- Minutes -

Accessibility Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) Teleconference

31 Jul 2020


Shawn announced updates to the Code of Ethics and the commitment to a positive work environment at W3C and pointed the group to the revised version now posted: Positive Work Environment at W3C: Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Next item was to hear background of the consideration to review gender presentation within the WAI Style Guide as it is used when creating user personas. The group reviewed the Style Guide proposed wording and modified it during the discussion. There has been discussion in the Inclusion and Diversity Community Group (IDCG) and the W3C Chairs list (member link), and we are bringing it to this EO. A suggestion is to neutralize the names and refer to personas by their job function or use "they" as the pronoun. In consideration of broadest diversity, the group chose not to impose one neutral pronoun - they - but rather to model a world where preferences are respected, including those who choose specific gender labels for themselves. The style guide will reflect this. Next, chairs introduced two new surveys: COGA "Content Usable" doc review COGA survey and WCAG Video survey. Both are long but the instructions are meant to help facilitate quick movement through the reviews. EOWG agreed to close surveys on Tue 11 August for COGA and Tue 18 for WCAG Video. A brief discussion of the impact of virtual conferences and more online meetings to our work. Several noted that with people being at home and work loads often reduced, there is more opportunity despite the tendency of "online burnout." We wrapped with a reminder to stay up with Work for this Week and wishes for a restful weekend for all.



Laura, Sharron, Estella, Daniel, Shawn, Shadi, Sylvie, Brent, Howard, Kris Anne
Vicki, Mark, Andrew, (Kevin), (Hidde)


W3C Code of Conduct

Brent: Published in July.

<brentb> https://www.w3.org/Consortium/cepc/

Shawn: It has been in place for a while and recently revised. This group has not had problems in this area, just want to be sure all are aware.

Brent: Any questions or comments?

Pronouns in WAI Style Guide

Brent: Conversations [in the Inclusion and Diversity Community Group (IDCG) and] on the chairs list to consider pronoun use, Shawn will walk us through.

Shawn: People have looked at the pronoun use at W3C and one suggestion is to change personal pronouns to "they." As we review documents, we want to be sure we have range of gender and ethnicity. After consideration of options, a proposal is that we continue to use she and he because they are easier to use and understand -- including for people for whom English if not their native language, and people with disabilities that make it harder to process language. It may still be an open issue at the W3C and wanted to get input from this group.

Laura: On my team at work, we have a transgender woman who we have worked with as a man for 10 years, and wants to be referred to as "she". We also have a non-binary person who chose 'they' as a pronoun. That person is relatively new.

Sharron:Yes, I have a transgender acquaintance who went through a lot of soul searching, effort, and expense. She says she's earned the right to be she.

Daniel: Sometimes it may not be clear whether female or male, so I have a slight preference for they but plural use for a singular case can be confusing.

Howard: It is confusing. I heard a linguist speaking about this. It is evolving, it is likely to change over time. In the meantime, we should not discourage people from being able to use it if they wish and can leave it open to personal preference.

Shawn: These days it would be accepted if we chose to do that, in terms of grammatical correctness. It still does sound a bit strange to both native and nonnative speakers. What is your perspective on changing all the persona pronouns to they.

Howard: No that's going too far, we are used to hearing certain conventions and they do not evolve overnight.

Shawn: What about changing one or a few of them to they?

Howard: I would support that.

<brentb> +1 to Howard. Nicely said.

Estella: As a non native English speaker, I would support Howard. I support the idea of being open to it, but in use cases that we have, how would we present our examples with no gender at all? In conversation it is easier to handle. In a written document it is more problematic.

<dmontalvo> +1 to Howard too, no need for me to say anything else

<shawn> https://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Style#Personas_and_use_cases

Shawn: The proposal is linked here. What are your thoughts?

Shadi: I think it is fine, may want to make it even broader to try to include names that are different genders, and use the less common one. ... Just to be clear that we intend to mix it up.

Shawn: As a female who grew up with a name that is often male, I suggest we not do that - give a male name to a female persona etc, we would create a distraction.

Shadi: Meaning just to allow that, to broaden the definition to be able to be as diverse as possible, including they etc

<shadi> [[When several personas, consider using diverse pronouns combinations including using the pronoun "they".]]

Sharron:Changing all pronouns to "they" is disrespecting to people who identify as male or female.

Laura: hard to refer to colleague as they and especially when it is possessive. I start the say "theys" instead of "their." I know I will get used it in time but for now it is a cognitive load for sure.

Howard: So in the style guide should we give ourselves permission to use they as a personal pronoun but not require it. And then suggest that if there are several personas, consider using they as one or a few of them.

<shadi> +1 to Howard

Shawn: While Laura was speaking about her colleague, she had trouble using 'they' in a grammatically. So while we don't want to change them all to 'they' for both personal preference and ease of understanding, we are open to creating personas that do use they.
... I have updated the style guide, how is this?

Sharron:We may also want to recommend that in cases where we use "they" we make clear that it is the pronoun choice of the use case persona, not that we have just arbitrarily assigned it.

Brent: It will be interesting to see how the language evolves, including in languages that use gender for objects as well.
... should we add the purpose for this consideration is to support diversity and inclusion.

<shadi> +1 to Sharron

<Howard> +1 to Sharron

<eoncins> +1 to Sharron and They in Spanish does not work because it is also gender specific "ellos/ellas"

Sharron: Trying to use only gender neutral pronouns tends to allow people to fall back into the default assumption that programmers and engineers are male. Calling our some of those professions as female is proactively supporting diversity.

Laura: I agree, you can't go to everything being they. But I do like the option to have a persona that explicitly chooses they as their pronoun.

Brent: Sharron you just said that if you use a they in the persona profile, you will call out that the person is non gender specific. Should that go in the style guide that if you use they you put it in context.

