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RE: @headers issue resolved - allowing a td to be referenced by a header to be in the HTMl5 spec.

From: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 10:23:33 -0700
To: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>, Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-ID: <D12127075745E648BBC075EF46983E17118FA1A765@TK5-EXMBX-W603v.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>

James Graham wrote:
>It seems to me that several aspects of this procedure have not been followed:

Speaking for myself as chair, as I was chairing the call yesterday, and although I think Mike and I are in sync on this I want to offer him the opportunity to give a different take:

The Charter says: "However, if a decision is necessary for timely progress, but after due consideration of different opinions, consensus is not achieved, the Chair should put a question (allowing for remote, asynchronous participation using, for example, email and/or web-based survey techniques) and record a decision and any objections, and consider the matter resolved, at least until new information becomes available."

On this topic, there has been much asynchronous participation already.  I explicitly listed this as a topic for discussion for the telecon, to invite those who might not be able to participate to offer their input or ask for the matter to handled in some other way in order to incorporate their input.  (There were, BTW, no explicit regrets for this telecon.)  I also elicited different points of view at length during the issue discussion on the telecon.  There was, in effect, no significant dissent represented on IRC or the telecon, and I considered consensus to be achieved - thereby requiring no further question to be put to the group.  I did explicitly mention the last clause - if anyone has a significant objection to this approach, backed with reasoning that addresses in some way the examples offered in the issue exposition (see the issue on tracker or the IRC log for references) or explaining why in their opinion those examples should not be relevant, then we will, as per our Charter, revisit the issue.  Barring new information being available, I'd like us to make progress, and I don't see a significant reason not to consider the current proposal as the right resolution, and representing consensus of the group.  If you have another solution that solves the problem (representing "multi-dimensional" header semantics that are relatively common cases) and could be considered better, I'm more than happy to revisit this issue.

The chairs are NOT bound to put each and every issue to a vote or poll, when we feel consensus (= "general agreement", not unanimity) has been achieved.  And, of course, after putting such a question to the group, it would still be Mike and my responsibility to declare a decision anyway.  (Although there is no exception for minor issues, I would of course prefer we not test that either if we can all get along and be a bit flexible on minor issues instead.  If, of course, they are in fact minor.  I can remember avidly arguing against changing the !important cascade order of user stylesheets in the CSS WG back in the day, until I realized it was a minor issue and simply withdrawing my objection.)

As a member of the WG, of course, you can claim that the chairs are inappropriately declaring consensus, and ask for an explicit poll, or of course escalate to the Staff Contact, the Group Lead, etc.  I would ask, of course, that you start by approaching the Chairs and ask for a discussion (email, to the group even, is of course just fine) of why a particular decision might be considered consensus even when there is dissent, and I think you'll find that Mike and I are happy to oblige.  But we do want to make progress, and I don't think any of us want to be blocked by lack of unanimity.

James, you also said:
>There is no need for a decision to be made for timely progress.

That could be said of pretty much any part of the specification.  We must somehow boil this ocean anyway, so I'd consider that we need to start somewhere.  If there is a reason that setting this section aside would be a good idea (e.g. new information is expected, industry is changing, etc.) then I'd be willing to entertain that.

>It is not clear that all the different opinions were adequately considered.

That is always a concern of mine, of course.

>For example, I can see no evidence to suggest consideration of my point that
>marking up the example table with <th> for all the cells which the UA should
>treat as headers, and modifying the automatic association algorithm to cope, is
>easier for authors to understand and more likely to be done by authors not
>specifically interested in accessibility [2]. Therefore, taking this alternative
>approach will do more to improve overall accessibility of the web than simple to
>spec, hard to author, solutions like @headers pointing to <td> (this is related
>to our "Priority of Constituencies" design principle [3]).

Actually, we did discuss this explicitly.  See the minutes (http://www.w3.org/2008/08/28-html-wg-minutes.html) and search for "Hierarchical headers".

>A telecon does not allow for asynchronous participation.

No, but a telecon and a mailing alias, plus an escalation path, do.  If you feel this issue hasn't been given due process, then let's discuss how to ensure that you believe your feedback is being listened to, even if it is not followed directly.

Received on Friday, 29 August 2008 17:24:18 UTC

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