Please read before suggesting new add-ons or NVDA screen reader features: a contributor's assessment of 2022.1 and add-ons situation, open-source, anxiety, and burnout


 
Edited

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community, educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of the forum admins advised against it for the following content because you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

  1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
  2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

 

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy, abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing) because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve communication and coordination.

 

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development” due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support (Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer, effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner, 2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

 

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract stakeholders.

 

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”, writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive impact on members.

 

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from? Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way, organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an “idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change, or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up with others.

 

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date. While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone, members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

 

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is “strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year, unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case, progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

 

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact) is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the “progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate things better.

 

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,” leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible. Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around” the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was, “I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context, obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

 

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on, and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on: discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My (professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year, these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

 

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,” and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say “threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees can understand what I’m talking about).

 

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members, to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source development and the resulting physical and psychological effects. Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson | Better Programming

 

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

 

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D. programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road; and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

 

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms. We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource drain.

 

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do): throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically, communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and impromptu speaking skills).

 

Thank you.

 

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power | enculturation

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing controlTypes aliases.

 

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph


Gene
 

It seems to me that one problem is the myth that you must upgrade just because a new version of something comes out.  I consider that a third myth you didn't address.  It is related to the progress myth but I think it is also the result of users not being clearly told how to evaluate if they would benefit from a new version. 

If users knew that a lot of them could wait to upgrade until the add-on situation is resolved, that would take a lot of pressure off of developers. 

I think it is important to discuss how to decide if you would benefit from upgrading and assess the benefits of that against the benefits of maintaining access to current versions of add-ons. 

I'm not saying that people shouldn't upgrade.  I'm saying that a lot of people don't have to upgrade for a time while things get worked out and I suspect many people don't realize that.

Perhaps this should be discussed in the User Guide, in the training materials sold by NVDA and perhaps at the next NVDA con.  I'm not sure if I have the name quite right.

Discussion here might be helpful as well.

Whether people agree with me or not, I think discussing the question might be useful.

Gene

On 5/27/2022 11:05 AM, Joseph Lee wrote:

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community, educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of the forum admins advised against it for the following content because you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

  1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
  2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the views of NV Access and contributors.

 

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy, abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing) because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve communication and coordination.

 

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development” due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support (Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer, effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner, 2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

 

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract stakeholders.

 

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”, writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive impact on members.

 

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from? Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way, organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an “idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change, or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up with others.

 

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date. While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone, members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

 

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is “strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if not managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year, unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case, progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

 

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact) is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the “progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate things better.

 

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,” leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible. Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around” the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was, “I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context, obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

 

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on, and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on: discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My (professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year, these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

 

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,” and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no vail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say “threatened” to highlight what happens wen a person becomes so desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees can understand what I’m talking about).

 

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members, to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source development and the resulting physical and psychological effects. Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson | Better Programming

 

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

 

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D. programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road; and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

 

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms. We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource drain.

 

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do): throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically, communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and impromptu speaking skills).

 

Thank you.

 

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power | enculturation

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing controlTypes aliases.

 

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph



Curtis Delzer
 

Gene is completely right, and the issue is also that upgrades bring new features hitherto not available, and upgrades aren't always up, they are down by no intention of the developer but by the nature of how things integrate from other sources such as the OS, the computer, hard drives, motherboards, type of memory; all must get along.

On 5/27/2022 10:56 AM, Gene wrote:
It seems to me that one problem is the myth that you must upgrade just because a new version of something comes out.  I consider that a third myth you didn't address.  It is related to the progress myth but I think it is also the result of users not being clearly told how to evaluate if they would benefit from a new version. 

If users knew that a lot of them could wait to upgrade until the add-on situation is resolved, that would take a lot of pressure off of developers. 

I think it is important to discuss how to decide if you would benefit from upgrading and assess the benefits of that against the benefits of maintaining access to current versions of add-ons. 

I'm not saying that people shouldn't upgrade.  I'm saying that a lot of people don't have to upgrade for a time while things get worked out and I suspect many people don't realize that.

Perhaps this should be discussed in the User Guide, in the training materials sold by NVDA and perhaps at the next NVDA con.  I'm not sure if I have the name quite right.

Discussion here might be helpful as well.

Whether people agree with me or not, I think discussing the question might be useful.

Gene

On 5/27/2022 11:05 AM, Joseph Lee wrote:

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community, educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of the forum admins advised against it for the following content because you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

  1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
  2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the views of NV Access and contributors.

 

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy, abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing) because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve communication and coordination.

 

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development” due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support (Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer, effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner, 2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

 

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract stakeholders.

 

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”, writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive impact on members.

 

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from? Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way, organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an “idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change, or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up with others.

 

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date. While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone, members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

 

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is “strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if not managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year, unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case, progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

 

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact) is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the “progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate things better.

 

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,” leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible. Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around” the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was, “I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context, obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

 

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on, and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on: discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My (professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year, these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

 

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,” and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no vail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say “threatened” to highlight what happens wen a person becomes so desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees can understand what I’m talking about).

 

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members, to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source development and the resulting physical and psychological effects. Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson | Better Programming

 

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

 

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D. programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road; and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

 

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms. We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource drain.

 

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do): throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically, communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and impromptu speaking skills).

 

Thank you.

 

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power | enculturation

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing controlTypes aliases.

 

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph


-- 
Curtis Delzer
H.S.
K6VFO
 Rialto, CA
curtis@...


 

Hi.

In all fairness of descussion I'd like to put out this thread from the audiogames forum because it has several actually trusteed people in here.

https://forum.audiogames.net/topic/45069/nvda-strikes-again-looking-for-updated-addons/

I know python is the language for everything, etc but maybe something needs to be looked at.

This has beeen going on for a bit but since we are beeing totally honest with eachother, I would like users and admins a like to read this and decide what is best.

I won't double up, decide and do whatever.

For myself who knows, maybe someone could engage with those on the agneet forum in this topic maybe.


 

Joseph one of the major issues is that you and sometimes quentin are the voice of nvaccess and I don't think this is fair.

I think and I speak from all users that this shouldn't be your problem period.

We really need management to well be more visible if at all possible, not all the time but at least show they exist from time to time.

I posted that link from the forums for a reason, maybe its time that some do post there and other places not just here.

Nvda is still my reader of choice but between all the updates, the failed projects like nv speech and store and the rest well.

Then there are stable things that really should become part of nvda like ages ago.

Every time we have a compatibility breaking relase, users look at the changelog.

Lets face it, most users are not devs.

And some devs well point is while to some changes appear important most of us not going to state percentages here but a lot of us just use the program.

We don't do much more than that.

We want our program and its components especially the stuff we use within reason to run and thats it.

We do care about scurity and performance but well.

Its always been that when things get updated especially for some of us disabled folks we get the short end of the stick where it doesn't work, we need to buy the upgrade or support just isn't there.

