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, @imagecaptionspls, 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

@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?

@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.

@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!

Judging by your mentions of the bots not turning into links, it looks like you're not federated with them, check with your admins.


@maloki @bright_helpings thanks a lot! @JohanEmpa would it be possible to federate our instance with this bot as well?

@lucik @maloki @bright_helpings
No, I'm sorry, cost too much 🙁

Some bots post a lot of images and it would fill up our S3 storage too fast.

There is no way I can afford keeping this server up and running eternally when everything keeps growing. Our dashboard show +895 % interactions and S3 grew with 147 % in a week.

@JohanEmpa @lucik Just because you federate with it doesn't mean all the bots show up on your instance though.

You can reject media and stuff in admin settings.


@maloki @lucik @bright_helpings
Right, thanks for the tip, but that takes too much time

People can create new bots and new people here can follow the bots. Then it automatically pulls everything in until I happen to see them and manually take action. Also can't they post unlisted? then I won't even see them

Bot sucks (from my point of view) because they cost money, waste my time, flood the timeline and push out human content by posting copy-pasted content that few if any people ever look at

@JohanEmpa In a meeting right now, I'll get back to you.

@JohanEmpa @maloki @bright_helpings thanks a lot for looking at this, I didn't know that it works this way and it makes sense you don't want to have these troubles :)

@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?

@welshpixie This question got asked the other day and here's the answer given by its creator then!

@bright_helpings true, and because of my ADHD, I often write posts quite impulsively, then slap myself for once again forgetting adding text.

@determinerik This is so common I think it's one of the reasons the @PleaseCaption bot exists. :)

@bright_helpings @determinerik another possibility (esp for older toots) is making a follow-up toot with a description :) i also tend to do that for external links to videos for example.

@bright_helpings I remember a woman I respect being bullied off the birdsite for not having alt-text.

I hope we can be better on Mastodon and remember that we're all just human.

I think it's easy to forget that often we are posting an image *because* we can't find the right words.

@fishidwardrobe Which doesn’t preclude describing the image so others can also understand the metaphor you’re using to convey the concept that you’re finding difficult to explain in words :)

@aral My point is, if we had the words, we might not have posted an image in the first place. Not an exuse, I admit, but certainly a reason…

@fishidwardrobe What I’m trying to say is that describing your original thought and describing the image are two different things.

@bright_helpings qlso demandind big descriptions when a simple one some people put does the work...

@bright_helpings but also cursed images are also apart of my meme tasted along with homestuck shit posts

@bright_helpings well that didn’t take long for the Twitter users to bring their toxicity to the fediverse. 🙄

@hirchofillipi It's not at all just a Twitter problem! It's a human problem. People want to do the right thing but they want that to be one simple thing that's universally applicable. What I've posted here is an attempt to recreate a pinned toot from an old account of mine from a couple years ago. So it's nothing particularly to do with Twitter.

@bright_helpings Agree. There might be, and are, indeed, people who might not be able to write an image description. Say, a blind person, without any sighted assistance for example, uploading an old photo. Yes, a stupid example, but one in which I did find myself in quite often at times. No fight and/or culture, act or law should be absolutist. And it does not hurt to say why you can't write it.

@bright_helpings I am happy to describe images now that I know how to! I think many people don’t have a clue how to do it.

@alternative_be Yes its a skill like any other, no one knows it automatically, it has to be learned. And it makes sense people are wary of getting it wrong. Especially if they feel that it's absolutely essential to do it "properly." That can add a lot of pressure.

But luckily there is lots of good advice about how to write good image descriptions out there, and hopefully seeing good examples here helps people learn too.

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