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Re: testing versus expert opinion

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 04:49:23 -0700
Cc: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, www-archive@w3.org
Message-Id: <976A93A4-FB10-44E9-B99A-4AB75188CD94@apple.com>
To: Steve Faulkner <sfaulkner@paciellogroup.com>

On Sep 11, 2007, at 4:14 AM, Steve Faulkner wrote:

> Hi Maciej,
> the reason why i named you and anne is that the conversation i cited  
> on IRC was between you and anne. Also it was due to it being pointed  
> out to me by a friend (Gez lemon) that my writing style was somewhat  
> abrupt, so I should attempt to be more personable (obviously didn't  
> wrrk in this case).

No, and I think your point would have been better made without  
contructing it to look like a personal attack. It is generally  
friendlier to focus on ideas, not people, if you are going to disagree.

> I don't know who decided to make alt optional, what i do assume is  
> that people such as yourself and anne who interact with Ian hickson  
> on a regular basis and are  involved in the whatwg so would have a  
> better understanding of why decisions were made about the changes in  
> the spec.

I have had not interaction with him on this subject that isn't  
publicly logged or archived, so you have the same

> I am not part of any "self-styled accessibility advocate camp" as  
> you describe in what i consider to be a  mocking and demeaning way.   
> I correspond with a wide range of people including those that you  
> choose to call the accessibility camp.

My apologies, that remark was a little overheated. However - I've seen  
a pattern in the past few months of people quoting remarks (mine and  
those of others) from outside forums out of context and posting  
dramatic emails on the working group mailing list. It seems that  
everyone who has made this kind of post sees themselves as an  
accessibility advocate and is on the list at <http://html4all.org/pipermail/list_html4all.org/ 
 >. It also seems that this mailing list was made in part to  
coordinate this kind of attack: <http://html4all.org/pipermail/list_html4all.org/2007-August/000054.html 
 >. So perhaps you can see why I might be sensitive to emails that  
appear to fit this pattern, even though yours was considerably less  
hostile than many emails along these lines.

> What i don't quite understand is why it is acceptable to demean, and  
> make jokes about people and their opinions on IRC or in emails such  
> as this, but when these are called out you cry foul?

The message that started all this was: <http://html4all.org/pipermail/list_html4all.org/2007-September/000267.html 
 >. Yes, I think I am allowed to comment when people take my  
constructive remarks and make them try to sound like part of something  

I also think commenting on IRC, or indeed on external mailing lists  
like the html4all list, is very different from posting to the working  
group list, in a large part because paying attention to such  
additional fora is voluntary, so it does not consume the time of  
hundreds of people.

> So please don't try to take the moral high ground, as that is  
> nothing but hypocracy.

I think my response was not misleading with regards to the original  
content referenced, nor did it create a dispute where there is none,  
nor did it needlessly consume the time of the whole working group.


> On 11/09/2007, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
> Removing public-html from Cc list.
> On Sep 11, 2007, at 3:16 AM, Steve Faulkner wrote:
> > hi maciej,
> >
> > >Can we please not post out-of-context comments from IRC on the
> > working group list, with the apparent intent of instigating a
> > flamewar?
> >
> > My intention was not to instigate a "flamewar" my intention was to
> > further debate on a legitimate subject.
> Asking provocative rhetorical questions on a public mailing list based
> on comments in an external forum is an attack tactic, not a legitimate
> means of debate. Asking people to explain actions taken by others they
> are seen to be associated with is also an attack tactic.
> > The most inflamatory response of the 2 so far, is yours.
> >
> > I see the IRC logs as a legitimate source of material to inform the
> > debate as are many other public sources and as such will continue to
> > quote them. I have cited the IRC log so people can go and read more
> > if they desire to understand more fully the context.
> Dropping context and asking people people to follow a chain of links
> to find it is the sort of thing that makes people feel attacked and
> compelled to defend themselves. Even more importantly, you dropped the
> context that neither Anne nor I made any edits to the spec ourselves,
> so asking us to give the basis for such decisions is not appropriate
> in the first place. That context is not to be found in the IRC logs,
> yet the framing of your email appears to hold us somehow responsible.
> >  >Being unwilling to ever change your own mind, and picking a fight
> > with people who change their position to be closer to yours, are
> > both >unproductive.
> >
> > I for one am willing to change my mind if research and discussion
> > provide a basis for such a change. That is why i have started doing
> > research and asked others in the HTML WG to provide data to continue
> > it.
> >
> > >More significantly, trying to create a dispute where there is none
> > is trolling. I will do my best to look past it in this case but
> > please try to >keep this kind of abusive behavior off the mailing
> > list in the future.
> >
> > The working group is not agreed upon changing the status of the alt
> > from required to optional and so in this sense there is a dispute
> > (disagreement).
> You framed your email as if you have some bone to pick with myself and
> Anne. Your email was addressed to us in addition to the list, and the
> salutation named us directly: "Hi anne and mjs". Such "open letters"
> are a form of needless grandstanding and divisiveness that the chairs
> have specifically asked us not to engage in. Especially when there is
> no actual substantive disagreement. If the point you care about is
> making alt mandatory, what is the value in attacking me?
> >  And how exactly is asking the question
> > "Just wondered what testing was done before deciding to make the alt
> > attribute optional? Or was the decision based solely on expert
> > opinion?"
> >
> > being abusive? provocative maybe.
> Your email was clearly meant as an attack, or at the very least to
> make people appear foolish, by dropping the relevant context. Based on
> your remark here, it was clearly deliberate, and you seem to think
> this kind of behavior is acceptable. I am frankly tired of this sort
> of behavior from the self-styled accessibility advocate camp, and if
> you continue to do it I will call you on it.
> Furthermore, you choose to provoke me for coming around to agreeing
> with you more. I hope you can see this this is not only abusive but
> foolish as well, if your goal is to persuade people and not just to
> score cheap debating points.
> I guess in summary, I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve. Why
> call me out by name? The only reasons I can think of is if you
> actually disagree with something I said (which you don't appear to) or
> if you are just trying to stir up trouble.
> Regards,
> Maciej
> -- 
> with regards
> Steve Faulkner
> Technical Director - TPG Europe
> Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium
> www.paciellogroup.com | www.wat-c.org
> Web Accessibility Toolbar - http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html

Received on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 11:49:49 UTC

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