From python2 to 3 was different from where it is now and who knows mabe all this communication thing is the way a lot of these things go.

Having a similar issue with my local blind org right now, where services seem to be going down hill with little direction or major communication from those that should know.

Then last week one of the majorr managers quit and was replaced almost immediately with vary little communication leaving users in the dark about where they stand.

I think the same sort of thing is happening here.

This is a user controled organisation as far as I understand so I don't know.

Direction is the key and you shouldn't have to be the voice of nvaccess all the time.



On 28/05/2022 4:05 am, Joseph Lee wrote:

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community, educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of the forum admins advised against it for the following content because you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

  1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
  2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the views of NV Access and contributors.

 

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy, abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing) because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve communication and coordination.

 

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development” due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support (Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer, effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner, 2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

 

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract stakeholders.

 

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”, writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive impact on members.

 

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from? Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way, organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an “idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change, or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up with others.

 

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date. While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone, members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

 

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is “strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if not managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year, unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case, progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

 

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact) is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the “progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate things better.

 

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,” leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible. Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around” the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was, “I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context, obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

 

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on, and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on: discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My (professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year, these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

 

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,” and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no vail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say “threatened” to highlight what happens wen a person becomes so desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees can understand what I’m talking about).

 

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members, to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source development and the resulting physical and psychological effects. Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson | Better Programming

 

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

 

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D. programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road; and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

 

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms. We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource drain.

 

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do): throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically, communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and impromptu speaking skills).

 

Thank you.

 

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power | enculturation

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing controlTypes aliases.

 

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph


Jackie
 

Yall need to understand this is not just w/NVDA. It happens w/open
source software & 3rd-party development a lot. For a variety of
reasons, things can't always stay as they are. Either because of
security, new features, etc, things change. Sometimes--& I mean by
that a lot of times--3rd party devs move on--they find jobs or have
families that don't allow them to devote the time they once could,
they move over the great divide, they become ill, etc, etc, etc. Many,
if not most of the time, these devs are strictly volunteers, & they
give their time very freely & very generously. But that can't last
forever, much as one might wish otherwise. thus, to expect that your
favorite addon is going to remain compatible w/your favorite software
from now until eternity, or at least till you want it to be, is Peter
Pan never-never land. It's just the nature of the beast, guys.
Further, I wonder how much those who want this or that addon have
actually donated to its preservation.

I personally won't be updating this go-around because some of the
addons I use are not yet compatible. You'll not hear a word of
complaint from me, however, because this is just the way open source
software is. OS software allows many to get a particular program free,
but the downside is that its addons can't always be maintained,
especially when the addon is developed by 1 or 2 people. I suggest
folks just accept reality & deal with it.

On 5/27/22, Shaun Everiss <sm.everiss@...> wrote:
Joseph one of the major issues is that you and sometimes quentin are the
voice of nvaccess and I don't think this is fair.

I think and I speak from all users that this shouldn't be your problem
period.

We really need management to well be more visible if at all possible,
not all the time but at least show they exist from time to time.

I posted that link from the forums for a reason, maybe its time that
some do post there and other places not just here.

Nvda is still my reader of choice but between all the updates, the
failed projects like nv speech and store and the rest well.

Then there are stable things that really should become part of nvda like
ages ago.

Every time we have a compatibility breaking relase, users look at the
changelog.

Lets face it, most users are not devs.

And some devs well point is while to some changes appear important most
of us not going to state percentages here but a lot of us just use the
program.

We don't do much more than that.

We want our program and its components especially the stuff we use
within reason to run and thats it.

We do care about scurity and performance but well.

Its always been that when things get updated especially for some of us
disabled folks we get the short end of the stick where it doesn't work,
we need to buy the upgrade or support just isn't there.

From python2 to 3 was different from where it is now and who knows mabe
all this communication thing is the way a lot of these things go.

Having a similar issue with my local blind org right now, where services
seem to be going down hill with little direction or major communication
from those that should know.

Then last week one of the majorr managers quit and was replaced almost
immediately with vary little communication leaving users in the dark
about where they stand.

I think the same sort of thing is happening here.

This is a user controled organisation as far as I understand so I don't
know.

Direction is the key and you shouldn't have to be the voice of nvaccess
all the time.



On 28/05/2022 4:05 am, Joseph Lee wrote:

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I
rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum
owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up
front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community,
educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a
long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of
the forum admins advised against it for the following content because
you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the
thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his
master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and
influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public
speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I
approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the
views of NV Access and contributors.

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current
situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy,
abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a
grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because
at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to
the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing)
because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve
communication and coordination.

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am
not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can
say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed
add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development”
due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we
look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most
notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in
control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support
(Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written
to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on
developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer,
effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner,
2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being
delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community
members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal
access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own
source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV
Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal
access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party
contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons
written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV
Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV
Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract
stakeholders.

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the
leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the
reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”,
writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed
or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive
impact on members.

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from?
Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When
we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives
that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to
persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the
messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination
is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way,
organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an
“idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share
history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community
boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change
demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change,
or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up
with others.

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV
Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal
access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date.
While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was
declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major
change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress
was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the
development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community
members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take
advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone,
members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems
to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote
deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the
community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of
the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors
must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV
Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other
stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is
“strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if
not managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars
can critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this
year, unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not
strictly run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community
promotes “equal access to technology” and centers their messaging on
users, users, too bare responsibility for this messy situation. While
people can also ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are
right in this statement), users who constantly ask screen reader
developers, add-on authors, and community members  to make progress
(in this case, progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to
additional emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism.
In this sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am
not immune from criticism either due to my messaging about
compatibility releases last year and downplaying the severity of the
situation up until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and
lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several
contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in
failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV
Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack
overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact)
is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did
emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact
that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging
around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the
“progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest
recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking
releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency
upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate
things better.

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons
community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging
involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of
NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on
compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After
thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused
by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,”
leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under
the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by
authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users
wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with
latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates
through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get
compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible.
Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around”
the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all
this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on
compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was,
“I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why
I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did
play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context,
obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on,
and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am
the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I
decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on:
discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for
Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it
wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My
(professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue
maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year,
these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons
yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,”
and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the
community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no
vail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility
breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I
have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates
if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say
“threatened” to highlight what happens wen a person becomes so
desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and
reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate
school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post
to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees
can understand what I’m talking about).

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone
passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to
change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members,
to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community
for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source
development and the resulting physical and psychological effects.
Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a
glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson |
Better Programming
<https://betterprogramming.pub/why-open-source-developers-are-burning-out-1a860854884c>

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article
describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just
released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with
graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on
what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real
reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I
must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my
skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about
Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and
experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you
must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that
values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking
opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my
current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D.
programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA
development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a
roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling
a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully
I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by
trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with
Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for
long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar
mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road;
and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what
I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need
freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in
overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and
I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms.
We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is
beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the
reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that
developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of
you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically
analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are
collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in
and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically
analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource
drain.

