtmMgA9KS8Ub0LTaFYsBC65oaV5uSnsXvAOZvA7z2S1g@mail.gmail.com>
To: Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
Cc: Karen Lewellen <klewellen@shellworld.net>, Wai-Ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi All,

+1 to Patrick Lauke. Am I the only one struck by the (it's more than just)
irony of a group that ostensibly promotes inclusion of all kinds, actively
discussing excluding a company from W3C participation? (And, a quick check
at https://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List#xA confirms they are indeed
members already.)

I get it. This company has a well deserved reputation of activity that many
of us find... troubling. I too have signed Karl's Overlay Factsheet, and
I've publicly pointed at this company as being untruthful and snake-oil
salesmen (using those exact words). I'm not a fan of their technology
"solution" as it adds as much grief as it claims to remove.

But it's critical to remember that the W3C is a member-funder,
international standards organization - and a consortium that does more than
just work on standards for digital accessibility. (The member-funded part
is critical - it costs $$ to keep the lights on, and that money has to come
from somewhere.) The W3C has members from around the world, of all forms of
political stripes and business models, and it's important to note that a
LOT of entities join the W3C with little active participation in specific
activities. Their reasons for joining the W3C are as varied as the members
themselves. Additionally, the W3C has absolutely no power to *force* member
companies to follow or adopt W3C standards (because otherwise, Apple would
support @longdesc in their tooling stack - for example...) Finally, there
are valuable Accessibility advocates (warriors) producing great digital
accessibility work today that are NOT members of the W3C for reasons that
may or may-not have anything to do with "accessibility" (WebAIM, FUNKA).
W3C membership is NOT a badge that separates "us" from "them".

The consortium is NOT a members-only country club, it's NOT a
by-invitation-only collection of monoculture businesses, advocates, and
other stakeholders (EDU, government, etc.), and as disappointing it may be
to see a company that many of us have serious reservations about actively
seeking to participate at the W3C, I for one would fight tooth and nail to
ensure their right to do so remained in place. It may turn out positively,
it may turn out negatively, but frankly I'm offended that some would even
contemplate actively slamming the door in their face simply because they
don't see things the way *we* see them.

IMHO, it's the antithesis of inclusion.

JF


On Thu, May 27, 2021 at 4:52 PM Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org> wrote:

> Hi, Karen,
>
> The Code document includes some of that information directly and links to
> other:
>
> * Section 4: Reporting Violations and Supporting the Code
>         https://www.w3.org/Consortium/cepc/#Reporting
>
> * "Procedures" in Positive Work Environment Home Page
>         https://www.w3.org/Consortium/pwe/
>
> Best,
> ~Shawn
>
>
> On 27-May-21 3:39 PM, Karen Lewellen wrote:
> > I can respect your stance.
> > may I ask how the w3c insures anyone complies with this code of ethics?
> > By which I mean, is it possible to join, yet engage in the sorts of
> behavior illustrated by some posts here,  without  anyone the wiser?
> > Thanks,
> > Karen,
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, 27 May 2021, Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
> >
> >> I actually have concerns about this discussion. I'm sure going over the
> list of current members https://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List each of
> us can find at least one or two current members that don't, in our view,
> fit our view of a good actor - maybe they are in the cryptocurrency market,
> or maybe they're tied to a media company heavily invested in embedding DRM
> schemes into standards, or maybe they're tied to a particular government
> body that is actively working on the suppression of free speech, or ...
> >>
> >> However, under the rules, as long as they behave in accordance with the
> membership agreement, and follow the code of ethics and professional
> conduct https://www.w3.org/Consortium/cepc/ (and as long as they pay
> their membership fees), they are free to join.
> >>
> >> P
> >> --
> >> Patrick H. Lauke
> >>
> >> https: //www.splintered.co.uk/ | https://github.com/patrickhlauke
> >> https: //flickr.com/photos/redux/ | https://www.deviantart.com/redux
> >> twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
>
>

-- 
*John Foliot* | Senior Industry Specialist, Digital Accessibility

"I made this so long because I did not have time to make it shorter." -
Pascal "links go places, buttons do things"
Received on Friday, 28 May 2021 12:00:22 UTC

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