[whatwg] alt="" and the <meta name=generator> exception

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Sun Aug 5 06:01:02 PDT 2012

On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM, Michael[tm] Smith <mike at w3.org> wrote:
> Agreed. I support making having some kind of "trial period" like what you
> describe, or a year or two or 18 months. If we do that I would prefer that
> the spec include some kind of note/warning making it clear that the
> attribute is experimental and may be dropped or changed significantly
> within the next two years based on analysis we get back during that time.

There's a non-trivial set of validator users who get very upset if the
validator says that the document that previously produced no
validation errors now produces validation errors--even if the new
errors result from a bug fix. In my experience, handing out badges
makes people more upset if the criteria behind the badge changes, but
even without badges, it seems to me that the sentiment is there.

Therefore, if you tell people that if they use a particular syntax
their document might become invalid in the future, chances are that
they will steer clear of the syntax when an easier alternative is
available--just writing alt="". So adding a warning that the syntax is
experimental is an almost certain way to affect the outcome of the
experiment. On the other hand, not warning people and then changing
what's valid is likely to make people unhappy.

It seems to me that running an experiment like this will either result
in a failed experiment, unhappy people or both.

If an experiment on this topic was to be run, what would you measure
how would you interpret the measurements?

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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