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do):
throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA
screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of
reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact
me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with
NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App
Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to
talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to
contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically,
communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need
advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering
to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and
impromptu speaking skills).

Thank you.

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power |
enculturation <https://www.enculturation.net/localized_myth>

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)
<https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-to-communicate-clearly-during-organizational-change>

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022
<https://www.nvaccess.org/post/in-process-march-21st-2022/>

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing
controlTypes aliases.
<https://nvda-addons.groups.io/g/nvda-addons/topic/90329930#18537>

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph





--
Subscribe to a WordPress for Newbies Mailing List by sending a message to:
wp4newbs-request@... with 'subscribe' in the Subject field OR by
visiting the list page at http://www.freelists.org/list/wp4newbs
& check out my sites at www.brightstarsweb.com & www.mysitesbeenhacked.com


 

On Fri, May 27, 2022 at 05:09 PM, Jackie wrote:
Yall need to understand this is not just w/NVDA.
-
And it's not just with open source software, either, though even I will admit that the problem is more common in the open-source world because, literally, "anyone may play," even if their participation is completely unofficial.   For NVDA, look at the number of add-ons that exist that are not now and never have been part of the official community add-ons, which get review/vetting.

When Windows 10 rolled out I vividly remember some very big players, including but not limited to assistive technology houses, that effectively pretended that it was not coming and did not update their software in a timely manner.  There was a months long period of incompatibility/semi-compatibility because the can kept being kicked by those who should have known better.

But when it comes to open-source, and particularly add-ons not maintained by any given project's core team, you have to realize that you are 100% at the mercy of the diligence of that add-on's developer(s).  Certain ones will be abandoned, period, and as Joseph's message noted, that's sometimes after a month's long effort to get someone else to pick up the baton when an original developer wishes to cease maintenance (or this happens via accidents, death, and illness).  It's also worth remembering that most add-on developers are not monetarily compensated for their work, it's literally done "out of the goodness of their hearts," and for any given individual it's foolish to believe that this is an infinite resource.

Change is a constant, and nowhere is it more constant and frequent than in the world of computing.

In the end, computers and all that goes with them are products.  Like all products one chooses to use, it is up to you as the user to educate yourself about "the way things work."  Regardless of the shortcomings, and there are plenty, of the way things are, none of what is happening now is news.  We have been through this before, at least twice during my tenure in the NVDA world, and it is shocking to me that many of the people who are expressing shock and dismay at these rocky periods are doing so, because they've been there before.  They should know, as Gene pointed out, that it is not required that they update the day any given software maker issues an update.  For years I've been telling Windows users, and particularly those who are using screen readers and other assistive technology, that they should NOT rush to obtain the latest Feature Update on the day of its release.  Let others deal with the shakedown cruise that often typifies the early days of new software.  Unless there so happens to be something in a given release that you simply MUST have, which happens very seldom, if ever, for most of us, then just let things ride for a while until the kinks that are characteristic of these periods have been worked out.  It's not rocket science, nor should it be a surprise.

And I will give Gene a great deal of credit as far as his noting that one can use NVDA in portable mode.  Before applying any major NVDA update I would be creating a portable copy that includes all my add-ons so that a fallback exists.  It's easy, and takes only a few short minutes.  And one need not create portable copies only on external media like USB drives or SD Cards.  You can create a folder on your hard drive and have it created there.  I've got scads of portable programs on my computers that are not running from external media, but from a dedicated folder I have created for parking all the various portable programs I wish to use.
--

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H2, Build 19044  

You can't crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them.
     ~ Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed


 

You cold take Joseph's email and paste it in there. I haven't read the thread yet. Don't know if I will.





On 5/27/2022 4:01 PM, Shaun Everiss wrote:
Hi.

In all fairness of descussion I'd like to put out this thread from the audiogames forum because it has several actually trusteed people in here.

https://forum.audiogames.net/topic/45069/nvda-strikes-again-looking-for-updated-addons/

I know python is the language for everything, etc but maybe something needs to be looked at.

This has beeen going on for a bit but since we are beeing totally honest with eachother, I would like users and admins a like to read this and decide what is best.

I won't double up, decide and do whatever.

For myself who knows, maybe someone could engage with those on the agneet forum in this topic maybe.








William
 

Once again, thank you Joseph as well as other developers.


I think if NVDA allow user to run "non-compatible" addon as a temporary measure would greatly improve the situation.


If the new breaking release of nvda does not affect the methods of functions that the addon is relying on, addon author can just edit the manifest file and release to the community.


However, the present situation is, even if it is just editing the manifest file, we user has to wait for the author to release the new version, unless the user is "well-educated" that he or she can edit the manifest file on his or her own.









Joseph Lee 於 28/5/2022 00:05 寫道:

[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: Spelling error fix, clarified NV Access staff membership (I, Joseph Lee, am not an NV Access staff).]

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community, educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of the forum admins advised against it for the following content because you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

  1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
  2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

 

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy, abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing) because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve communication and coordination.

 

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development” due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support (Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer, effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner, 2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

 

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract stakeholders.

 

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”, writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive impact on members.

 

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from? Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way, organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an “idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change, or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up with others.

 

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date. While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone, members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

 

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is “strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year, unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case, progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

 

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact) is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the “progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate things better.

 

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,” leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible. Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around” the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was, “I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context, obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

 

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on, and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on: discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My (professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year, these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

 

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,” and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say “threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees can understand what I’m talking about).

 

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members, to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source development and the resulting physical and psychological effects. Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson | Better Programming

 

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

 

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D. programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road; and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

 

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms. We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource drain.

 

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do): throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically, communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and impromptu speaking skills).

 

Thank you.

 

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power | enculturation

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing controlTypes aliases.

 

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph


Joshua Hendrickson
 

I don't know much about how programs work and what it takes to
properly update them. However, I have been using NVDA for years and
it is a great program. For some reason, I can't get my IBM TTS addon
to work, but thanks to some help, I now have other voices to choose
from. I'll be saving up for a new computer and when I get one I'll
probably spend money on the code factory stuff. It was my fault for
not paying attention to the list of addons that wouldn't work when I
updated my NVDA. I do have the addon updater installed which is very
cool. I could understand if Joseph couldn't work on certain addons
because of school obligations. I feel others who have the knoledge of
how to work with the various addons, should step up and help out and
get them updated. NVDA is such a great program and just as good as
jaws in my opinion.

On 5/28/22, William <xsuper.sillyx@...> wrote:
Once again, thank you Joseph as well as other developers.


I think if NVDA allow user to run "non-compatible" addon as a temporary
measure would greatly improve the situation.


If the new breaking release of nvda does not affect the methods of
functions that the addon is relying on, addon author can just edit the
manifest file and release to the community.


