Fun_People Archive
10 Apr
Think of the blind! (important message)

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 97 14:21:17 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Think of the blind! (important message)

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: "Keith E. Sullivan" <>
From: "Samsara Vagabond" <>


If there's anything the Lynxies have proved in this group, it's that it's
a sin on the level of enthusiastic and repeated incest to write something
that might be unintelligible to a tiny minority of Web users.  I've seen
the light, and I've also seen that we're not taking our crusade far enough!
Tables used for formatting and header tags used for emphasis are nothing
compared to one of the greatest threats to the Internet today:  ASCII ART!

That's right, from three-character smileys to multi-page pictures of the
U.S.S. Enterprise, all you ASCII art ragamuffins are misusing punctuation
and committing a serious moral error!

Here's why:

1. You're wrong.  Look at any book on punctuation standards.  Parentheses
are intended to enclose asides, not make happy little guys!  Hyphens connect
word parts, not eyes and mouths!  How can we hope to communicate with each
other if we don't agree to all use punctuation in the same way?

2. Some news and mail readers don't always display monotext.  Even when they
do, many users choose to turn monotext off to save space on the screen.
Sure, your Bill the Cat picture may look fine on YOUR screen, but on someone
else's screen it might look like unintelligible garbage!  The Internet
wasn't designed to cater to the whims of the monotype elite!

3. Think of the blind!  For God's sake, THINK OF THE BLIND!  Do you think
blind people appreciate listening to a usenet posting interrupted
periodically by a sound like "Tickle Me Elmo" being fed into a food
processor, the result of a text-to-speech converter trying to pronounce a
picture of a cow made up of dashes and tildes?  They're probably already
pissed that we're all looking at pictures of naked people and they're stuck
listening to those lame-ass letters in Penthouse Forum.  They probably would
have all snapped like autumn twigs a long time ago and started picking off
passers-by with an assault rifle from the top of a bell tower in Austin if
not for the fact that they couldn't hit a damned thing!

Here's the only solution:  Instead of using ASCII art, use text.  Put
"Imagine there's a cow here" or "Funny little smiling face" or "I'm much
too thoughtful to put a map of the area in ASCII text here, so if you can't
find the party, tough shit" where you would have put the ASCII art, and the
world will thank you, especially the part of the world that thinks the Web
went to hell the minute they introduced the <IMG> tag.

   -- Samsara Vagabond

P.S. Funny little smiling face.

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