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@a.gup.pe, 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 https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/would-media-captioning-make-a-good-fep/2319

/ @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 https://wordlescore.herokuapp.com 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 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.

@StrepsipZerg @bright_helpings This is helpful for gardeners too. We can label images with species name but that’s just gardeners talking to gardeners. I’ve been trying to describe what can be seen (for everyone who needs it) while also including species name (for gardeners).

@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.

> I'm so sad when I see cool art I can't boost

You can boost it. the button is right there. Don't let such a silly quandary control your life.

@feld I'm relieved to see on your profile that your posts are mostly satire, because if I couldn't believe that this one was satire, I'd worry that you'd reacted with such an inability to identify a personal value when you saw one expressed.

I did laugh hard at this though, so thank you. I just never expected this particular reaction to my very ordinary statement.

I am 100% serious. If you spend your life under constant anxiety that you're going to upset someone you are only punishing yourself.

@feld You have drastically misunderstood me -- and not actually just me because this is a value widely held in my corner of the fediverse, so in case you encounter it again I will attempt to explain.

I don't boost undescribed images because they're not accessible. I am not anxious about upsetting anyone! This is a positive thing for me. I value accessibility, and this behavior is a natural extension from that value. I share it in my pinned toots to normalize it, help it spread.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
MSP Social.net

A community centered on the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and their surrounding region. Predominantly queer with a focus on urban and social justice issues.

<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" id="hometownlogo" x="0px" y="0px" viewBox="25 40 50 20" width="100%" height="100%"><g><path d="M55.9,53.9H35.3c-0.7,0-1.3,0.6-1.3,1.3s0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3h20.6c0.7,0,1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3S56.6,53.9,55.9,53.9z"/><path d="M55.9,58.2H35.3c-0.7,0-1.3,0.6-1.3,1.3s0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3h20.6c0.7,0,1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3S56.6,58.2,55.9,58.2z"/><path d="M55.9,62.6H35.3c-0.7,0-1.3,0.6-1.3,1.3s0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3h20.6c0.7,0,1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3S56.6,62.6,55.9,62.6z"/><path d="M64.8,53.9c-0.7,0-1.3,0.6-1.3,1.3v8.8c0,0.7,0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3s1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3v-8.8C66,54.4,65.4,53.9,64.8,53.9z"/><path d="M60.4,53.9c-0.7,0-1.3,0.6-1.3,1.3v8.8c0,0.7,0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3s1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3v-8.8C61.6,54.4,61.1,53.9,60.4,53.9z"/><path d="M63.7,48.3c1.3-0.7,2-2.5,2-5.6c0-3.6-0.9-7.8-3.3-7.8s-3.3,4.2-3.3,7.8c0,3.1,0.7,4.9,2,5.6v2.4c0,0.7,0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3 s1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3V48.3z M62.4,37.8c0.4,0.8,0.8,2.5,0.8,4.9c0,2.5-0.5,3.4-0.8,3.4s-0.8-0.9-0.8-3.4C61.7,40.3,62.1,38.6,62.4,37.8 z"/><path d="M57,42.7c0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2l-3.2-4.1c-0.2-0.3-0.6-0.5-1-0.5h-1.6v-1.9c0-0.7-0.6-1.3-1.3-1.3s-1.3,0.6-1.3,1.3V38 h-3.9h-1.1h-5.2c-0.4,0-0.7,0.2-1,0.5l-3.2,4.1c0,0.1-0.1,0.1-0.1,0.2c0,0-0.1,0.1-0.1,0.1C34,43,34,43.2,34,43.3v7.4 c0,0.7,0.6,1.3,1.3,1.3h5.2h7.4h8c0.7,0,1.3-0.6,1.3-1.3v-7.4c0-0.2,0-0.3-0.1-0.4C57,42.8,57,42.8,57,42.7z M41.7,49.5h-5.2v-4.9 h10.2v4.9H41.7z M48.5,42.1l-1.2-1.6h4.8l1.2,1.6H48.5z M44.1,40.5l1.2,1.6h-7.5l1.2-1.6H44.1z M49.2,44.6h5.5v4.9h-5.5V44.6z"/></g></svg>