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

Orlando Enrique Fiol

At 11:13 PM 1/4/2021, Brian Vogel wrote:
Yes, it's slower and more arduous for blind individuals to deal with
many text based things. That is not, nor should ever be, considered
an excuse not to do so. And what you're offering is, indeed, an excuse.
Hardly, given my 23 years of largely self-taught computer education. Were I interested in excuses, I would have used them to get myself out of doing anything and everything uncomfortable or challenging. My trajectory speaks for itself in terms of excuse dismissal. Understanding people's reluctance to engage in certain tasks does not in any way exonerate them from having to do those tasks; it simply helps us understand where they are in order to give them the right kinds of motivations and tools to overcome their fears, trepidations, hesitations, past experiences, etc.

No one is simply allowed to say, "It's too hard, so someone else
should be expected to do the heavy lifting for me." That happens,
far too often, and I make no apology for saying so.
I'm the first to agree with you on that and many other scores. Refusing to do something because it's too hard is predicated on the false premise that humans are only designed to do what comes easily. Anyone who ponders how far we as a species have developed from our savage beginnings knows that enough of us have not shed away from what is difficult. However, the ability to overcome difficulties cannot be willed away by decreed fiat; a panoply of circumstances are involved. I like to think of them in terms of the basic book report questions we learned as children: who, what, when and how.
Who resistance usually involves low self-esteem stemming from family disfunction, trauma and long-term abuse. People with "who problems" fundamentally think they're unworthy or incapable of anything joyful or fulfilling because they've always been told they're no good and worthy of no joy. Therefore, helping someone with such problems involves refuting their ingrained beliefs and replacing them with other cognitive premises, E.G., creating inferior people is not in our Creator's best interests, nor does it glorify His work.
People with 'what" problems are often plagued by indecision between multiple options and usually talk themselves out of each one. They constantly fear making wrong decisions or taking wrong courses, worrying that their lives will be irrevocably set adrift. This again stems from disfunctional familial and social messages regarding decision-making. If someone is constantly put down for starting and not finishing things, or deciding to take up things that ultimately don't work out, their critical thinking ability is constantly called into question. These are people who fear every choice, from what to make for dinner to which option to choose in a configuration dialogue.
How people are usually unclear about how to accomplish things because no one has sat down with them and broken their desired goals down to tiny steps that they can accomplish. Such people know they should be doing X Y Z, but don't know how to start, or know only three out of ten steps. They fear feeling lost, being pressured to choose an option or demonstrate a skill when they can't yet do so. Therefore, their coping strategy is to as little as possible and expect as little as possible of themselves. This avoids situations in which they might feel lost, confused or uncertain of which path to choose.
When people never know whether now is the right time for anything. If they regret what they haven't done, now and even later are already too late. If they're contemplating doing something new, now is never the right time. They lack money, support, skills, devices, tools, etc. Helping these people involves proving to them that they can actually begin with what they have right now.
Finally, why people have trouble thinking for themselves because they've never been allowed to do so. Every facet of their lives has been prescripted and prescribed by others. They fundamentally feel they lack the authority over their own lives to make any decisions, even if they know their reasons are sound. Rather than come from inside them, every why must be externally furnished, and they wait around unable to act until others impose a why on them.
Given these archetypes, it's easy to see why so many folks on these lists post the same basic questions when they could easily find their own answers online. They fundamentally mistrust all their abilities to the point that any answers they generate are automatically incorrect. asking questions and interacting with list members is their reassurance that the prescribed steps are legitimate.
Others feel fundamentally unqualified to anything on devices other than what their instructors have taught them. If they know how to check email and surf the web, social media are out of the question. If they know how to write text documents, tables and charts intimidate them.
People constantly berated for their mistakes fear messing up and not knowing what to do next. They worry that their devices will freeze, that they'll lose speech, that online searches will infect their systems with malware and viruses, etc. Anything outside of their memorized procedures sends them into a panic. If they tab around and hear nothing, it's time to call 911. If they press a certain navigational key and nothing happens, they immediately assume they've done something wrong. They panic when they lose their places on web pages, when they can't move backwards or forwards between pages, when they get unlabeled graphics rather than useful text.
These people need to be taken to the precipices they fear most and taught that they won't die as a result. Unresponsive applications can be closed and restarted. Screen readers can be reloaded. Audio can be reinitialized. At worst, devices can be rebooted.
This is only a surface snapshot of what's involved in the seemingly simple act of posting basic questions to these lists.