However, the present situation is, even if it is just editing the
manifest file, we user has to wait for the author to release the new
version, unless the user is "well-educated" that he or she can edit the
manifest file on his or her own.









Joseph Lee 於 28/5/2022 00:05 寫道:

[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: Spelling error fix, clarified NV Access staff membership (I,
Joseph Lee, am not an NV Access staff).]

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one
thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I
rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum
owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up
front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community,
educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a
long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of
the forum admins advised against it for the following content because
you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the
thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his
master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and
influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public
speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I
approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the
views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current
situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy,
abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a
grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because
at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to
the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing)
because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve
communication and coordination.

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am
not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can
say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed
add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development”
due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we
look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most
notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in
control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support
(Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written
to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on
developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer,
effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner,
2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being
delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community
members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal
access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own
source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV
Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal
access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party
contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons
written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV
Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV
Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract
stakeholders.

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the
leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the
reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”,
writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed
or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive
impact on members.

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from?
Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When
we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives
that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to
persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the
messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination
is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way,
organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an
“idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share
history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community
boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change
demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change,
or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up
with others.

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV
Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal
access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date.
While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was
declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major
change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress
was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the
development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community
members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take
advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone,
members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems
to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote
deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the
community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of
the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors
must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV
Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other
stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is
“strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if
managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can
critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year,
unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly
run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal
access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too
bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also
ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this
statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on
authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case,
progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional
emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this
sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not
immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility
releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up
until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and
lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several
contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in
failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV
Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack
overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact)
is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did
emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact
that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging
around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the
“progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest
recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking
releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency
upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate
things better.

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons
community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging
involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of
NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on
compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After
thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused
by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,”
leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under
the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by
authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users
wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with
latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates
through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get
compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible.
Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around”
the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all
this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on
compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was,
“I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why
I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did
play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context,
obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on,
and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am
the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I
decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on:
discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for
Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it
wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My
(professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue
maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year,
these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons
yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,”
and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the
community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no
avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility
breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I
have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates
if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say
“threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so
desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and
reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate
school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post
to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees
can understand what I’m talking about).

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone
passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to
change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members,
to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community
for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source
development and the resulting physical and psychological effects.
Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a
glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson |
Better Programming
<https://betterprogramming.pub/why-open-source-developers-are-burning-out-1a860854884c>

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article
describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just
released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with
graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on
what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real
reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I
must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my
skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about
Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and
experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you
must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that
values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking
opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my
current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D.
programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA
development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a
roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling
a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully
I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by
trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with
Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for
long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar
mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road;
and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what
I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need
freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in
overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and
I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms.
We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is
beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the
reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that
developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of
you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically
analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are
collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in
and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically
analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource
drain.

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do):
throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA
screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of
reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact
me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with
NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App
Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to
talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to
contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically,
communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need
advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering
to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and
impromptu speaking skills).

Thank you.

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power |
enculturation <https://www.enculturation.net/localized_myth>

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)
<https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-to-communicate-clearly-during-organizational-change>

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022
<https://www.nvaccess.org/post/in-process-march-21st-2022/>

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing
controlTypes aliases.
<https://nvda-addons.groups.io/g/nvda-addons/topic/90329930#18537>

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph





--
Joshua Hendrickson

Joshua Hendrickson


Devin Prater
 

IBM TTS has been updated.

On May 28, 2022, at 3:20 AM, Joshua Hendrickson <louvins@...> wrote:

I don't know much about how programs work and what it takes to
properly update them. However, I have been using NVDA for years and
it is a great program. For some reason, I can't get my IBM TTS addon
to work, but thanks to some help, I now have other voices to choose
from. I'll be saving up for a new computer and when I get one I'll
probably spend money on the code factory stuff. It was my fault for
not paying attention to the list of addons that wouldn't work when I
updated my NVDA. I do have the addon updater installed which is very
cool. I could understand if Joseph couldn't work on certain addons
because of school obligations. I feel others who have the knoledge of
how to work with the various addons, should step up and help out and
get them updated. NVDA is such a great program and just as good as
jaws in my opinion.

On 5/28/22, William <xsuper.sillyx@...> wrote:
Once again, thank you Joseph as well as other developers.


I think if NVDA allow user to run "non-compatible" addon as a temporary
measure would greatly improve the situation.


If the new breaking release of nvda does not affect the methods of
functions that the addon is relying on, addon author can just edit the
manifest file and release to the community.


However, the present situation is, even if it is just editing the
manifest file, we user has to wait for the author to release the new
version, unless the user is "well-educated" that he or she can edit the
manifest file on his or her own.









Joseph Lee 於 28/5/2022 00:05 寫道:

[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: Spelling error fix, clarified NV Access staff membership (I,
Joseph Lee, am not an NV Access staff).]

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one
thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I
rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum
owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up
front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community,
educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a
long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of
the forum admins advised against it for the following content because
you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the
thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his
   master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and
   influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public
   speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I
   approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the
   views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current
situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy,
abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a
grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because
at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to
the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing)
because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve
communication and coordination.

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am
not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can
say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed
add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development”
due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we
look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most
notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in
control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support
(Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written
to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on
developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer,
effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner,
2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being
delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community
members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal
access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own
source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV
Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal
access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party
contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons
written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV
Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV
Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract
stakeholders.

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the
leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the
reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”,
writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed
or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive
impact on members.

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from?
Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When
we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives
that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to
persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the
messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination
is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way,
organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an
“idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share
history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community
boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change
demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change,
or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up
with others.

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV
Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal
access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date.
While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was
declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major
change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress
was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the
development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community
members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take
advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone,
members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems
to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote
deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the
community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of
the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors
must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV
Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other
stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is
“strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if
managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can
critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year,
unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly
run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal
access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too
bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also
ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this
statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on
authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case,
progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional
emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this
sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not
immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility
releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up
until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and
lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several
contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in
failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV
Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack
overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact)
is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did
emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact
that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging
around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the
“progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest
recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking
releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency
upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate
things better.

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons
community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging
involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of
NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on
compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After
thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused
by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,”
leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under
the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by
authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users
wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with
latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates
through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get
compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible.
Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around”
the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all
this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on
compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was,
“I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why
I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did
play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context,
obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on,
and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am
the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I
decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on:
discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for
Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it
wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My
(professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue
maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year,
these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons
yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,”
and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the
community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no
avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility
breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I
have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates
if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say
“threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so
desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and
reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate
school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post
to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees
can understand what I’m talking about).

