[uf-new] img alt content (was:hAudio implemented on Bitmunk (with one snag))

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Tue Jul 10 13:16:09 PDT 2007

In message <C2B846A8.91BB3%tantek at cs.stanford.edu>, Tantek Çelik
<tantek at cs.stanford.edu> writes

>On 7/9/07 7:51 PM, "Manu Sporny" <msporny at digitalbazaar.com> wrote:
>> Tantek Çelik wrote:
>>> This was deliberately rejected at the creation of hCard to give publishers
>>> more control.
>>> All too often there is "garbage" (or just extra unwanted text) in alt
>>> attributes for a variety of publisher reasons.
>> Doesn't doing this go against the HTML 4.01 specification? You aren't
>> supposed to have anything in the 'alt' attribute of the image tag that
>> isn't pertinent:
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/objects.html#h-13.8
>Many publishers go against many aspects of the HTML 4.01 specification
>yes, not in the least by publishing invalid content.

Is the best way to encourage "POSH" to adhere to standards, or to pander
to those who break them?

>>> I've added this to the hCard FAQ as well:
>>> http://microformats.org/wiki/hcard-faq#Why_is_IMG_alt_not_being_picked_up
>> The above link states:
>> "In addition all too often there is "garbage" (or just extra unwanted
>> text) in alt attributes for a variety of publisher reasons, and that
>> extraneous text would pollute otherwise clean property values in
>> numerous existing sites."
>> I couldn't find a reference to the analysis that lead to this
>> conclusion?
>We didn't capture it at the time unfortunately, and we're being more
>thorough now.  We did actually try it the other way first (including
>all nested "alternative" content) and found it worked worse across a
>variety of existing real world sites, not just 1-2 examples but LOTS.

It is indeed unfortunate that such evidence hasn't been captured;
especially given your strong advocacy of evidence-based working and a
"scientific" process. Someone cynical might think it hypocritical of you
to then assert something without providing evidence for it. Perhaps it
would be a good idea if you could provide at least a minimum amount of
such evidence; preferably with URLs; per:


        Use real world examples

                People often invent completely fictitious (and
                theoretical) examples in order to try to make a point
                they are trying to make. Microformats themselves are
                based on studying real world examples and designing for
                real world examples. Thus arguments based on theoretical
                examples hold much less weight in microformats
                discussions and are apt to be ignored. Please avoid
                posting arguments / questions based solely on
                theoretical examples.

        Ask for real world examples

                If someone discusses or provides arguments based on
                theoretical examples, ask them to provide a real world
                example and point them to the above guideline.

        Use URLs to examples

                Please provide URLs to real world examples when
                possible. This helps to validate that such examples
                truly are "real world" as they are on the public Web,
                and provides additional context around the example which
                might be crucial to understanding it or answering
                questions about it.

        Ask for URLs to examples

                When people do not provide a specific URL to a test case
                or example, then especially as a developer, PLEASE ask
                them to provide a specific URL (and cite the previous
                guideline) rather than attempting to work out how an
                inline snippet of code might work.

(which I believe you wrote) to forestall such criticism?

>> What constitutes "garbage"?
>In this case things like duplicated text, text for chrome/UI etc.
>> What reasons would a publisher
>> have to do this? If they're doing this, aren't they quite blatantly
>> violating the HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 specification?
>Not necessarily.

Can you give a real world example of someone publishing such "garbage"
alt text, pertinent to microformats (and again with URLs as above),
which does not violate the HTML specs, please?

Andy Mabbett

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