<eoncins> https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/12/15/guide-how-gender-neutral-language-is-developing-around-world/

Estella: It may be useful to use they in the English context, it will not work in Spanish, since they is also gender specific. So to adapt it for translation, it needs further discussion.
... there are also cultural considerations.

<shawn> https://www.w3.org/WAI/translations/#es

<shawn> chose -- Traductor/a .... Colaborador/a

Shawn: This came up with our Spanish translations, for example, in listing collaborators and translators.

Shadi: I like the rewrite, but the number one jumps out.

Shawn: I appreciate the openness and respectful attitude of this group. Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.
... please review the rewrite and see if it is OK for this group and then we will submit as well to the larger group for final acceptance in the style guide.

Sylvie: I don't understand the word nonbinary.

Shawn: Revised again, is this better? non-binary gender?

<shawn> To support inclusiveness:

<shawn> * For persona names, include different ethnicities and genders.

<shawn> * Avoid stereotypes (e.g., all coders and managers are male).

<shawn> * For persona pronouns, it's OK to use "she, he, her, his, they". For most personas, use gender-specific pronouns, because that is easier to understand for most people, it is easier grammatically, and acceptable because many individuals prefer to be referred to with gender pronouns. When there are several personas, consider including personas who are non-binary gender and use the pronoun "they".

<Howard> +1

<eoncins> +1

<Laura> +1

<brentb> +1

<shadi> +1

Shawn: OK to go to the larger group for approval?

Daniel: Suggest "for most personas use gender specific pronouns." Start a new sentence for the rationale

Shawn: OK, made that change

Sharron: +1

<eoncins> `1

<shawn> edited to : "For persona pronouns, it's OK to use "she, he, her, his, they". For most personas, use gender-specific pronouns. Rationale: It is easier to understand, it is easier grammatically, and it respects people who prefer to be referred to with gender pronouns. When there are several personas, consider including personas who are non-binary gender and use the pronoun "they".

<eoncins> +1

<Laura> +1

<Howard> +1

<dmontalvo> +1 to current proposal

<shadi> +1

<brentb> +1

Estella: Is there a point about plain language to make here? If so we can add easy to read.

Shawn: Since it's for another section of the Style Guide, please put in email and thanks all for the good input.

COGA working draft request for review

Brent: We thought it would be most useful to have a survey to gather our comments and compile them to send to COGA as a set of recommendations rather than a bunch of individual comments.
... Vicki has agreed to do the organization. Here is the document for review and a link to the survey.
... Trying to walk you through how to review this very long document and provide a framework to comment.
... Survey will close on Aug 11, Vicki will compile and we will bring the final recommendations to the full group for review before submitting to the COGA TF.

Shawn: Read the intro please and let me know if it is clear. Generally if EO does other group document review, we want to be clear that our focus is the readability and approach of the overall document, not the full content.
... need to communicate that we are not asking for careful reading of the full content.

Brent: OK to close on Aug 11?

<Laura> +1

<Howard> +1

<eoncins> +1

<dmontalvo> +1 to the proposed date

<shadi> +1

<brentb> +1

Brent: Any other considerations or comments?

Videos for Guidelines and SCs

Brent: Shadi has put together a requirements statement and table of potential videos. Shadi will explain the purpose.

Shadi: This survey looks more scary than it is, it has about 100 questions but they are quick to answer and should be easier than it looks.
... we decided to take a fine tooth comb to determine if the SC would be easier to understand with a video support - or not.
... these should be very quick to determine

<brentb> Video Survey: https://www.w3.org/2002/09/webs/35532//

Estella: Should we take into consideration any particular type of user for these videos? Who is the audience?

Shadi: The use case is described in the requirements analysis.

<shadi> https://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Video-Based_Resources#Deliverable_2_.28Jun_2020.29:_WCAG_2.1_Guidelines_and_Success_Criteria

Shadi: People who are trying to understand and apply the guidelines, helping to explain in a short direct way.

Laura: I like the way this is written and even though there are quite a few, it seems manageable and the instructions are helpful.

Brent: I completely agree and maybe the instruction can be brought out more prominently and a reminder that you can save and come back to the survey.

<shawn> Brent: Needed to prioritize COGA survey because of deadline. And also eager for video....

Brent: This one will be open for an additional week - closing on the 18th. The COGA one has priority since the results have to be compiled into one set of EO recommendations. Any questions or comments about that?

Shadi: It will be really great that if you feel that you won't complete it in time, let the editor know in advance.
... that is my request in order to plan effectively.

Education and outreach online

Shawn: We have heard people talking about having conference call fatigue in general and how that might apply to our work. We have more opportunities to participate in remote conferences and are considering all those options and what should be EO approach?

Laura: I think we all have online fatigue and yet having this situation can be a real opportunity to reach people that we can't otherwise reach. This year was supposed to be the 20th annual Book Festival. It is now moved all online. Rather than the 200,000 who show up in person, there will be exponentially more people there and the challenge will be how to not crash the systems.
... the work we are doing at EO is so good these days I think we have the potential to reach many more with our work.

Estella: We have a conference in November and a few others coming up. The online option was originally seen as problematic but now we have the opportunity to make it more immediately useful and to record the presentations and further disseminate them. We have come to realize it is a great opportunity.

Shawn: Do people have to pay for access to the materials?

Estella: The interactive content will be available only to the registered attendees. But as it is archived, we will make it more widely available.


Brent: Thanks for you participation and good feedback, keep up with Work for this Week and the surveys. Have a great weekend

Summary of Action Items

Summary of Resolutions

[End of minutes]

Minutes manually created (not a transcript), formatted by David Booth's scribe.perl version (CVS log)
$Date: 2020/08/05 22:41:10 $