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone
passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to
change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members,
to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community
for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source
development and the resulting physical and psychological effects.
Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a
glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson |
Better Programming
<https://betterprogramming.pub/why-open-source-developers-are-burning-out-1a860854884c>

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article
describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just
released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with
graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on
what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real
reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I
must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my
skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about
Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and
experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you
must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that
values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking
opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my
current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D.
programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA
development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a
roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling
a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully
I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by
trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with
Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for
long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar
mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road;
and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what
I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need
freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in
overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and
I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms.
We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is
beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the
reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that
developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of
you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically
analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are
collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in
and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically
analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource
drain.

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do):
throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA
screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of
reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact
me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with
NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App
Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to
talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to
contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically,
communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need
advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering
to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and
impromptu speaking skills).

Thank you.

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power |
enculturation <https://www.enculturation.net/localized_myth>

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)
<https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-to-communicate-clearly-during-organizational-change>

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022
<https://www.nvaccess.org/post/in-process-march-21st-2022/>

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing
controlTypes aliases.
<https://nvda-addons.groups.io/g/nvda-addons/topic/90329930#18537>

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph










-- 
Joshua Hendrickson

Joshua Hendrickson




Gene
 



nvda@nvda.groups.io wrote:

IBM TTS has been updated.

On May 28, 2022, at 3:20 AM, Joshua Hendrickson <louvins@...> wrote:

I don't know much about how programs work and what it takes to
properly update them. However, I have been using NVDA for years and
it is a great program. For some reason, I can't get my IBM TTS addon
to work, but thanks to some help, I now have other voices to choose
from. I'll be saving up for a new computer and when I get one I'll
probably spend money on the code factory stuff. It was my fault for
not paying attention to the list of addons that wouldn't work when I
updated my NVDA. I do have the addon updater installed which is very
cool. I could understand if Joseph couldn't work on certain addons
because of school obligations. I feel others who have the knoledge of
how to work with the various addons, should step up and help out and
get them updated. NVDA is such a great program and just as good as
jaws in my opinion.

On 5/28/22, William <xsuper.sillyx@...> wrote:
Once again, thank you Joseph as well as other developers.


I think if NVDA allow user to run "non-compatible" addon as a temporary
measure would greatly improve the situation.


If the new breaking release of nvda does not affect the methods of
functions that the addon is relying on, addon author can just edit the
manifest file and release to the community.


However, the present situation is, even if it is just editing the
manifest file, we user has to wait for the author to release the new
version, unless the user is "well-educated" that he or she can edit the
manifest file on his or her own.









Joseph Lee 於 28/5/2022 00:05 寫道:

[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: Spelling error fix, clarified NV Access staff membership (I,
Joseph Lee, am not an NV Access staff).]

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one
thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I
rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum
owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up
front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community,
educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a
long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of
the forum admins advised against it for the following content because
you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the
thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his
   master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and
   influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public
   speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I
   approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the
   views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current
situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy,
abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a
grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because
at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to
the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing)
because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve
communication and coordination.

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am
not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can
say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed
add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development”
due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we
look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most
notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in
control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support
(Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written
to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on
developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer,
effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner,
2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being
delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community
members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal
access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own
source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV
Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal
access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party
contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons
written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV
Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV
Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract
stakeholders.

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the
leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the
reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”,
writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed
or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive
impact on members.

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from?
Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When
we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives
that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to
persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the
messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination
is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way,
organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an
“idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share
history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community
boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change
demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change,
or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up
with others.

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV
Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal
access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date.
While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was
declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major
change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress
was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the
development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community
members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take
advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone,
members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems
to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote
deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the
community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of
the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors
must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV
Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other
stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is
“strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if
managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can
critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year,
unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly
run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal
access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too
bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also
ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this
statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on
authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case,
progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional
emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this
sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not
immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility
releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up
until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and
lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several
contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in
failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV
Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack
overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact)
is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did
emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact
that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging
around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the
“progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest
recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking
releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency
upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate
things better.

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons
community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging
involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of
NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on
compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After
thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused
by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,”
leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under
the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by
authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users
wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with
latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates
through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get
compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible.
Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around”
the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all
this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on
compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was,
“I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why
I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did
play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context,
obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on,
and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am
the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I
decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on:
discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for
Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it
wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My
(professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue
maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year,
these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons
yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,”
and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the
community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no
avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility
breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I
have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates
if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say
“threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so
desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and
reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate
school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post
to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees
can understand what I’m talking about).

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone
passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to
change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members,
to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community
for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source
development and the resulting physical and psychological effects.
Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a
glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson |
Better Programming
<https://betterprogramming.pub/why-open-source-developers-are-burning-out-1a860854884c>

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article
describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just
released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with
graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on
what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real
reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I
must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my
skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about
Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and
experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you
must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that
values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking
opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my
current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D.
programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA
development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a
roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling
a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully
I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by
trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with
Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for
long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar
mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road;
and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what
I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need
freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in
overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and
I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms.
We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is
beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the
reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that
developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of
you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically
analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are
collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in
and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically
analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource
drain.

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do):
throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA
screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of
reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact
me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with
NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App
Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to
talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to
contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically,
communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need
advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering
to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and
impromptu speaking skills).

Thank you.

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power |
enculturation <https://www.enculturation.net/localized_myth>

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)
<https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-to-communicate-clearly-during-organizational-change>

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022
<https://www.nvaccess.org/post/in-process-march-21st-2022/>

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing
controlTypes aliases.
<https://nvda-addons.groups.io/g/nvda-addons/topic/90329930#18537>

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph










-- 
Joshua Hendrickson

Joshua Hendrickson




Gene
 

I'm trying e-mail on my feature phone and I accidentally sent a blank message.

Gene

On 5/28/2022 8:25 AM, Gene via groups.io wrote:
IBM TTS has been updated.

On May 28, 2022, at 3:20 AM, Joshua Hendrickson <louvins@...> wrote:

I don't know much about how programs work and what it takes to
properly update them. However, I have been using NVDA for years and
it is a great program. For some reason, I can't get my IBM TTS addon
to work, but thanks to some help, I now have other voices to choose
from. I'll be saving up for a new computer and when I get one I'll
probably spend money on the code factory stuff. It was my fault for
not paying attention to the list of addons that wouldn't work when I
updated my NVDA. I do have the addon updater installed which is very
cool. I could understand if Joseph couldn't work on certain addons
because of school obligations. I feel others who have the knoledge of
how to work with the various addons, should step up and help out and
get them updated. NVDA is such a great program and just as good as
jaws in my opinion.

On 5/28/22, William <xsuper.sillyx@...> wrote:
Once again, thank you Joseph as well as other developers.


I think if NVDA allow user to run "non-compatible" addon as a temporary
measure would greatly improve the situation.


