I mentioned alt text in the report about WCAG 2. There are two new articles about alt text and the whether it should be required or not coming from the group working on HTML 5. See HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools by Gez Lemon and HTML5 and alt: The Editors New Clothes by Steve Faulkner.
The HTML WG folks are talking about alt text, too. See alt Attributes Authoring Practices by Karl Dubost.
I like the idea of making a rule that all decorative images have to be inserted as background images using CSS. Then they won’t be in the HTML at all and the question of when to use alt text and when not to use alt text will be solved. It’s accessible, too. Maybe then Tweets like this one won’t show up in Twitter: “stefsull loves it when people think about accessibility as they build web sites. But THIS as an alt attribute? [alt="Non Descriptive Image"] C’mon.”