Many of the questions asked here and on several other blind-centric
lists I frequent that repeat again and again and again are not, even
vaguely, in the class where anything beyond minutes of review would be
required to get an answer via a search.? I am sick to death of even
the implication that I make my frustrations plain because people are
asking questions that are of a complex nature or on features that are
seldom used or require tricky interactions.
On a group like this one, I have seen things asked that NVDA help
itself, in-program help, can answer in mere seconds if someone uses
it.? And if someone states they are a neophyte, I answer the actual
question and instruct on how to find it independently along with
related information later. These are not the people or instances
that make me want to reach out and throttle anyone. It's people who
have been around, and often posting moderately frequently, asking
simple questions that I absolutely know they have seen asked and
answered innumerable times, because I'm familiar with their names for
the duration of the time I've been participating or close to it.?
That's not OK, not with me, and never will be.
You clearly don't understand psychological paralysis. The recently sightless or overprotected blind assume that every single move forbodes danger. Every act without sighted supervision feels to them as though they're risking their very lives. One totally blind friend recently flew into a panic because she couldn't reinsert her microwave's spinning plate after washing it. I calmly told her to align it with the corresponding platen surface in the microwave, place the plate on it, push down and spin until it locked in place.
I could never tell such a person what to do if she lost audio on one of her devices, since, without audio feedback, she would be deathly afraid of making a huge mistake and ruining her device.
We take for granted a healthy attitude toward risk. We know how to get out of most situations and how not to get into the ones without escape routes. More important, we know how to forgive ourselves with good humor or sarcasm when disasters strike. I'm ashamed to admit how many times my registry experiments rendered my computers entirely unbootable, caused peripheral devices not to be recognized, caused basic programs not to load or unload correctly. Even then, I never thought my world had ended. Especially after proving to myself that I could do a clean Windows installation from absolute scratch, using nothing but Narrator, my doom and gloom drastically reduced. My option 0 is a bootable USB drive that loads Narrator and presents me with an installation screen within seconds. I usually use that flash drive for the standard salvage repairs: startup, system restore, command line, reset, etc. If none succeed, I reinstall.
I guarantee you, based on decades of conversations with hundreds of blind computer users, that most folks would throw up their hands at such times and wait for a sympathetic sightling to take their glorified brick to a charlatan ripoff artist (I mean, computer technician) who will hastily reinstall and reconfigure their device with absolutely no interest in, or regard for, their accessibility needs.
All that can be avoided.

My track record, in all respects, is abundantly clear and stands on
its own. I am happy to be taken to task for things I've actually
said, or done, or both.? I'm even OK with being taken to task when
what I have written could be construed in ways other than I'd
intended, as that's entirely my fault.
We should all aspire to such equanimity, since an intrinsic part of the communication process involves how the receiver interprets our messages. If too many receivers extract malevolence where none was intended, our delivery system is obviously faulty. On the other hand, if our receivers expose our malevolence, we need to work on our kindness modules.

One of the biggest of those, and I hasten to add that I am not
accusing you, specifically, on this one, is that I am somehow
short-tempered and unsupportive of those new to NVDA when it's clear
that this is the situation. I have not been. But I am also not
willing to presume that every new member here is a neophyte unless
they make that clear in some way. The fact is that most new members
are not, and never have been. Most joining lists like this have
years of screen reader and general computer use experience, and I will
always? presume that anyone coming in here is way more likely to know
the basics of a screen reader (not necessarily NVDA), how to use
email, how to browse the web, and how to perform a web search.? This
being 2021, and my having senior citizen clients who can handle the
basics of all of those things (both with and without vision), will
keep me convinced that this is not an unreasonable presumption.
People joining tech groups are very, very seldom "blank slates."? And
many egregious offenders with "simple questions" are those I know are
absolutely not inexperienced, and they should know better.

If you listened to lurkers more and pontificated less, you would be shocked by how little computer/screen-reader knowledge many members actually possess. I've seen posters insist that they can't invoke the JAWS option menus, exit their web browsers, open and close documents, even shut down their systems, all very basic computer skills. Some people out here don't know what every key on their keyboards does.
So, while a good bunch of us have been riding the range for decades, many have never even sat atop a stationary mechanical bull.

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