If the new breaking release of nvda does not affect the methods of
functions that the addon is relying on, addon author can just edit the
manifest file and release to the community.


However, the present situation is, even if it is just editing the
manifest file, we user has to wait for the author to release the new
version, unless the user is "well-educated" that he or she can edit the
manifest file on his or her own.









Joseph Lee 於 28/5/2022 00:05 寫道:

[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: Spelling error fix, clarified NV Access staff membership (I,
Joseph Lee, am not an NV Access staff).]

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one
thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I
rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum
owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up
front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community,
educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a
long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of
the forum admins advised against it for the following content because
you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the
thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his
   master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and
   influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public
   speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I
   approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the
   views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current
situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy,
abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a
grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because
at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to
the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing)
because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve
communication and coordination.

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am
not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can
say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed
add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development”
due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we
look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most
notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in
control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support
(Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written
to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on
developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer,
effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner,
2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being
delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community
members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal
access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own
source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV
Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal
access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party
contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons
written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV
Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV
Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract
stakeholders.

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the
leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the
reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”,
writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed
or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive
impact on members.

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from?
Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When
we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives
that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to
persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the
messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination
is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way,
organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an
“idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share
history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community
boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change
demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change,
or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up
with others.

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV
Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal
access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date.
While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was
declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major
change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress
was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the
development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community
members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take
advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone,
members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems
to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote
deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the
community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of
the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors
must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV
Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other
stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is
“strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if
managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can
critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year,
unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly
run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal
access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too
bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also
ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this
statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on
authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case,
progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional
emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this
sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not
immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility
releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up
until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and
lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several
contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in
failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV
Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack
overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact)
is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did
emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact
that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging
around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the
“progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest
recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking
releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency
upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate
things better.

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons
community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging
involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of
NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on
compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After
thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused
by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,”
leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under
the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by
authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users
wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with
latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates
through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get
compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible.
Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around”
the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all
this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on
compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was,
“I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why
I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did
play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context,
obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on,
and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am
the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I
decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on:
discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for
Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it
wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My
(professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue
maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year,
these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons
yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,”
and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the
community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no
avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility
breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I
have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates
if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say
“threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so
desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and
reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate
school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post
to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees
can understand what I’m talking about).

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone
passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to
change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members,
to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community
for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source
development and the resulting physical and psychological effects.
Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a
glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson |
Better Programming
<https://betterprogramming.pub/why-open-source-developers-are-burning-out-1a860854884c>

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article
describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just
released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with
graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on
what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real
reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I
must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my
skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about
Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and
experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you
must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that
values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking
opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my
current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D.
programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA
development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a
roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling
a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully
I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by
trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with
Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for
long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar
mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road;
and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what
I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need
freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in
overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and
I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms.
We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is
beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the
reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that
developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of
you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically
analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are
collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in
and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically
analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource
drain.

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do):
throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA
screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of
reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact
me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with
NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App
Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to
talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to
contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically,
communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need
advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering
to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and
impromptu speaking skills).

Thank you.

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power |
enculturation <https://www.enculturation.net/localized_myth>

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)
<https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-to-communicate-clearly-during-organizational-change>

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022
<https://www.nvaccess.org/post/in-process-march-21st-2022/>

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing
controlTypes aliases.
<https://nvda-addons.groups.io/g/nvda-addons/topic/90329930#18537>

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph










-- 
Joshua Hendrickson

Joshua Hendrickson





Sarah k Alawami
 

Please do not discuss the IBMTTS  add on on here, it is not legal. Thanks.

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Devin Prater
Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2022 4:19 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] Please read before suggesting new add-ons or NVDA screen reader features: a contributor's assessment of 2022.1 and add-ons situation, open-source, anxiety, and burnout

 

IBM TTS has been updated.



On May 28, 2022, at 3:20 AM, Joshua Hendrickson <louvins@...> wrote:

 

I don't know much about how programs work and what it takes to
properly update them. However, I have been using NVDA for years and
it is a great program. For some reason, I can't get my IBM TTS addon
to work, but thanks to some help, I now have other voices to choose
from. I'll be saving up for a new computer and when I get one I'll
probably spend money on the code factory stuff. It was my fault for
not paying attention to the list of addons that wouldn't work when I
updated my NVDA. I do have the addon updater installed which is very
cool. I could understand if Joseph couldn't work on certain addons
because of school obligations. I feel others who have the knoledge of
how to work with the various addons, should step up and help out and
get them updated. NVDA is such a great program and just as good as
jaws in my opinion.

On 5/28/22, William <
xsuper.sillyx@...> wrote:

Once again, thank you Joseph as well as other developers.


I think if NVDA allow user to run "non-compatible" addon as a temporary
measure would greatly improve the situation.


If the new breaking release of nvda does not affect the methods of
functions that the addon is relying on, addon author can just edit the
manifest file and release to the community.


However, the present situation is, even if it is just editing the
manifest file, we user has to wait for the author to release the new
version, unless the user is "well-educated" that he or she can edit the
manifest file on his or her own.









Joseph Lee
28/5/2022 00:05 寫道:


[Edited Message Follows]
[Reason: Spelling error fix, clarified NV Access staff membership (I,
Joseph Lee, am not an NV Access staff).]

Edit: I know that my message is circulating around. Let me make one
thing clear: I do NOT work for NV Access.

Dear NVDA community,

The following is something I usually do not post, nor it’s a style I
rarely show in a public forum like this. But after consulting forum
owners about the below content, I believe being honest and candid up
front can serve many purposes: healing for me and the community,
educational moment for everyone, and something to contemplate for a
long time. While I present myself as a professional developer, one of
the forum admins advised against it for the following content because
you, as my friends and NVDA family members, have the right to know the
thoughts going through my head these days. I also put a disclaimer that:

1. First and foremost, I am a graduate student studying for his
   master’s degree in communication studies (rhetoric, persuasion and
   influence, mass media, organizations, teaching and public
   speaking) and just finished first year of study. As such, I
   approach the following from both academic and insider point of view.
2. Some of what I say is strictly my own and does not represent the
   views of NV Access and contributors (I do not work for NV Access).

Let me start by giving a really honest assessment of the current
situation with NVDA 2022.1 and add-on compatibility picture: messy,
abundant miscommunication, ineffective coordination. If I’m to give a
grade to this work, it’s a solid “D”. It didn’t earn a “Fail” because
at least some of the most significant add-ons were updated prior to
the release of NVDA 2022.1 this week. It didn’t earn a “C” (passing)
because the overall work showed missed opportunities to improve
communication and coordination.

