Re: Farewell, NVDA community: retiring from NVDA contributions, effective September 1, 2021

Bob Cavanaugh <cavbob1993@...>

Hi Joseph,
Congrats on getting into graduate school! Knowing you as I do, it
wouldn't surprise me one bit if this isn't the last I hear of you. I
can't believe it's been almost 14 years since we first met on the
BrailleNote list. I still have that old unit which I wrote so many of
my early messages on, can't believe it'll be 15 this June!

On 5/10/21, Joseph Lee <> wrote:
I received permission from Nimer regarding the following letter:

Hello NVDA community,

First, I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

One day in early 2012, I came across a question posed on an NVDA list (it
could have been this list which was hosted on a different forum platform
then): can NVDA read Korean? That question led to an adventure that span
nine years: translations, writing documentation, founding an international
gathering of a community, releasing countless add-ons, moderating several
NVDA lists and communities, and learning to incorporate lessons I have
learned from the community in the next chapter of my life. In the midst of
contributions, I recently hinted that I plan to retire from the community,
and that golden opportunity has come:

On May 10, 2021, I was offered and accepted admission to master of arts
(graduate school) program in communication studies at California State
University, Los Angeles after graduating with highest honors (summa cum
laude) from the same university.

After observing discussions between graduate students and thinking about
balancing between graduate seminars, coaching speech and debate teams, and
NVDA code contributions, I decided that school should take highest of
highest of priorities. Graduate school is harder than undergraduate
(college) education, especially when adding responsibility of teaching and
coaching students competing in collegiate speech and debate tournaments. As
much as I love programming and contributing to NVDA community, I cannot
forget my immediate responsibilities of being a student and public speaking

Therefore, I'm retiring from NVDA community contributions, effective
September 1, 2021. This means:

* I do have work to finish which might end up in NVDA as early as
2021.2, and I plan to dedicate this summer to completing outstanding pull
* I'm handing over most of my add-ons to the NVDA add-ons community
for further maintenance. I do plan to maintain Add-on Updater and Windows
App Essentials - Add-on Updater is needed until NVDA comes with add-ons
store, and Windows 10 App Essentials is needed to respond to ever-changing
nature of Windows 10 ecosystem and to keep up with changes in NVDA
development from time to time.
* For NVDACon attendees and organizers, I will not be able to (and I
really cannot) participate in NVDACon for a while.
* For add-ons community, I will be stepping down as your chief admin
and add-on reviewer this summer (details will be sent to add-ons list).

Several thank you's:

* Mick and Jamie: for starting it all fifteen years ago - April 2006
signaled the birth of a movement, which endures today.
* NV Access staff, past and present: so many discussions, teaching me
about life, programming, and group work.
* Mesar Hameed: for teaching me about NVDA translation process and
making sure community add-ons website was ready for the world in 2013.
* Many NvDA users and enthusiasts in South Korea: for giving me an
updated picture on Korean blindness community and help formulating
strategies on translations and outreach nine years ago.
* Many translators: for helping me adjust to the NVDA community when I
was a novice translator in 2012.
* Thousands of users: for teaching me many things - forum discussions,
direct feedback, and countless other venues.
* Nimer and NVDA Users list moderators, past and present: many
collaborations and helpful advice.
* For users of my add-ons: countless feedback, megabytes of debug logs
(all were destroyed after analyses because they contain private
information), and so many other things that made add-ons useful to this
* NVDA supporters outside this forum: for your continued enthusiasm
and support.
* Microsoft engineers and fellow Windows Insiders: many opportunities
to connect and learn from.
* Folks from Mozilla, Google, and other organizations: for meeting new
friends and colleagues.

One advice for future NVDA contributors: listen a lot. You can't write
effective add-ons and NVDA pull requests without listening to what others
have to say. Before writing Python, sit down and have a conversation with
users. Collaboration is the key, especially when talking to people online.

Although I'm retiring as a code contributor, I look forward to helping the
NVDA community in other ways. Until then, graduate school is calling me -
feel free to reach out if you seek advice on accessibility advocacy,
programming in general, public speaking, and what not.

Before I close, I would like to take this time to invite resident high
school and college students to invest in public speaking, or if you want,
compete in speech and debate tournaments. You can't just sit and ask others
to advocate for you - you must do it yourself at some point in your life.
One way to do so is learning public speaking and debate skills, and one
venue is through competing in high school or college speech and debate
tournaments. What strengthened my own advocacy skills was competing in
speech tournaments, which also provided opportunities to tell the world
about NVDA project - I even talked about NVDA and accessibility advocacy at
a national speech tournament.

Advocacy will be important, especially as the world moves onto digital ways
to accomplish more tasks: virtual reality, artificial intelligence,
biometrics, web-based workplace, and telehealth. As high school and college
students, you are in a place to inform and persuade people about baking
accessibility into products. Right now, there aren't many blind students
competing in high school or college speech and debate tournaments, and I
want to sincerely ask you to change the big picture. I'm willing to coach
public speaking events (see the message header for contact email); this
speech coaching offer from a nationally recognized former speech competitor
and now an apprentice coach extends to any blind high school or college
student (not only on NVDA Users list, but also in other communities).

Farewell, NVDA community. Thank you for teaching me many lessons over the
last nine years, and for giving me opportunities to make a difference in
lives of many as an undergraduate college student and a volunteer code
contributor. Love you all, and stay safe and healthy.


Joseph S. Lee

NVDA Certified Expert, 2019

Volunteer translator, code contributor, and add-ons reviewer, NVDA screen
reader project (June 2012 to September 2021)

Founding chair, NVDA Users and developers Conference (NVDACon) (March 2014
to April 2016)

Member, NVDA Council

Former moderator, NVDA Users list (2013 to 2016)

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