I'm seeing a lot of proclamations that there should be no exceptions to describing your images or that there's no reason to interact with any that aren't described.

I know these mean well, but they are themselves ableist.

Disabled people know that access needs can clash. I benefit from described images, but I know some people struggle to write them because of their own disabilities.

And that's okay! The culture of image descriptions is great here but it should never be absolutist.

I challenged someone on their hardline stance on this once, and it blew up into a tiny fedi drama, with the nice outcome of more social solutions.

That's around the time people started to CW undescribed images.

My instance developed an emoji :help_describe: to indicate you'd like a media description added.

There's a group you can tag,, that people follow who are willing to add descriptions.

And there's @PleaseCaption to remind you if you forget.

Please describe:

* your jokes/memes - it's no good saying "this is just silly, you're not missing anything"; let us be the judge of that! Also, being disabled isn't about being dull and worthy all the time.

* your artwork - I'm so sad when I see cool art I can't boost (and sometimes can't even discern :) )

* your gifs and videos - description isn't just for still images!

* your audio clips - yep, these can be described too!

@bright_helpings *Especially* when your joke is really dumb and simple, just write the punch line. That way people who can't see the image get the joke, and people who don't get the joke *also* get the joke

@rockario Yeah another thing image descriptions are really good for is explaining jokes that depend on particular cultural references, because not everyone will understand those. Since I don't watch much TV or live in the U.S., I've learned where lots of meme templates come from thanks to image descriptions. :)

@bright_helpings @rockario Same here! But when it comes to describing an image that's not mine or a meme that I don't know the providence of, I have to try and figure out what to search to find out where it's from 🤣

@bright_helpings @rockario I (sighted) often benefit from that when I don't get the joke.

@rockario @bright_helpings And if you don't want to spoil the punchline, put it under a CW in a reply

@rockario @bright_helpings Yeah, I most often want an image description so I understand the joke.

@bright_helpings They also have added benefit for sighted folks as well, as they can serve to explain something that might not even be obvious at tenth glance, let alone first. :blobdizzy:

@bright_helpings I really relish describing audio, it's a fun challenge to get across the feeling of a melody or tone of voice.


about “describing your images”:
In the ActivityPub forum, there is also a thread about writing a formal Fediverse Enhancement Proposal.
This goes then to all the implementors, developers, writers of ActivityPub software.

weex started it there and said:
“When media such as images and video are uploaded and shared without captions, it excludes the visually impaired from knowing what the content is.

To address this, some user interfaces highlight such media so that people can be more easily made aware of this deficiency in what they may share. People can then reply to ask for a captioned repost, or decide whether they want to share or otherwise engage with such content.”

I have added this thread there too, the Link is

/ @aral

@sl007 @bright_helpings @aral When I upload pictures I add descriptions. However I am not sure whether I do things right, because I fall to notice the descriptions after uploading them.

@alternative_be I can’t see them on your photos. Which interface are you using to post? Web? App?

Ugh. Seriously? Another reason to use a 3rd party app. They do show up in FediLab. In fact, there are settings to control the behavior (whether they pop up as an overlay and for how long).

Which is useful, as some of us add some bonus content in those descriptions (attributions, details about what's shown, etc).
@alternative_be @aral

@TerryHancock @vfrmedia @aral That’s true. And a bit inconvenient. However alt texts I wrote for pics do show up on the 🐦site. So it must be #Mastodon related.

Well, if I understood the comment, it's the mobile client being used. I use FediLab on my phone, so I see them.

Also, thd "official" client is pretty new, and I just noticed this thread was from May. So it may be better now?

I still get the impression that FediLab, Tusky, etc are better mobile clients, though. The official client seems to be missing several features. (So far?)
@vfrmedia @aral

@vfrmedia @TerryHancock @alternative_be @aral I stumbled upon a workaround (as I was frustrated that the web site didn't display the descriptions):

In Chrome on Android, if you long-press the image, a context menu appears (as expected), but at the top of that is the description text. Tap the text to expand it if it's truncated.

@TerryHancock @vfrmedia @aral Though I translated Tusky to Dutch in 2018, I can’t use it myself, because I am on iOS. Is Fedilab available for iOS?

@alternative_be @sl007 @bright_helpings @aral I think there's a bug. I enter alt text, save etc, only to have it not be visible after I have posted the image.

@alternative_be @aral @bright_helpings @sl007 Good to know. For some reason I can't see any of my alt text on my phone.

@ZAGrrl If you're using the "official" app, it doesn't display the image descriptions at all. This is one of many important features it lacks. Tusky for Android and Metatext or Toot! for iOS are much better. :)

@bright_helpings I’ve been thinking about how I should best be describing something like my cat photos here, especially since the software is good about encouraging doing so.