First, I am a communication studies scholar in training. While I am
not up to the level of doctoral students and professors, what I can
say is that the overall work makes me shake my head. NV Access framed
add-on breaking release as part of a “norm in software development”
due to dependency updates and security (NV Access, 2022). But when we
look at changes for developers section in NVDA 2022.1, the most
notable change has to do with adoption of Python enumerations in
control types facility. While Python does provide enumeration support
(Python Software Foundation, 2022), it can break add-ons not written
to take advantage of the new syntax. After a public outcry from add-on
developers, NV Access decided to introduce a compatibility layer,
effectively backtracking on control types refactor for now (Turner,
2022). This is one of the biggest factors in NVDA 2022.1 being
delayed, with the other factor being security releases (NVDA 2021.3.x0.

Of these, the first factor caused most confusion for community
members. While the community operates within the framework of “equal
access to technology”, it is really centered on NV Access. NVDA’s own
source code and About dialog states that “NVDA is developed by NV
Access” (NVDA 2022.1 source code, 2022), a nonprofit promoting equal
access to technology. While NV Access does promote third-party
contributions and acknowledges the power of third-party add-ons
written by developers, the overall structure still centers around NV
Access. As such, as far as organizational structure is concerned, NV
Access is seen as the leader and coordinator attempting to attract
stakeholders.

Since NV Access is seen as a leader and coordinator, signals from the
leader play a role in persuading the public and determining the
reputation of a larger organization. “Leaders must communicate right”,
writes MIT senior lecturer Elsbeth Johnson (Johnson, 2017). A missed
or improper signal from organizational leaders can have destructive
impact on members.

So where did the signals about add-on breaking release came from?
Ultimately it stems from a “ever perpetuating myth of progress.” When
we think of myths, we think of foundation stories and grand narratives
that defines a society or a culture. A myth can also function to
persuade the public about the status quo and a better future – the
messaging from public health officials, for instance, is vaccination
is our “way back to the days before the pandemic”. In a similar way,
organizational and community myths can describe the status quo and an
“idealized future”, made more powerful if community members share
history, visions of the past, present, and future, and community
boundaries (Rawlins, 2017). The myth of progress and change
demonstrates this as communities must understand the need for change,
or for that matter, a need for constantly changing things to keep up
with others.

In the case of NV Access and the latest add-on breaking release, NV
Access operated under the notion that it can make progress on equal
access to technology by keeping dependencies and code up to date.
While this leadership signal did work in 2020 when Python 2 was
declared end of life (Python Software Foundation, 2020), when a major
change was proposed and then backtracked in 2022, the myth of progress
was shattered. This led to a different signal, way late in the
development of NVDA 2022.1: we are listening. By then the community
members were under the impression that add-ons must be edited to take
advantage of control types refactor, and with that “change” gone,
members found themselves asking, “why and what now?” NV Access seems
to have learned from it, changing the strategy used to denote
deprecations in NVDA 2022.2 alpha changelog.

But NV Access alone isn’t immune from criticism: members of the
community played a “vital” role in causing mass confusion. Members of
the community simply believed that NV Access and NVDA contributors
must make changes, a form of “myth perpetuation.” In other words, NV
Access, code contributors, add-on authors, users, and other
stakeholders were unified under the assumption that progress is
“strictly a good thing even if it can bring negative consequences if
managed right.” The keyword is “managed right” – while scholars can
critique NV Access’s approach for add-on breaking release this year,
unless specified in the documentation, organizations are not strictly
run by a single person or an entity. If NVDA community promotes “equal
access to technology” and centers their messaging on users, users, too
bare responsibility for this messy situation. While people can also
ask add-on authors to take responsibility (people are right in this
statement), users who constantly ask screen reader developers, add-on
authors, and community members  to make progress (in this case,
progress on add-on compatibility) even if it leads to additional
emotional labor and burnout are not immune from criticism. In this
sense, I (the analyst and a member of the NVDA community) am not
immune from criticism either due to my messaging about compatibility
releases last year and downplaying the severity of the situation up
until NVDA 2022.1 was finally released.

What could have made the compatibility messaging more effective and
lasting was Python upgrades. In early 2021, NV Access, I, and several
contributors actually worked on Python 3.8 upgrade, which ended in
failure after discovering stack overflow problems. Since then, NV
Access has decided to stay on Python 3.7 until the cause of the stack
overflow (ctypes FFI (foreign function interface) issue, to be exact)
is resolved. While the 2022.1 compatibility breaking release did
emphasize control types refactor (using Python enumeration), the fact
that we are staying on Python 3.7, coupled with the mixed messaging
around control types refactor in 2021 and 2022 has diminished the
“progress” aspect of these releases. Therefore, my biggest
recommendation is to either hold off on compatibility breaking
releases until 2024, or if Python upgrade or a major dependency
upgrade is a must due to security and other factors, communicate
things better.

Second, as some of you may have noticed, I kept asking add-ons
community to do something about add-on compatibility and the messaging
involved. This became more noticeable this week with the release of
NVDA 2022.1, even going so far as offering to post add-on
compatibility data on a repository on behalf of add-on authors. After
thinking about it, I realized that some of this messaging was caused
by anxiety and me sometimes being an “obsessive perfectionist,”
leading to more stress and burnout. In short, I was operating under
the assumption that I must find updates to add-ons that are marked by
authors as compatible as quickly as possible, knowing that users
wanted assurance that their favorite add-ons are compatible with
latest changes. Also, because many of you receive add-on updates
through Add-on Updater, I realized that I must act fast to get
compatible add-on updates to hands of users as soon as possible.
Coupled with the upcoming vacation, this led me to me “flying around”
the community to get more add-on updates to you. In the midst of all
this, yesterday I asked myself, “why can’t I let the add-on
compatibility picture take shape by itself,” to which the answer was,
“I have become an obsessed perfectionist,” which partly explains why
I’ve been feeling anxious and burnout recently (graduate school did
play some role in anxiety and burnout, but in the immediate context,
obsession with getting more compatible add-ons out to you consumed me).

Third, I’m aware that folks want updated Clock and Calendar add-on,
and am aware that you also want Extended Winamp update as well as I am
the last person to work on it (last year). After thinking about it, I
decided to stick with my original decision for the Clock add-on:
discontinuation, hoping that someone will take care of it. As for
Extended Winamp, after assessing the situation, I decided that it
wasn’t worth it to release what really amounts to manifest edits. My
(professional) answer is that I simply do not have time to continue
maintaining these add-ons – as I communicated to everyone last year,
these add-ons are now in the hands of the community.

My unfiltered answer: go ahead and take care of these add-ons
yourselves. This is my way of saying, “I’m done with these add-ons,”
and I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME to maintain them. I have asked the
community for months to find new maintainers for these add-ons to no
avail, and the fact that NVDA 2022.1 was marketed as a compatibility
breaking release caused more anxiety for me and community members. I
have offered (or rather, threatened) to release compatibility updates
if no-one stepped up by the time NVDA 2022.1 was finalized (I say
“threatened” to highlight what happens when a person becomes so
desperate to a point where he/she/they lose their sense of self and
reality). I will not go into additional stress caused by graduate
school and performing duties for my school as it will take a long post
to describe it (anyone who went through master’s or doctoral degrees
can understand what I’m talking about).

