W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > June 2002

Re: persistent QA problems with the W3C Validator

From: <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 22:36 +0100
Message-Id: <200206070236.g572aYu09783@ns1.hicom.net>
To: Thanasis Kinias <tkinias@optimalco.com>
Cc: www-validator@w3.org

TK: The use of an asterisk to mark a footnote is hardly `ASCII art' -- it has been established practice in print publishing for a long, long time. It also established practice on the Web to link note markers to their corresponding notes.  Given that there is a single footnote on the page, it is completely logical and in conformance with the norms of print and Web publishing, to use an asterisk to mark it.  This is, after all, what an asterisk is for.

GJR: fact 1 - a single asterisk is not going to be heard by most people using speech-output, but an asterisk which is accompanied by a textual title will be accessible to most;

fact 2 - whether or not the use of an asterisk is "established practice" in the medium of print, the web isn't print; all i requested was that when non-verbal/textual items are used as hyperlinks that they be glossed with the "title" attribute; 

fact 3 - an asterisk is not an alpha-numeric character -- it is a symbol, which needs to be glossed so that those, who have never seen an asterisk, those who can't perceive it, and those who aren't as familiar with print conventions as you are understand precisely what the symbol symbolizes;

TK: As a side note, you may find that your requests result in more positive action when they are made with more politeness and less SHOUTING and insults.

GJR: while i respect your opinion, and recognize your right to dump any emessages from me immediately into the "trash", no one ever got anything by using mime as a protest medium -- when those who can effect change don't, then it is time to shout...  why the strong language?  absolutely NO action has been taken on the issues i raised last year -- not even those which were placed on the "immediate to-do" list (consult:

moreover, it IS inexcusable and unconscionable that the W3C Validator (and its validating bretheren) are not WCAG-compliant, as WCAG 1.0 has been a W3C Technical Recommendation since 5 may 1999 -- why, then, has the W3C Validator, whose interface was changed/updated in 2001, not sought to become WCAG-compliant at the highest level possible?  why was no action taken when these issues (and the larger, more general issue of WCAG-compliance) were raised?  if no one seems to be listening, isn't it human nature to raise one's voice in order to be heard?

and, finally, i did not simply "shout", to use your term -- i offered concrete proposals, with concrete solutions, coupled with what could be construed as "inflammatory rhetoric", but there are no other words to describe the failure of the validator to comply with WCAG other than "inexcusable" and "unconscionable" -- all of the other words that come to mind are not quite "fit to print";

if you don't like the wrapper, throw it away, but don't discard the concrete suggestions, nor discount the frustration and disillusionment of the disabled computer user...

TK: (And I'm not an opponent of accessibility.  I do all my work at double-or triple-A WCAG compliance, and I basically initiated the Web
accessibility movement at my place of employment.)

GJR: i'm sure your work has benefitted many, but that is not the issue at hand -- that you support accessibility and that i rely on assistive technology to interact with the web is immaterial...  and while i applaud your efforts on the accessibility front, simply keeping one's house in order is insufficient -- as a highly visible part of the W3C site, even to those of us who are blind, the validator is one of the primary means by which visitors to W3C web-space measure the consortium's work -- what does it say to the world-in-general that it is less-than accessible?  it is not only patently unfair and unnecessarily exclusionary, but runs counter to the efforts of the W3C as manifested in the Web Accessibility Initiative

it is not sufficient to log accessibility issues - they must be dealt with as they are identified, for unless accessibility is a built-in consideration of the design/update/maintenance process at EVERY stage of that process, true accessibility may prove extremely difficult to retrospectively achieve.  accessibility cannot be an afterthought or "back-burner" issue - it must be addressed and considered at every step of the developmental/maintenance cycle.

i did not state my case so forcefully as a personal rebuke to anyone who labors to provide one of the most useful resources on the web -- alid markup, after all, is the first step towards accessible markup --it is, rather, my intent to make as clear as possible to those who work on the validator the importance of considering accessibility at EVERY step of the process.

if the volume of my "shouting" has increased since last year, it is simply because the concerns i am seeking to have addressed/redressed are extremely important, and in some cases, essential -- otherwise, use of the validator by disabled individuals constitutes unequal access, something which the WAI was established to erradicate -- that unequal access persists in W3C web space IS an insult, and no amount of shouting or whispering can change that fact...

ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's 
own opinion.                -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devils' Dictionary_
               Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
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Received on Thursday, 6 June 2002 22:36:24 UTC

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