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Re: Fixing WAI's writing styleDoes WCAG require ...

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From: Chagnon | PubCom.com
Date: Nov 30, 2015 3:31PM


Dear Chaals (or Charles),

I can't find much to agree on in your last post.
Your view of accessibility from the Moscow corporate world must be different from mine in the Federal government in Washington DC.

My firm consults with lawyers about accessibility issues...such as what's enforceable, where the standards can be enforced, etc. It's worrisome whether WCAG is able to protect the rights of disabled people here in the United States, namely because of the reasons I've already stated: lack of clarity in the standards, too many loopholes, and too much confusion about what needs to be done to meet compliance for different types of media.

Therefore, some lawyers conclude that WCAG is not enforceable in the US in its present state. That means there is a lesser chance of disabled people winning court cases or complaints against the US Federal government (and other state governments).

However, a court case against a corporate entity is different; public opinion about what's accessible comes into play there.

Plus, given your statement that WCAG is written by hundreds of worldwide volunteers, that further weakens WAI/WCAG's clout.

Although the work and expertise that the volunteers contribute is central, they are ONLY volunteers and not legal members (or "owners") of the organization itself. At some point a "real" organization must take ownership of the standards, cull through the contributions from volunteers, decide what's going to be in the standards, and publish the standards to the public.

In other words, it's the W3C/WAI that owns and is responsible for the standards...NOT the volunteers themselves.

No United States court of law will decide a case based on the opinion of volunteers from various parts of the world, no matter how well intentioned the volunteers are.

But a court can decide a case based on standards from a professional, bonafide standards organization...if the standards are presented accurately and fully (and of course, formally adopted by the government which hopefully will happen soon in the US).

That's where W3C/WAI is failing; it's not acting like a standards organization because it's not doing the entire job that's needed.

And if W3C/WAI don't have the money to hire professional editors, then they should consider holding a bake sale and getting Adobe, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, et. al to pony up a couple hundred thousand dollars for the cause...and some excellent brownies. These companies have billions stashed overseas to avoid taxes and this is one thing they could do for the public good...and probably take a tax deduction, to boot. They all donate millions to other nonprofit causes, why not to an accessibility nonprofit earmarked for editors?

I'm done on this thread and won't reply to any further posts on it. We seem to be running in circles at this point. Rather than being a discussion forum for ideas and opinions, it has turned into something much less productive and informative.

--Bevi Chagnon