Re: CSS validator bug - box model hack

I can't believe that people are arguing that their hack doesn't
work right.  Yes, it's a bug that should be fixed, but they don't
really care about the issue because they want to use aural CSS
properties -- they care because they're using a nasty, awful hack
which abuses a legitimate CSS property that's INTENDED to be used
to increase accessibility for people with visual disabilities,
as well as other audio-output users.

In my opinion, Zeldman and the other whiners are way off base in
claiming this is some catastrophe.  If anything, it shows that
they didn't do their homework when they decided to appropriate a
perfectly good aural CSS attribute to control _visual formatting_.
If -- as Zeldman claims -- this bug has been "known" since 2001,
why didn't he and others take this into account when deciding to
use the "box model hack" and choose another property which would
pass validation?

Oh, wait, I know.  Because "no real designer is going to want to
use aural CSS anyway."  Self-centered visually oriented designers
who see themselves as the end consumers of the W3C's output (as
opposed to users of the Web itself) never REALLY care about blind
folks and other people who require accessibility.  (Witness the
continued use of FIR, promoted as "more accessible" even though
most screen readers choke on it.)

Thus it's "okay" to misuse aural CSS properties -- even though
they'd be aghast if someone dared to violate the HOLY SEMANTIC
STRUCTURE of XHTML!  Why, using <blockquote> for indents would be
_wrong_!  But appropriating voice-family because of IE 5?  Nothing
wrong there, move along folks.

Let's get real.  There are plenty of ways to deal with "the box
model bug" which don't involve putting in bogus declarations of
aural CSS properties.  Sad hacks shouldn't be part of the CSS
repertoire any more than sad hacks should be part of (X)HTML

This controversy is a tempest in a teapot, but it does illustrate
several things.  The self-centered ego of so many "elite" Web
designers, the scorn they have for people who might actually use
aural CSS, and the hatred they have for the W3C and the people
who provide services there.  (Don't believe the last one?  If not,
then tell me why exactly "$50,000 a head" membership fees for
member corporations should be considered a legitimate part of a
_bug report_ for _open source software_.)


Kynn Bartlett <>           
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain      
Author, CSS in 24 Hours             
Shock & Awe Blog                      
Inland Anti-Empire Blog         

Received on Saturday, 7 February 2004 13:37:43 UTC