@michaell @bright_helpings First describe the subject then the context, then the action: "a fluffy tabby cat curled up in their bed, stretching their paw out from the side weirdly while sleeping." (This is just a random example not a real picture description)

@bright_helpings If I may ask: if the image contains only text (as scan or screenshot) that can easily read by a text finder software (Google lense fi), can a screenreaders do it, too, or do I have to add the whole text in the description?
And I would add that classic emoticons, #wordle scores (use instead) or other text base arts may be difficult to read by screenreaders, too (FFF did such in their toots often here on the fedi, sadly).

@blueplanetslittlehelper it's best practice to add the text in an image to the description.

And yes anything more than a couple emojis is unfriendly to screenreaders. The best thing to do here on the fediverse is put emoji-heavy posts behind a CW.

At least in the desktop Mastodon browser interface on mastodon . art, there is an OCR option to automatically caption such text images. IDK if that's standard or an add-on.

@bright_helpings Hi ! When I post insect pictures I rarely describe what they look like if I tell what species it is. Would it be better to say species + a short visual description, or is it more practical to just get a "normalized" description from elsewhere for you, since you have the precise name ?

@bright_helpings I hope you don't mind me asking. I would be glad to make my insect stuff more accessible to blind people. Thanks in advance if you want to answer, and thank already for what you posted earlier !

@StrepsipZerg Not a problem, I'm happy to answer questions from people who want to make things better! Thanks for asking.

@bright_helpings thanks again :)
If you ever have questions about insects I'd be glad to return the help 😁

@StrepsipZerg fabulous! I know next to nothing about insects so that sounds very useful. :)

@StrepsipZerg I think it would be better to give a short visual description, yeah. You're right that I could look it up, but reakiatically I'm not gonna. :) It's nice to have the info right there.

@bright_helpings .hg writing the description is a good thing to do instead of telling the poster that they should have

if they can, then it's a reminder that they should, and if they can't, then you're just helping them out. and, importantly, /you/ are not the one deciding for them whether they can.

@bright_helpings I have a question, that I've struggled with. I post stream archives of video gameplay on YouTube, and I kind of assume... people who are blind wouldn't really get much out of my videos, since they'd only hear me talking with no gameplay context.

So when I post about new videos here, with a thumbnail image of the video, I usually don't put any major details in the description; if I did thoroughly describe every one, twice a week, it would be a lot of extra work for no real benefit.

But I'm not trying to be ablelist or say like "I don't want blind people to listen to my videos", it's just... I assume they wouldn't want to?

Am I being weird about it or is this probably not a big deal; I do describe any other images that are just about regular posts/memes/jokes etc. Just never bother with the thumbnails.

Disability is not the only good reason to not describe a picture and that is very important to keep in mind!

An example:

Describing myself in my selfies is a big nope. I won't do it for multiple personal reason and will block any creep doing so in the replies. This is just weirding the fuck out of me and so it won't happen. I tried to do so but my comfort comes first in this case.

By describing a picture it also makes it way easier for bots and such to scrape and sort them. This is also something to take into account!

Worst case scenario: some people won't have missed a great lot in my case.

Also remember you can always ask for a description in private. As said above there might be multiple reasons to not have described a picture.

@bright_helpings I used to be really bad for this - only describing “essential” things - but since I’ve come over here I’ve been able to see how others do it and really enjoy describing random silly photos of my cat

@agenderagenda I'm really glad to hear that! There's such a nice culture around not just the existence but the qualities of descriptions here.

@bright_helpings yes, I found that really helpful/motivating to do them - the sense that I might actually be giving someone something fun and nice. helps me get over the little executive function challenge hill to get it done.

Image descriptions as a creative endeavour 

@agenderagenda @bright_helpings

Honestly, I'm not even visually impaired, and I'm finding that images without descriptions now just seem to lack panache.

You know how “a picture says 1000 words”? Well that's too many. Edit! You *do* have time to write a shorter letter.

@bright_helpings @imagecaptionspls thanks a lot for this! How does the @PleaseCaption bot work? I'm not very familiar with the fediverse yet

@lucik says

"🔔 To get started:

1. Follow me and I'll start to follow you back
2. Every time you forget to add a text description to an image I will send you a reminder.

Don't want reminders anymore? Unfollow me!"

@bright_helpings I can't seem to follow it 🤔 I get an error saying "The remote-account couldn't be loaded" (roughly translated from German)
I'll investigate! Thanks for recommending the bot and for the toots about captions in any case 😊

@lucik I'm not anything to do with it, so I have no idea I'm afraid. :) Sorry it isn't working for you, I hope it's still working okay and you manage to figure it out!

@bright_helpings that's a great emoji! Could we add it to our instance if yes, who should we credit, and is it under any kind of licence?

@ikol thanks for asking! @t54r4n1 made it so questions should probably be directed at them, i don't know how emoji works here :)

@bright_helpings @ikol sure, you are free to add it and if you want to credit me that would be rad! but also generally people nab emojos and credit is not expected. they are made to be shared!

@bright_helpings Are other instances free to use this emjoi, and if so, what are the terms, who can I credit and would they like credit on the .art website aside from just in a toot?

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