Re: Admin's Notes Re List Conduct, Please Read #adminnotice

Orlando Enrique Fiol

At 12:55 PM 1/4/2021, Brian Vogel wrote:
I will say that the reason you've likely never encountered any
exchanges about web searches and skills on most blind-centric lists is
precisely because the culture on many of these lists treats them as
simple Q&A with no expectation of prior effort. And I can say that
having been on them for years now, myself. There is a pernicious
attitude that if I want to ask, I ask, and that if anyone gives grief
about that the grief-giver is "the bad guy." Sorry, but no.
It is long past time that these groups not be treated that way, and
the only way that will change is if enough of the membership who knows
that doing so is irritating and counterproductive starts expressing
that and pushing back. I certainly haven't had any success on that
front as a virtual lone voice in the wilderness. In fact, most times
I get the, "But not everyone knows how!," tossed out as though I don't
know this. I do know this, and I was once in the "doesn't know how,"
camp. We all were, about virtually anything we may be anywhere from
just OK to wildly proficient in doing. You don't get there by not
doing it and you certainly won't get there if there is a significant
contingent that won't insist you do so, and engage in the admittedly
harder work in the short term of helping you to establish those skills.

We've all heard the possibly apocryphal Chinese adage, "Give a man fish and feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and feed him for life."
In many of these "pushback" exchanges, the pusher isn't teaching this person how to fish at all; they're just scolding them and sending them away for being piss-poor fishermen. For the most part, most blind people understand how painful it is to be dependent, especially if they've lost their sight later in life and were fiercely independent while sighted. They feel awful about having to ask simple questions or forgetting information they got before. I always help these folks, many of whom are elderly and will never become as computer-fluent as many of us are. If I know the answer to their question and can write it succinctly, it takes less time than admonishing them about not previously searching online for answers.
Many of our list members are relatively recent computer owners/users, taught an inferior step-by-step by rehab agencies who don't rehabilitate anyone from anything. Their entire world is now a scary place, where they cannot trust their remaining senses and where danger lurks on every corner. They read about online identity theft and viruses, about novice users turning their boxes into bricks, and become hyper-cautious about pressing even one key that hasn't been preapproved in someone's step-by-step instructions.
These lists are not the places to fault these people for losing their sight or for being incorrectly taught by the only agencies available to them. Just once, rather than embarking on one of these interminable threads admonishing people for allegedly not conducting online searches before asking questions, (something impossible to prove anyway), I'd like to see someone post a compassionate response:
"Don't feel bad, but your question is pretty basic and has been answered here and online. How long have you used computers? Can you do X, Y and Z? Have you ever tried to search online? Which browser and screen reader do you use? Can you navigate between search results and activate them? If you want to copy some text from what you read online, can you do that and paste it into a document? Do you have trouble understanding what's being described online (I.E., icons, sliders, dragable elements, animations, etc.)? If so, tell me which issues you're facing and I'll help you."
That's the kid of step-by-step that these folks need: how to navigate search results in a web browser, how to find actual responses on web forums amidst all the posting headers and
shameless ads, how to copy/paste text from the web into documents, how to explore top-level menu bars and ribbon controls, how to listen for keyboard mnemonics, how to configure screen readers to report keyboard mnemonics, etc.
None of us learned to fish by being mocked when we couldn't even hook a line or cast a pole. Yet, because it makes us feel self-righteous and important, especially in a world that so frequently tears us down with impunity, we visit the same suffering upon these hapless souls whose only "infractions" are being blind and knowing next to nothing about modern technologies.
In case some of you think I may preach more than I practice, ask around how many people I've emailed privately to help with their problems, how many times I've talked with them by phone and tandemed into their computers to do hours of configurations that would ultimately facilitate their lives. Ask how many people have gotten detailed explanations from me about Windows controls, settings, web browsers, audio applications, word processors, even registry and group policy settings.


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