[Irl-dean] Warnings regarding Joe Clarke's Article : "He who shouts loudest....."

Sorcha Moore sorcha at segala.com
Thu Jun 1 14:23:34 IST 2006

Firstly, I have to apologize - most of you are probably now sick of
hearing about Joe Clarke and his article.  In spite of this, even if you
have no interest in the matter, I urge you to give the following points
at least a quick scan-over.  You don't have to read the whole email to
get the point, just the top-half.  A further explanation can be found
below (if you have the interest/time).  

To understand the point of view from which this article is written,
please take the time to read the following: 
 “The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is the worst
committee, group, company, or organization I’ve ever worked with.
Several of my friends and I were variously ignored; threatened with
ejection from the group or actually ejected; and actively harassed...”
And he finishes to announce “…the WCAG Samurai” which is made up of “my
friends and I” who are going to “fix” the guidelines as they are not too
broken to fix.
“Of course we aren’t going to infringe anybody’s copyright, but another
thing we’re not going to do is run a totally open process. ...
Membership in WCAG Samurai, ... will be by invitation only. If we want
you, you’ll hear from us..”

He gives wildly sweeping subjective, exaggerating statements and
contradictions without any substance, evidence or examples (I haven’t
provided examples of these here, or this would turn into a book, but if
anyone is interested, email me and I have them ready).
His criticisms include more about the following than text that is
written in the document;
•	the Working Group and it’s members
•	the Group’s processes
•	how big the document looks when printed out (even though he
talks about one document which is not a part of WCAG 2.0).

I went through his article and out of a total of 76 statements many of
which are repeated in different ways throughout the article. He makes
only 16 some-what specific points referencing what is actually in the
documents themselves.  The rest are general statements.  As far as I can
tell (I hold my hands up and say I could be wrong as I have yet to
compare my findings with others’) 

**only 9 points, reference statements from the WCAG 2.0 document**.

Here is just a sample of what he actually talks about in the 4646 word
article (15-16 pages when printed in Times 12 font), from which I found
76 statements:  24 statements are about the way the documents say what
they say, 6 are about the group’s processes, 10 are about the group in
general and an individual on it, 12 are general statements (with no
referencing to back them up)... and so on...

********If you don't have the time, you can stop here as I have made my
main point above.***************

The IRL-DeAN list, as I understand it, is not solely focused on people
with an interest in web accessibility.  I will make the assumption that
not all members have had the opportunity/time/interest to read Joe
Clarkes article or to read WCAG 2.0.   I do not think I would be wrong
by also assuming that the opinions expressed by professionals and
specialists from the field in this forum have an effect on the general
view of readers who may not be as informed about the issues in question.
Thus you might say, in some cases, that because of this people regarded
as specialists/experts should be responsible for the opinions they
express on the list.

I am a (relatively recent) member of the WCAG-WG, but this does not
automatically mean that I must defend the output of the group or the
group in general or that I agree with the output of the group or with
the group itself. I am not speaking on behalf of the group.  I am
speaking as an individual who has read WCAG 2.0 and Joe Clarke's

It has been commented that the idea of getting Joe Clarke to come and
speak at an IRL-DeAN event was intended as a joke, but the fact that an
email was sent, which sounded like a decision had been made on the
matter shows that something went wrong with our group "process" in this
case.  We should really learn from that.  (Apologies, if I sound
'preachy' - that is not my intention.  I just feel very strongly about
the issue).

Why would you get a person who wrote a criticism about WCAG 2 to speak
at IRL-DeAN?
Joe Clarke has already made his <strong>feelings<strong> on WCAG 2.0
very clear.  What could possibility be gained by asking him to come
speak about WCAG 2.  If it is a critical understanding of WCAG 2.0 you
are certainly not going to get that.

Surely, the intelligent people on this list will not have made that
decision by reading Joe Clarkes article alone rather than by reading
WCAG 2.0 and then comparing it with WCAG 2.0?

Joe Clarkes article and the response to it that I have seen in the past
week is another example of the age old adage "He who shouts

I agree with Joshue, as a community, we can help each other understand
the guidelines.  

Sorry for the long email.  I am not usually an advocate of this sort of
thing but in this case I made an exception.  I will be going further
into Joe's criticisms.  If anyone has any further interest, email me at
the above address.

Sorcha Moore

Web Accessibility Auditor



Phone +353 (1) 2931966



Gold Sponsor of Internet World 2006 - www.internetworld.co.uk

Bronze Sponsor of WWW2006 Conference - www.www2006.org

-----Original Message-----
From: irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie
[mailto:irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie] On Behalf Of Joshue O Connor
Sent: 30 May 2006 15:37
To: irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
Subject: Re: [Irl-dean] september seminar

Hi Hugh,

> A talk on WCAG 2.0 appears to be the preferred option, so I'll look
into a talk followed by a discussion. I'll organise details, and send
information around. 

That would be great. We all need to get your heads together to discuss
the pro's and con's of WCAG 2 and what whole thing means in practical


Hugh O'Neill wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> A talk on WCAG 2.0 appears to be the preferred option, so I'll look
into a talk followed by a discussion. I'll organise details, and send
information around. 
> The idea of getting Joe Clark is a good one, but for a one day seminar
it wouldn't be worth the expense. 
> That said, what do people think of the idea of Irl-Dean organising an
accessibility conference for next year, and inviting Joe Clark (and / or
other big names) to speak at it? 
> All comments and suggestions are welcome. 
> All the best, 
> Hugh O'Neill
> Project Co-ordinator,
> Central Remedial Clinic.
> ph: +353 1 8057587
> email:honeill at crc.ie
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