RE: Is Flickr an Edge Case? (was Re: HTML Action Item 54)

FWIW - I completely agree with John Foliot clear statement about the essense of the issue here.

Katie Haritos-Shea

-----Original Message-----
>From: John Foliot <>
>Sent: May 27, 2008 1:36 PM
>To: "'L. David Baron'" <>
>Cc: 'Maciej Stachowiak' <>, 'Karl Groves' <>, 'Andrew Sidwell' <>,, 'W3C WAI-XTECH' <>,, 'HTML4All' <>, 'Matt Morgan-May' <>
>Subject: RE: Is Flickr an Edge Case? (was Re: HTML Action Item 54)
>L. David Baron wrote:
>> Applying all the requirements we apply to mass media to content
>> creation for small audiences doesn't make sense.  We have to consider
>> the costs and benefits of meeting these requirements.  If we enforce
>> them on everyone, one thing we'll do is force a lot of this content
>> off of the Web entirely, which would make it accessible to much fewer
>> people.     
>This is not what is being debated here however.  What is being suggested is
>that the technical specification be written to open a loop-hole that so far
>has been closed: images must contain @alt if they are to be deemed
>conformant.  That millions of images lack @alt, or a valuable @alt value is
>not open to discussion - I will concur that they exist.  This alone is not a
>reason to reverse the course and suggest that it's somehow OK, so we'll
>re-write the spec to say that it is.  It's not.  Since the current penalty
>for not having @alt is... NOTHING... I cannot see how the new spec helps
>anyone save those who want conformant code without doing all that is
>required to ensure conformance.
>We are talking about a technical specification here: black and white rules
>that establish how to be conformant.  Sites and authors will then chose to
>be conformant or be non-conformant.  Sites such as Flickr - if they *want*
>to be conformant, will do what they can to ensure that from a "code"
>perspective they are outputting correct code: if a code fragment requires a
>string from an external author, that is beyond their control, but if the
>conformance requirement exists that an attribute must exist, they can at
>least ensure that the placeholder exists and a means to provide a value for
>that attribute is present.
>Today, for a web page to be "conformant" the specification calls for a DTD.
>No DTD, not conformant.  Yet Google's pages have no DTD, and their web pages
>"work" just fine: Google made a choice and that is theirs to make, but since
>arguably *the* most visited webpage on the internet today is non-conformant,
>then why are we insisting, even in HTML 5, for a DTD?
>There is no "technical" reason to reverse the requirement for a mandatory
>@alt save that it makes it easier to have conformant pages.  It does nothing
>to improve accessibility, it does nothing to enhance or improve the next
>generation of HTML, it does nothing for the very people who most need to
>have a textual alternative to an image.  If, as suggested, most photos are
>viewed by a very few (your telephone analogy), then what is wrong with
>adding alt="" to those millions of images viewed by the very few?  The whole
>argument falls flat on it's face.

* katie *

Katie Haritos-Shea 
Section 508 Technical Policy Analyst


People may forget exactly what it was that you said or did, 
but they will never forget how you made them feel.......

Received on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 19:19:40 UTC