Saw a boost of a link that says "when you're writing image descriptions, don't include your opinions. No one wants to hear 'a selfie of an adorable person.' "

I mean, don't describe strangers in objectifying or fetishistic ways sure! But I absolutely want to hear how great your selfie is, how skillful your art is, how adorable your boyfriend or your dog is.

And I've absolutely written on pictures of Gary "his feet look so cute here, he is the best dog" and goddam if I won't do it again.

I mean yes if it's for your professional website or a school presentation maybe don't include how your dog is the best boy. But we already know how to choose appreciate registers! We all write essays differently than DMs. We're doing fine!

Sometimes, just facts are relevant ("my new haircut looks like ___" "I sewed this shirt and here are the details!"). Sometimes, it's enough to say fuck yeah I'm cute, my boyfriend's cute, my dog's cute. This is as true for alt-text as it is for regular text.

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I feel strongly about this but it doesn't make me objectively correct. The person sharing this advice that's the opposite of line prefaced it by saying they're deaf and they "work in disability access." I'm not the be-all-and-end-all, and neither are they. People can need different, even mutually-contradictory things.

But beyond that, people can /want/ or /like/ or /prefer/ different things too. We're still human, with all the varied personalities that entails, on top of our access needs.

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@error_1202 Who on earth would say that? Captioning an image is inherently an act of editorializing, there really isn’t any way around that

@pagrus A deaf person who "primarily works in disability access," apparently! Which is kind of surprising/disappointing. It's perfectly fine advice for formal registers, but to share it on Tumblr with no sense that it might be otherwise right there on Tumblr was sad.

Their "bad examples" all sound great to me: “a gorgeously realistic oil painting of a tree”, “a selfie of an adorable person with short blue hair”, “a fantastic pencil sketch of taako”.

@error_1202 That makes no sense to me. Pretending that an image has a list of objective qualities you can distill down to a universal description is misguided at best.

I like image descriptions if only because it makes me consider exactly what I want people to notice in my images, and spell it out right there

@error_1202 My coworker will 100% caption/alttag a picture of some penguins in a very serious technical training something like "These amazing penguins are really enjoying <training topic> and you should, too."

@error_1202 @Pixley Totally! Better believe that I described how great my tuxedo button up shirt is in a selfie today.

@error_1202 Related: when I like someone's selfie, but I'm struggling to say something interesting about it, I will see whether the alt text mentions something that they're proud of, like the lighting or their outfit.

@error_1202 usually I'm thinking like, huh, their nails look good, right, or is it just me? And the alt text will say "they have on new white nail polish" or something, and I feel cool for having noticed.

@a_bun Exactly! Knowing what they're focusing on or why they're sharing it can help give the viewer a richer experience too.

@error_1202 Pleased to hear your thoughts on this, seeing as I often seem to inject opinions and thoughts into my image captions. Though do let me know if I have any bad habits when I'm writing those!

@InvaderXan @error_1202 i often find opinionated alt texts helpful when they're relevant to why the image is in that post in that thread at all

sometimes trying too hard to be neutral with something like that can be positively misleading

@carcinopithecus @error_1202 I've read image descriptions of memes before which were so dry, they were practically academic texts.

@error_1202 hm, i do think subjective information is important to include in a description; if 'an adorable selfie' is part of the visual energy of the image, refusing to put that in the description is cutting out some people from experiencing that part of the image.

i can understand not including unrelated context or soapboxing because it can get distracting, it just seems more inclusive to not try to make the description wholly lacking in subjectivity. images are subjective!

@rabbithearth Exactly! Pretending that objectivity is possible, or indeed that images don't have different purposes in different contexts, was really surprising to me.

@error_1202 @rabbithearth i’ve been struggling with descriptions of art. an image of an image. but someone once told me: describe not just the image but what you are trying to say with the post.

@error_1202 I find the extra characters of an image description useful to add a bit more information about what's going on and how I feel about it, I always read image descriptions also cos some other people add interesting things, it just adds to the post!

@error_1202 The only issue I could see is if the opinionated language is used in absence of other descriptive language. As long as there are other visual descriptors to go along with opinions like “cute” and “best” it seems like the image description still fills its accessibility role and may enhance it as well. I’m not an expert either, so I may be wrong here.

On the other hand, what are you trying to convey with an image? Maybe cuteness is more important than the actual visual appearance!

@parvifolia Yeah, the intention is what I was pondering. For example, I have a long history of being completely unable to say anything positive about my appearance. So for me to describe a selfie as cute can be much more meaningful than any particular detail of my hair or clothes or whatever.

@error_1202 I always editorialize my captions tbh, I'll hide extra jokes in there and all kinds of stuff. I like to think it makes them more fun to read but it also made them more fun to WRITE, which makes me want to do them instead of seeing them as a chore

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