Today’s comic imagines a scenario where Ian “The Leviathan” Hickson, HTML5 editor, “resolves” an issue as a plumber.
I’ve used quotation marks on “resolves” because the English language lacks punctuation to indicate sarcasm. I can only imagine what such a strange mark would look like, the black sheep that was expelled from the childhood home of Exclamation Point and Question Mark after a dispute with his stern father, Period. What would life on the streets do to such a symbol?
I considered using italics, but I didn’t want to look too sassy.
The @summary attribute has been the source of no little discomfort during the gestation process of HTML5, a token of sorts that is lauded, derided, despised and fought over in what seems like an endless battle. I discuss, in my own rambling fashion, my view of the civility of the issue here, which in turn references Bruce Lawson’s post on the topic, Alternate text in HTML5. It’s been the source of no small amount of contention, which I think John Foliot describes nicely over here.
Despite this, for some reason I’d (perhaps foolishly) thought that some sort of accord had occurred with @summary, allowing it to exist in HTML5 as a non-obsolete, conforming part of the spec (albeit with a great deal of snark involved).
I’d recently learned that not only was peace not occurring, but that @summary had found itself into the middle of another fracas. It seems that in an attempt to get HTML5 to reach Last Call status on schedule, Ian is marking unresolved issues in the bug tracker as “WONTFIX”, insisting that people with problems talk to the chairs, and moving on.
One such example of this in action is available for your reading pleasure in this W3C bug report. For those of you in a hurry, I’ll sum it up: People (such as the PFWG) have issue with @summary being marked in the HTML5 validator as “obsolete but conforming” along with a warning message. Ian Hickson, man of action, disagrees with the PFWG’s opinion, won’t change the (inaccurate) flag, and has decided that the issue (among others) is resolved and simply marking it “WONTFIX.” Apparently it will keep this status, despite the large amount of opposition to this stance.
This is, as John Foliot puts it (in the same report) “An affront to the web accessibility community that existing accessibility solutions that the current editor disagrees with have the status of WONTFIX simply because the editor disagrees.”
I’m not sure, in the end, if @summary does or does not deserves the bad rap Ian’s trying to attach to it. But I do know, though, that I’m tired of seeing one “benevolent dictator” being capable of deciding the future of the open web single-handedly by sidestepping all the prior discussions and opposing views regarding HTML5 with a simple “WONTFIX” status.