I realize that this is a really shocking response from someone
passionate about add-ons, but I believe that shocks sometimes work to
change a community. But I want you, my beloved NVDA community members,
to know why I’m saying this before I disconnect from NVDA community
for a while: to educate yourselves on the dark side of open-source
development and the resulting physical and psychological effects.
Among the articles on this subject, the following should offer a
glimpse into what I’m actually feeling right now:

Why Open-Source Developers Are Burning Out | by Clive Thompson |
Better Programming
<https://betterprogramming.pub/why-open-source-developers-are-burning-out-1a860854884c>

While I don’t agree fully with the economics section, the article
describes in part what I’m actually feeling. The anxiety from the just
released NVDA 2022.1 changes for add-ons community, coupled with
graduate school education and upcoming life events, put a strain on
what I can do physically and mentally for the NVDA community.

Before I disconnect, besides needing to recharge, here is the real
reason for my vacation: I am at a point in graduate education where I
must carefully choose what to study and where to go to refine my
skills for the next five years or so; I am, of course, talking about
Ph.D. applications (for fall 2023). Anyone who looked into and
experienced doctoral programs should recognize what I’m saying – you
must meet good dissertation supervisor in a supportive community that
values your humanness, teaching and research skills, and networking
opportunities in order to succeed as a scholar. When I began my
current M.A. (master of arts) program, I knew that researching Ph.D.
programs is not a joking matter, and there will come a day when NVDA
development (both the screen reader and add-ons) can actually become a
roadblock. In other words, I can fully disclose that I’ve been feeling
a smaller version of stress and burnout since last summer; thankfully
I was able to put my “obsessive perfectionist” attitude to good use by
trying to persuade Microsoft to consider accessibility feedback with
Windows 11. Not this time – I must recharge in order to prepare for
long-term life goals (I hope what you read above (going into scholar
mode) tells you what I hope to become five to ten years down the road;
and this time, I will ask for pay as a consultant).

As I close my “NVDA development lab” for a while, I humbly state what
I thought was unthinkable to say until now: I need help, I need
freedom from the perpetual myth of progress and change, I need help in
overcoming the obsessive perfectionist attitude I found myself in, and
I need a way to (finally) leave NVDA community in more positive terms.
We (the NVDA community) must recognize that not all progress is
beneficial, we must work on a solution that does not bring down the
reputation of NVDA, and we must get away from the attitude that
developers are superheroes. I ask and plead with each and every one of
you to consider the effects of stress and burnout, learn to critically
analyze messages from organizations, and realize that we are
collectively responsible for the messy affair we found ourselves in
and work together on ways to move forward. If we do not critically
analyze the situation, we will witness increasing skill and resource
drain.

One more recommendation (or rather, something to do or not do):
throughout June 2022, please do not suggest new add-ons or new NVDA
screen reader features. Please use that month as a period of
reflection throughout the NVDA community. Please do not (ever) contact
me throughout June if your question or comment has anything to do with
NVDA and/or add-ons (not just Add-on Updater and Windows App
Essentials, but others are also off-limits that month) – I want to
talk about something completely different that month. Feel free to
contact me if you have Ph.D. program recommendations (specifically,
communication studies), want to talk about public speaking, or need
advice on graduate school and other academic endeavors (I’m offering
to coach people (especially college students) public speaking and
impromptu speaking skills).

Thank you.

References:

Localized Myth: Creating and Maintaining Persuasive Power |
enculturation <https://www.enculturation.net/localized_myth>

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change (hbr.org)
<https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-to-communicate-clearly-during-organizational-change>

NV Access | In-Process March 21st 2022
<https://www.nvaccess.org/post/in-process-march-21st-2022/>

nvda-addons@nvda-addons.groups.io | We listened, re-introducing
controlTypes aliases.
<https://nvda-addons.groups.io/g/nvda-addons/topic/90329930#18537>

Have a safe and healthy June.

Cheers,

Joseph








-- 
Joshua Hendrickson

Joshua Hendrickson



 


Michael Curran
 

Hello Joseph and all,

Firstly, both personally and on behalf of NV Access, I'd like to thank Joseph for his dedication to the NVDA project for so many years. This includes core code contributions, maintaining add-ons from himself and the community, and general community support just to name a few things. His work also goes further than NVDA though. He has also made a positive impact on the accessibility of the Windows Operating System through tireless testing, bug reporting and evangelising to Microsoft. Thank you for playing a part in improving accessibility for blind and vision impaired people Joseph.

However, burnout is definitely a very real and serious thing we must always watch out for. Self-care is very important. We can only help others if we help ourselves. I understand burnout all too well myself, having had to also step back from the project a little over the last year or so.

Joseph, I hope that you can disconnect and find the space you need to recharge, allowing yourself to then continue on in the direction you feel is right.

I don't wish to analyze or pull apart the content of Joseph's long message here on this list, as it covers many different points, many of which may be more suitable for addressing on lists such as nvda-addons or nvda-devel. But I do wish to address just a few things.

NV Access most certainly appreciates feedback on the direction of the project, as NVDA has always been by users for users. However, we do ask that feedback be given thoughtfully, early on, and via the right communication mechanisms.

The best way to communicate feedback to NV access is to send an email to info@..., and one of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Although community members are very vocal on public email lists which is great, It is impossible for NV access to read each and every post, especially in long email threads. We certainly encourage conversation in the community, but any questions or suggestions specifically for NV Access should come to us directly.
 
Please be assured we are listening carefully to the conversations around our current NVDA add-on policies, and look forward to receiving further constructive feedback.

We do acknowledge the real and valid pain points for users when upgrading NVDA and their add-ons become incompatible. We acknowledge the pain for add-on developers having to update their add-ons every year. But however we address this, it must be in a way that ensures NVDA's stability (incompatible add-ons should not break NVDA), and the ability to improve and innovate (NVDA must keep up with Windows and 3rd party updates). There are plenty of good ideas on how we can do this, and I'm sure we will have more to say on this in the very near future.

For add-on developers and those who choose to test alpha snapshots: If you ever think we have broken something, or removed or deprecated an API an add-on depends upon, please let us know as early as possible by sending us an email or filing an issue. Although the changes to roles and states ended up being rolled back, we originally marked these APIs for deprecation more than a year ago, yet we only received direct and constructive feedback once we released 2022.1 beta1. Clearly there was a communication breakdown, and although NV Access reverted that change in the end, we obviously want to find ways to improve the communication mechanisms between NV Access and the addon developer community so we can avoid this in future.

Finally, I would like to thank and acknowledge all the contributors to the NVDA project. Whether it be core code, documentation, testing, issue filing, translating, or financial support, it all goes to ensuring that blind and vision impaired people, no matter their language, location or economic status, can get free quality access to computers. More than 200,000 people rely upon NVDA at home, in education and in the workplace. Thank you for being a part of this effort.

Mick

Executive Director, NV Access Limited